Aesthetic Dentistry – Gum Procedures
A great smile makes a lasting impression, but it is not just the colour of your teeth that makes a great smile. Teeth length and form affected by your gums are just as important in sculpting the perfect smile.
A 1998 survey sponsored by the American Dental Association and Oral-B Laboratories found that more than half the people interviewed said a smile is the first thing they notice about other people. The American Academy of Periodontology consumer survey in 2001 also noted that 1 in 4 consumers say their smile’s biggest flaw is either that it is too gummy or their teeth appear too long.
Besides treating gum disease to ensure a healthy mouth, a periodontist can also perform a wide variety of cosmetic procedures for people insecure about smiling in front of others. Examples of such procedures may include usage of tooth veneers, tooth implants or teeth whitening. More people are turning to dentists for cosmetic surgery to help them age gracefully.
Periodontal plastic surgery is no exception as it can help one look years younger. A recent poll of 253 consumers conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology found that respondents were seven times more likely to undergo a periodontal & smile enhancement procedure, such as teeth whitening, use tooth veneers and other treatments, as compared to face-lifts. Smile enhancement procedures outnumbered eyelid surgeries five to one. As such, an increasing amount of people are also beginning to understand the idea and philosophy behind aesthetic dentistry, and the treatments associated.
However, it is not just about having a pretty smile. A healthy smile is important too. It is thus essential that you visit your regular dentist every six months to keep your gums and teeth in tiptop condition. The periodontist will ensure that your gums are healthy before embarking on any periodontal cosmetic procedure. With the advent of new techniques and technology, you can now feel secure about smiling for the camera.
What is the difference between Cosmetic Dentistry and Aesthetic Dentistry then?
Cosmetic dentistry procedures focus on dental work that improves the appearance of the gums, teeth and smile. Its primary usage is to improve the colour of teeth (with teeth whitening), position of teeth, size and alignment of various elements of the patient’s smile, such as the gum line, smile line, and in many cases, the front teeth. Usage of dental cosmetics such as porcelain veneers, teeth whitening treatment techniques and dentistry treatments are meant to effect the desired appearance.
When thinking about Aesthetic Dentistry however, it can be said that the approach and mindset is very different. One common mistake many people make is that they think cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry mean the exact same thing in different words, and that the end point is only to produce the appearance of a perfect smile. While cosmetic dentistry might be able to create a smile fit for a world class celebrity, that smile might look unnatural, stiff or fake. Every person has is different. Aesthetic dentistry recognizes that and looks to create a smile that is the perfect fit for you.
While making your smile better is indeed part of the consideration in Aesthetic Dentistry, it is not the end point in its entirety. Special attention is given to oral hygiene and the natural health of the mouth and improving its function. This creates a philosophy of care and balance between what is considered good function, healthy to bring about an end result that effortlessly and naturally beautiful.
Below, I’ve listed some treatments I use when considering aesthetic dentistry for my patients, with a focus on what we can do for the gums.
Some patients complain of a gummy smile, where the teeth appear too short and the gums appear to cover too much of the teeth. A crown lengthening treatment may be done where gums and possibly bone are removed to lengthen the teeth to the correct height. Often the dentist also identifies uneven gum margins, and these are also corrected to improve symmetry and enhance aesthetic facial features.
Root coverage procedures
Others have a different problem. You might have noticed that you are getting “long in the tooth” due to gum recession. There are many causes of gum recession, including trauma from over brushing and gum disease. Whatever the reason, gum recession that leave roots exposed make you look older than you really are and makes teeth appear more yellow. Periodontists can cover the recession defects by doing soft tissue grafting. Most of the time, treatment involves having soft tissue harvested from the roof of the mouth (donor site) and transplanted to the site with recession defects (recipient site) by the dentist. With the right indications and if the cause of gum recession is corrected, the root coverage procedure is extremely stable and will last a lifetime.
Dr Teo’s consultation hours:
Monday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
An Dental Pte Ltd
360 Orchard Road
Tel: 8588 9868 or 6513 9549
Monday to Fridays: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturdays: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Sundays & Public holidays: Closed