Cleaning and flossing teeth is a no-brainer for general dental care, but how else can we care for our pearly whites, and when do we need to see a dentist? Check out two dentists in Singapore who can help with straightening as well as teeth whitening.
Dr CATHERINE LEE is a big believer in early orthodontic care for children. She says expensive orthodontic work can be minimised or even prevented by treatment at an early age, before the jaw has fully developed. What’s more, orthodontic problems often run in families.
At what age should a child be seen by an orthodontist?
By age seven, enough permanent teeth will have grown and sufficient jaw growth will have occurred for the orthodontist to identify current problems, anticipate future problems and alleviate parental concerns. The first permanent molars and incisors usually emerge by age seven, and cross-bites, crowding and any potentially injury-prone teeth that stick out can be evaluated.
Other than crooked teeth, what signs would indicate that a child should see an orthodontist?
The numerous signs can include early or late loss of baby teeth, difficulty in chewing or biting, teeth out of alignment, a jaw that shifts sideways when closing, thumb- or finger-sucking, “mouth breathing”, and jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face.
What is the average age for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is generally divided into two phases. The first phase is usually for children between seven and 10 years old, when there is still a mixture of baby and adult teeth. The second is for children aged from 10 to 12 years and up, and into adulthood.
How long are braces typically needed?
The first phase of treatment usually lasts six to 12 months and the second phase is normally 18 to 24 months. Treatment time depends on the patient’s growth and response to orthodontic treatment, and his or her level of cooperation. The orthodontist has specific treatment goals in mind, and will usually continue treatment until these goals are achieved.
Is it safe to play active physical sports with braces?
Yes, but both children and adults should wear protective mouth guards. An orthodontist can recommend specific mouth guards suitable for different sports.
Dr Catherine Lee Orthodontics is at Level 36 (Penthouse), Income @ Raffles (Office Tower)
16 Collyer Quay
Tooth whitening is a popular dental technique to rejuvenate the colour of teeth that have become dull and yellow after years of accumulating internal stains, says Dr Thean Tsin Piao.
Did you know?
Unlike simple scaling and polishing, which is a purely mechanical process that removes surface stains caused by substances such as coffee, tea and red wine, tooth whitening removes internal stains through an oxidation process. The most common ingredient used for whitening teeth is peroxide gel.
Home or away?
* The take-home whitening system usually involves a customised tray filled with peroxide gel in a 10- to 20-percent concentration. You wear this tray for 30 minutes every day, for 14 days.
* The in-office system is a one-off treatment that uses a much higher concentration of peroxide gel – 30 to 40 percent – and takes from 30 to 60 minutes. The higher the concentration of gel, the faster the whitening process.
What can you expect?
You can look forward to teeth that are six to eight shades whiter – usually to the colour of your teenage teeth. Teeth may be sensitive during the whitening procedure, but the effect is transient. When using the take-home system, take great care to ensure that the gel does not come into contact with the gums, says Dr Thean, or it will burn them.
To find out more, head to Aesthete Smilestudio’s site or call 6438 3811.
- One third of a tooth is under the gum.
- Humans form two sets of teeth in their lifetime. Baby teeth number 20; adult teeth 32.
- Teeth are covered in enamel, the hardest part of the body.
- Sharks grow a new set of teeth every two weeks to replace worn ones.
- Tooth decay is the most common global disease.
- Tooth-brushing has been practised for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Indians cleaned their teeth with twigs.
- The first mass-produced toothbrush was developed in England in 1780.
- Saliva is 99.5-percent water. It’s essential for breaking down food trapped in oral crevices and protecting teeth from decay.
- The jawbone is the hardest bone in the human body.
- Dentists recommend brushing twice daily and visiting them twice a year.