August 6, 2020
Oral health during Covid-19 lockdown
Smiling and laughing is a social trait we experience everyday without thinking. When we are happy and carefree we smile. It is something we don’t think about until we become conscious of our smile. Tooth loss resulting from dental decay, erosion or bruxism will make a person self-conscious.
Socially we value a nice smile because it creates engagement and diffuses tension when interacting with others. The inability to smile affects our inter-relationships with others.
But fixing teeth is not only for the benefit of a nice smile, it also facilitates speech. Communication without teeth is very difficult. Pronouncing words become difficult without teeth.
Teeth are the most important components of a smile. It completes the picture within the frame of our lips.
Rebuilding and replacing teeth generally involve one of two types of materials. These are ceramic based or resin based. The latter is often used in direct restorations of teeth as fillings. They mimic tooth colour very well and blends in with the natural tooth to make it seem like part of the tooth. Newer composite resin materials are strong and durable.
However, they are not a permanent replacement which cannot break down and will not last forever. Nothing lasts forever in the mouth. Not even your natural teeth.
Our philosophy involves starting with identifying why the natural teeth had broken down in the first place. Without addressing the cause the restoration of the teeth will fail much faster than the natural teeth.
The next step involves understanding what it is the person wants to achieve with the rebuild of their smile. Do they want to improve the colour of their teeth? How about the shape? Are the positions of the teeth acceptable?
Rebuilding a smile can involve just the front teeth or all the teeth in the mouth.
Despite the front teeth being the most important for a smile, the back teeth are the pillars of the bite. Without adequate support from the back teeth in function the front teeth will break down quickly.
The restoration process can take one appointment or many months to years. We will often stage treatment for both practical and financial purposes. Ceramic Crowns and veneers are not always necessary. Materials used to fill cavities called composite resin, can often be used in the first instance.
These are some of the cases which highlight the reconstructive process some of our patients have undergone over the years. I have included some photos of the same cases over the passage of time…………
Example #1: Gaps between the teeth were unsightly. The final treatment plan involved the use of composite resin material and completed in one appointment.
Example #2: Gaps between teeth needed closing due to large spaces. Patient was not happy with the overall appearance of the teeth. All 6 upper teeth restored with composite resin in one appointment.
Example #3: This situation required minor changes to remove a blemish on the right central incisor and to close a small mid-line gap. Bleaching of teeth first followed by composite resin restoration in one appointment.
Example #4: This person wanted an improvement to her short upper front teeth. Front teeth restored using composite resin in one appointment. Some missing teeth replaced with a bridge.
Example #4: This case involved having to rebuild most of the patient’s teeth to allow for better function. In the process the smile was also improved as the teeth were restored to their natural size and shape.
Following a detailed consultation process and treatment plan we proceeded to restore the teeth. The restorations were carried out over 3-4 long appointments using composite resin material. The photos below show the completed case.
Example #1: This particular full mouth rehabilitation took 4 years before completion. This case needed orthodontic intervention including the placement of several implants to replace missing teeth. Ceramic veneers used for the front teeth.
Example #2: This case involved significant dental rehabilitation. All four upper front teeth needed root canal treatment and final restoration with full crowns. Tooth bleaching of the natural teeth carried out prior to the crown work. Temporary crowns used after soft tissue laser treatment of the gums. This step was necessary to allow time for the gums to heal.
Example #3: This case involved the replacement of 2 broken down teeth with a dental implant supporting a 2 unit bridge. A ceramic veneer on the left lateral incisor was used to complete the case.
These cases highlight the many ways we can manage a broken down mouth. It can take time but eventually the results speak for themselves. Fixing a smile one tooth at a time is all it takes to restore confidence.