women

Leading dentist Dr Martina Syron tells Anna Magee about the subtle tweaks that can add sparkle to your smile and subtract years.

 

“If the teeth are worn down, a thicker crown can be placed at the side teeth to widen the smile”

If you do nothing else…

Avoid brushing teeth after eating acidic foods. These soften tooth enamel for about half an hour, so brushing straight after can cause acid erosion, thinning the surface enamel.

De-age your smile – fast

Increase sparkle with a new high-speed cleaning and polishing treatment such as Ultrasonic, which removes surface stains, with bleaching gel then applied for 20 minutes.

Age Giveway 1 discolouration

You know the obvious culprits for surface staining: smoking, coffee, tea, dark drinks, red wine and spicy foods.

But while surface stains can be removed by cleaning and polishing every three to six months, left to build up they make teeth look yellow and dull. Plus, years of brushing too hard can wear away the precious surface enamel – the whitest and strongest top layer that gives teeth their brightness – and expose the darker dentine underneath, making teeth look yellow. Drugs taken as a teenager when teeth were developing, such as tetracycline antibiotics for acne or chest infections, may also contribute to a grey tone in the teeth.

Solution Research shows tooth whitening could take around ten years odd perceived age, but while laser whitening is recommended by many dentists, it can increase sensitivity and dehydrate the teeth so they could look whiter after the treatment but can quickly relapse. I prefer bleaching with a low-dose carbamide peroxide, which is shown in studies as more effective long term. Custom-made trays containing small amounts of bleach are worn at home overnight for between two and eight weeks, depending on the starting colour (grey-coloured teeth may take longer), and patients come in for three to five bleaching sessions at fortnightly intervals. Matching the tooth colour to the whites of the patients’ eyes looks most natural. Going too white can leave the thin enamel at the edges looking transparent and grey. Don’t bleach them more often than every two years. For people with sensitive teeth, the latest methods incorporate desensitizing agents within their bleach formula.

COST From $780 for a course

Age Giveway 2 Worn edges and unsightly chips

 

Teeth grinders – an increasing problem in female patients in their forties – can apply 14 times the amount of pressure on their teeth at night as they do during the day.

Over time, that leaves grinders – or “bruxists” – with teeth that have thin, jagged edges and shorter, worn-down front teeth. Even if you’re not a teeth grinder, by the time you have got 40 and 50 you have eaten a lot of hard foods and bitten down on a fork or two. This can mean tiny chips in your front teeth, creating jagged, uneven or serrated edges.

Solution A plastic night guard will help protect your enamel – wear it religiously! Tooth bonding can repair the damage to the teeth visible when you smile. Using a paintbrush, dentists apply a white composite material made from a mix of acrylic resin and tiny glass beads. It can fill gaps, straighten minor rotations or rebuild a thinning tooth surface or round edges of jagged teeth. Unlike veneers, bonding requires no filling of the tooth’s surface, so it’s both pain-free and reversible. It can chip, but these are easily repaired in the clinic. Results depend on the dentist’s skill so ask to see examples of previous work.

COST Night guard, from $110; tooth bonding, from $125 to $325 per tooth.

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