Whether we fully realize it or not, we are constantly communicating to others through our smiles or lack thereof. Non-verbal messages such as self-confidence, social acceptance, and friendliness are flashed in a second through a smile. Likewise, not smiling may be misinterpreted to mean self-uncertainty, social rejection and unfriendliness. But, what if a person felt they could not smile, as they were too embarrassed to reveal their broken smile? Whether damage to front teeth is caused by an intentional or accidental hit, advances in cosmetic dental materials and procedures can help you get your smile back.
Repair of Fractured Teeth Give Back Your Beautiful Smile
If a tooth is fractured, there are several possible ways to repair it. If it’s a relatively small section that’s missing, a composite resin material can be used. This starts as a moldable, liquid or putty consistency. The cosmetic dentist matches the resin shade to your tooth exactly, so no break can be detected. The material is then hand-sculpted to complement the existing tooth, then cured until hardened. When done correctly, a seamless, invisible appearance can be the result.
If a much larger section is fractured, it may be necessary to restore the tooth using a veneer or crown. A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain that covers the front and biting surface of a tooth. In spite of its thinness, its state-of-the-art fabrication and method of adherence in the end creates a strong, lifelike restoration. A benefit of the veneer is that only a very minimal amount of natural tooth needs to be removed before this porcelain restoration is fabricated and placed.
If even more of the natural tooth is fractured off, a crown may be required for repair. A crown is a restoration that fits over the natural tooth on all five surfaces. The strength of modern dental materials allows the placement of non-metal, all-porcelain crowns. These natural appearing restorations retain their esthetic and strength through time, and won’t reveal a black line at the gumline as crowns of years ago did.
For veneers, crowns and bridges, the cosmetic dentist and their lab technician need to develop an impeccable communication and work system in order to have optimal end results. The shape, coloring and texture of the veneer or crown are all dependent on the dentist’s ability to convey the subtle esthetic nuances needed for a natural result that blends to your adjacent teeth in your mouth.
If the fracture affects the tooth nerve or pulp, the tooth may need root canal therapy in order to save the tooth. Sometimes a tooth may not require root canal therapy immediately, but as a precaution your dentist will still require that it be periodically monitored.
Bring Back a Beautiful Smile by Replacing a Missing Tooth
If a tooth is completely knocked out, a bridge or implant is needed to close the gap. A bridge is a permanent, fixed restoration that uses adjacent teeth as anchors and replaces the missing tooth. Similar to a crown, non-metal all-porcelain materials are used to give the appearance of natural teeth, which retain their esthetic appearance through the years.
There is a possibility that a fully avulsed tooth (a tooth that is knocked out in its entirety) can be saved, but you must act quickly. First place the tooth in a moist environment. Research has shown that milk or the saliva in that individual’s mouth is the best to temporarily hold the fully removed tooth. Then contact your dentist at once. The best chance for successful reimplantation is if it’s done within an hour or less.
Domestic violence is a reality in every community. The “Give Back A Smile” Program is a national charitable service project of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Since 1998, participating member dentists, laboratories, corporations and supporters have helped provide cosmetic dental care to survivors of domestic violence who have sustained injury of fractured, destroyed or missing front teeth due to a domestic violence attack.
I would like to thank dentists in Hawaii who participate in the “Give Back A Smile” Program: Dr. Ileana Carreno, Dr. Alvin Chung, Dr. Norman Cheung, Dr. Declan Devereax, Dr. Lia Dominici-Bly, Dr. Marcia Loo Eng, Dr. Clyde Ishida, Dr. Russell Kim, Dr. James Merrett, Dr. Dennis Nagata, Dr. Chester Naka, Dr. Melanie Vallejos, Dr. Ken Yasuhara, Dr. Randall Yoshida, and Dr. Donovan Young.
The work that these dentists provide through this program can very dramatically and drastically change the way survivors of domestic violence view themselves and their world. If you know of a survivor of domestic violence who could benefit from these services, please contact the “Give Back A Smile” Program at (800) 773 -GBAS (4227), or visit the website at www.givebackasmile.com.
What cosmetic dentistry has done to help to restore the many lives of people is remarkable. Being able to “recreate nature” not only gives a smile back to my patients, it also puts a smile on my face as well. Individually, we can only accomplish so much. Together, we can reach our goals and help heal the world.
Dr. Wynn Okuda is an award winning international leader in cosmetic dentistry. He is one of only 280 dentists in the world to be accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). Dr. Okuda turned the dental profession on its head nearly a decade ago , replacing pain, fear, & discomfort with the Dental Day Spa system. His offices for cosmetic, restorative and implant dentistry are located in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Dr. Okuda has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, American Spa, Shape Magazine, Better Homes & Garden, Health & Fitness Sports Magazine, New Woman, and dozens more!