CHRISTMAS party season is fast approaching and there’s a lot of lost time to be made up for after last year’s Covid lockdown.
Now is the perfect time to invest in your smile, whether you decide to splurge or go for a more affordable option.
Payal Bhalla, dentist and Clinical Director of Quest Dental, reveals how to make tweaks here and there to improve your gnashers.
A good clean can do wonders and takes less than an hour.
Payal said: “A scale and polish is a treatment which works to remove any stubborn plaque from your teeth that you may not be able to reach with a toothbrush, your dentist will be able to ensure all plaque is removed.
“A polish then goes over the teeth to ensure that any stains on the surface of the teeth are polished away to reveal a cleaner, brighter and more even smile.”
Tray teeth whitening
Teeth whitening at the dentist is the most successful because the bleaching gel contains 6 per cent hydrogen peroxide.
The roughly £300-£400 treatment isn’t permanent, lasting between a few months to three years before needing topping up.
Payal said: “Your dentist will have impressions of your teeth made to create the trays, you will then fill the trays with the whitening treatment and leave on your teeth for however long the treatment advises.
“Most trays are done overnight.”
After roughly two weeks, or sometimes longer depending on the shade desired, the teeth will be brighter.
Payal said: “You have to be a little more careful as there are certain foods and drinks you cannot consume during the treatment, so this would be a good option if you have the time and are looking for buildable results.”
Express teeth whitening
Rapid teeth whitening – sometimes called power, express or zoom whitening – cuts all corners.
It takes just one hour, but is more costly – up to £1,500.
Payal said: “Zoom whitening is the fastest and most effective form of whitening.
“It involves careful application of peroxide to the enamel of the teeth, a specialised light is then used to accelerate the breakdown of the peroxide to speed up the whitening process.
“This would be a good treatment to opt for if you do not much much time or as a last-minute option pre-party season.”
Home whitening kits
If professional whitening at the dentist is out of your financial reach, home kits are in abundance.
DIY kits come in the form of strips, gels with low concentrated bleach, or gum shields with UV lights.
Over-the-counter kits are legally not allowed to contain more than 0.1 per cent hydrogen peroxide, so unfortunately you won’t see the same results as going to the dentist, where products are 6 per cecnt.
They can also be risky if not applied correctly, if the bleaching agent leaks onto gums, for example.
Clean your teeth after partying
It’s tempting to fall into bed after a night of festivities without cleaning your teeth.
But, as any dentist would, Payal urges everyone to brush day and night to keep the mouth as clean and stain-free as possible.
She said: “It’s well known that festive foods and drinks such as prosecco, champagne and sweet desserts can cause damage to your teeth if consumed in excess.
“So you should ensure that to help prevent any damage you are brushing your teeth thoroughly morning and night, flossing and using mouthwash to ensure your mouth is clean.”
“If you have any chipped teeth, or would like a more even smile then you could always look into having composite bonding done with your dentist,” says Payal.
“Bonding is usually used for filling chips, fractures or gaps between teeth, but can also be good for fixing discoloration.
“If you are looking to perfect your smile then this would be a good treatment to opt for prior to party season.”
Composite bonding, also known tooth bonding or dental bonding, gives minor tweaks to natural teeth.
It is a non-invasive procedure unlike getting crowns or veneers, which both require partial removal of the tooth.
After having the work done, you’ll leave the dentist surgery with your new smile.
People chose to get them as they might have damaged their teeth, need to fill in some gaps or fix the colour of them if teeth whitening hasn’t worked. Some get it purely for cosmetic reasons to make each tooth identical.
The cost starts from around £100 and depends entirely on how much work you have done, and replacements are needed every five to ten years.
There are a number of foods and drinks that can hasten the staining of teeth.
They include tea, coffee, wine and spices.
Dr Krystyna Wilczynski, a cosmetic dentist and facial aesthetician, previously told Central Recorder: “Many festive foods and drinks such as wine, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, berries contain substances that can stain teeth.
“The colour found in these items originates from chromogens, which are deeply pigmented molecules attracted to the enamel surface of your teeth.”
While giving these up won’t instantly transform your teeth, it will prevent more staining in the future.
If the thought of giving up tea and coffee is too much to bear, consider drinking them through a straw instead.
It can also help to rinse your mouth frequently with water so the dark liquid does not sit on your teeth for a long period between meals.
Smoking also destroys the colour of your teeth – and if that isn’t enough reason to quit, it’s also a leading cause of death.
Clean your tongue
Cleaning your tongue won’t necessarily improve the appearance of your smile.
But it will certainly prevent smelly breath – which is never ideal when in close quarters with friends and colleagues at Christmas parties.
Tongue scrapers feature a U-shaped piece of metal attached to handles that is designed to be dragged along the tongue surface after tooth-brushing, from the back of the mouth to the front.
Due to their rigid edges, they’re said to be more effective at cleaning your tongue than the bristles of a toothbrush.
Not only do they help keep the mouth clean but experts say the practise could be anti-ageing.
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