Health Topics

Healthy Living

October 2009
Popular Dental Procedures
Dr Chitra Paruchuri
Professional Tooth Cleaning

Problem: You have great teeth, but they are now stained yellow and brown (from your tea/coffee intake or from smoking, tobacco chewing and the like).

The easiest and quickest solution is to get a scaling and polishing done. Scaling is the professional cleaning of your teeth by the dentist with special equipment, and polishing to give back your pearls the lost sparkle. However, this procedure will only remove the stains and the tartar from your teeth. It will not change the natural colour/shade of your teeth.

This is a single sitting procedure which does not take much time and should cost you anywhere between Rs 700 to Rs 1,000.

Problem: You want those teeth to really sparkle, more than what scaling and polishing can offer.

Solution: Bleaching can turn your natural teeth to a shade almost four to five times lighter, making them look whiter. You can either do the bleaching by yourself at home with the 'tray technique,' or get it done by the dentist at her clinic for an in-office bleaching, depending on your lifestyle, time, money, convenience and preference. Both the techniques can give you satisfactory results.

The tray treatment that you can do at home can take about one to two weeks, depending on the existing shade of your natural teeth and the desired result. The in-office bleaching would help you achieve the desired result much faster though (an hour's time with just one sitting), because the procedure involves the use of laser, and would be ideal for those with busy schedules. Tooth sensitivity is expected to fade off in two days – and you can even get a tooth mousse done these days to prevent sensitivity.

Cost: The tray treatment can cost you approximately Rs 6,000. The dentist assisted one should be around Rs 14,000.

Problem: Misaligned front teeth – some could even be broken or chipped off. Or the front teeth could be discoloured.

Solution: These problems can be corrected with the use of laminates or veneers. These are porcelain dental restorations used in cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry to repair or replace the front side of the tooth to make it visually more appealing. Laminates are a safe, aesthetic and quick option to correct unattractive front teeth.

Cost: Laminates can typically cost you about Rs 8,000 onwards depending on the number of teeth to be corrected and the quality of the material used.

Crowns and Bridges
Problem: Missing teeth. These are not confined to old people – even teenagers, young adults and the middle aged can have some teeth missing due to accidents, dental caries, genetic disorders etc. Missing teeth can bring about unwanted changes to one's facial appearance, denting (excuse the pun) one's self-esteem and confidence.

Solution: Crowns can be used to replace a single missing tooth. Metalceramic crowns and all-ceramic crowns are popular choices, as they offer good strength and excellent aesthetics. This treatment involves reshaping of the tooth for accurate fitting and proper function.

Bridges are used in cases of multiple missing teeth. The teeth adjacent to the missing teeth are reshaped for gaining support and adaptability for the bridge. The all-ceramic ones look the best.

Cost: A metal ceramic crown can ideally cost you about Rs 5,000 and an all ceramic crown should be around 8,000 per tooth. The cost of a bridge is at least three times that of a crown. It depends on the number of replaced teeth in the bridge. You would need just two to three visits to your dentist for it.
Problem: You have missing teeth, and want the new teeth to look, feel and function just like natural ones.

Solution: Dental implants are a vast improvement over other conventional dentures, being more stable, user friendly and longer lasting. This is a surgical procedure involving the placement of a titanium screw in the patient's jaw. Because of their integration in the jaw, they prevent bone loss and gum recession. Though immediate implants can be done in a few cases, others would require two to three months' time for the implant to get integrated and adapted by the bone. It is important to get this treatment done by skilled and experienced dentists. This might not exactly be a Diwali option, but since the festival season has started, you could consider this also.

Cost: Rs. 45,000 to 50,000 per implant.

Everyone deserves a beautiful smile, and with recent advancement in aesthetic dentistry there is no need to settle for anything less. So go ahead and take your pick – create magic with your perfect smile this Diwali. Or better still, as this is a time of giving – gift your loved one the key to a happy smile.
Dr Chitra Paruchuri practices at The Dental Studio, Hyderabad