A simple case might just require whitening the teeth, either at home or in the surgery. The home treatment takes a few weeks, or alternatively, the teeth can be whitened in about an hour at the surgery using the ZOOM® whitening light. Dramatic results can be achieved, although existing crowns or fillings will not be whitened. Silver amalgam fillings look unsightly and often show through the sides of teeth, making them look grey or black. Replacing the black amalgam fillings with white filling materials can make a ‘piano keys’ smile look white and natural again. Even better is the use of porcelain inlays or onlays, which build up and restore the contour of worn and damaged teeth using a very durable material.
Few people have naturally perfectly straight teeth and there are many ways of aligning them. These include the use of braces to straighten healthy teeth, which is still possible in adults although it can be a lengthy process. If braces are not an option, then porcelain crowns can be used to change the shape of teeth. A further technique is the use of porcelain veneers (or facings) to change the visible surface of the teeth so that shape and/or colour can be modified. These require less preparation than crowns and can transform a smile in a couple of weeks. Often there is more than one factor involved and one must look at the whole smile in order to achieve the best long-term results. Experience is crucial to achieving the best outcome.