When we think of cosmetic surgery, we tend to focus on the cheeks, eyes, and nose. But there are some appearance enhancements that a cosmetic surgeon can't make: those having to do with your teeth. As more people look to improve their appearance through surgery, cosmetic dentistry and periodontology are experiencing a rise in popularity. In fact, a poll conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology found that smile enhancement procedures outnumbered eyelid surgeries five to one.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry cites a recent study in which participants were shown photos of people before and after smile-enhancing treatment. The people with improved smiles were rated not just as more attractive, but also more popular, sensitive, successful, and friendly.
If you're interested in improving your smile, we can help in a variety of areas. Following are some of the most common corrections we perform for our patients.
Gummy or Crooked Smile
If you have too much gum showing when you smile, causing your teeth to look short, we call this a gummy smile. If your gum line is uneven, causing some teeth to look shorter than others, we call this a crooked smile. Both situations are easily remedied with a procedure referred to as a gum lift or crown lengthening. During this procedure, we remove excess gum tissue and reshape the contour of your gums to lengthen the crowns of your teeth and provide a natural-looking gum line.
Gum recession can be caused by gum disease, vigorous brushing, grinding or clenching, or simply age and genetics. Regardless of the cause, as gums recede they expose the roots of the tooth, creating the appearance of longer teeth. Exposed roots also increase vulnerability to root decay, bone loss, and sensitivity to hot and cold liquids and foods. The solution to this situation is a soft-tissue graft, also known as a gum graft. During this procedure, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is transplanted to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. A soft-tissue graft protects your roots from decay and helps prevent additional gum recession.
Aside from creating distracting gaps in your smile, missing teeth can cause problems with your oral health. To restore your smile to fullness and health, we use implants. An implant is a replacement tooth attached to a synthetic root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. Permanent implant crowns look and feel like natural teeth. Implants can last a lifetime if cared for properly.
When a tooth falls out or is removed, an indentation can appear in the gums and jawbone just above the spot where the tooth used to be. This occurs because the jawbone slowly atrophies or disappears in response to the empty space. In combination with replacing your missing tooth, we can provide ridge augmentation, a procedure in which we smooth out the indentation to recreate the original curvature of your gums and jaw. This procedure generally includes bone grafting to restore the missing bone, and in some cases must be performed prior to the placement of implants to ensure that sufficient bone is available to securely retain the implant.
Call our expert team at (212) 371-1414 or contact us online for more information.
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Your toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing your teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Your dentist recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If you've been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as soon as possible.
According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
Choosing a dentist who “clicks” with you and your family is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you. During your appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and look beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this time, your child's baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child's first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.