It’s often said that when you meet someone for the first time they look into your eyes; but the next features they’re likely to focus on are your mouth and teeth. If you want to make a fabulous first impression, it’s essential that you smile with confidence.

As cosmetic dentistry procedures become safer and less invasive, demand for cosmetic dental surgery is on the rise in the UAE. And if you want to transform your teeth in just one day or overnight, advances in the field mean it’s never been quicker to upgrade your smile. Visit a clinic with a lab on-site and specialists, and you could have an entire change in colour, shape and bite.

Not only can the perfect smile enhance your appearance, but proper dental care can prevent joint pain, ear problems, neck strain and excessive headaches that can result from a misaligned jaw or cavity.

Research has shown a close relationship between periodontal disease (gum disease) and cardiovascular disease as the bacteria that cause gum inflammation affect the bloodstream and can damage blood vessels in the heart in the long run – so good oral health is essential for overall well-being, and that starts with a visit to the dentist.

‘Regular hygienist appointments are key in protecting the foundations of your teeth,’ says Dr Sameer Patel, Clinical Director at multi-award winning practice Elleven (www.ellevendental.com), who sees a lot of patients from the UAE at his clinic in London’s Harley Street. ‘Hygiene appointments should use air flow technology – this polishing technique uses high-pressure air and water and a specially formulated powder, which can help restore teeth to their natural colour by removing external stains such as those caused by coffee, tea, and daily living.’

He cautions that along with stains he’s seen a recent increase in the number of people with acid erosion and a loss of tooth surface, which can be attributed to an increased consumption of fruit juice and fizzy drinks. So if you want to maintain the perfect smile, it’s essential to cut back on sugar-laden treats and maintain good oral hygiene.

Of course few of us want to spend more time than is necessary in the dentist’s chair but we want our teeth to look their best – and that often means whiter. Teeth whitening is one of the least invasive cosmetic dental treatments and if done correctly, can have a dramatic impact on your smile, while sensitivity should be minimal. ‘The fastest and simplest way to instantly upgrade your smile is to make your teeth whiter by having your teeth whitened by a dentist,’ says Dr Joy Antony (www.drjoydentalclinic.com), a specialist orthodontist with clinics in Jumeirah, Mirdif and Karama. ‘In just 60 minutes, your teeth will be noticeably whiter, up to five shades lighter. Teeth darken over a period of time because when we consume food or drinks such as coffee, 
or even smoke cigarettes, they form a thin covering called pellicle on the teeth. This can be removed by a clinic polishing or by using abrasive whitening toothpastes. However, when left over a long period, the stains gradually seep deep into the enamel of the tooth, causing discolouration which can only be removed by a dentist.’

Teeth whitening techniques use bleaching agents such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that penetrate the enamel, reacting with stains to dislodge them.

‘One of the problems many people face is sensitivity during and after the whitening treatment,’ adds Dr Joy. ‘This has been reduced to a considerable extent by the latest whitening machines, where the intensity of the light can be varied depending on the sensitivity of the patient’s teeth.’

Dr Sameer uses a breakthrough treatment to bring a whiter smile. ‘It gives the whitest smile achievable whilst rebuilding tooth enamel,’ he says. ‘The in-chair whitening system utilises thermal diffusion technology to enhance the results as well as PrevDent products, which re-mineralise the tooth structure, helping to re-build enamel. There is no sensitivity and no dehydration effect.’

If your teeth are crooked, it’s never been easier to have them straightened, and the braces creating the biggest buzz in cosmetic dentistry right now are Lingual Braces. They’re worn behind the teeth, making them very discreet (no more shiny metal smiles) and reduce treatment time by 40 per cent. ‘Traditionally, orthodontics was associated with long treatment times,’ explains Dr Joy. ‘This was a negative factor for adults who were seeking fast results. 
To reduce the treatment time, advanced technology is used to create more efficient braces known as self-ligating braces that exert less force and move teeth faster. Dental braces are custom-made for each patient, ensuring faster treatment times.

‘Another exciting development is the latest device such as Acceledent Aura and Propel, which stimulate a faster cellular response and cuts down the treatment time drastically, up to 50 per cent. Acceledent Aura incorporates SoftPulse Technology – micropulses or minute vibrations are used to accelerate bone remodelling and quicken tooth movement.

‘In the past, many adults rejected orthodontic treatments to improve their smiles due to the appearance of train tracks, but nowadays, even the most complex malocclusions can be treated with dental braces that are totally invisible, as Incognito lingual braces are placed behind your teeth.’

Clear aligners, such as the increasingly popular Invisalign, have revolutionised orthodontics. Now adults can straighten their teeth with transparent, BPA-free plastic aligners that are very inconspicuous – which means no wires and more comfort.

Dr Sameer is also a fan of Invisalign. ‘They are practically invisible and are completely removable, meaning that you can brush and floss your teeth as normal and eat and drink without inconvenience. Invisalign are also perfect for time-pressed patients, as in most cases the patient will need to visit the practice only every eight to 10 weeks to ensure that the straightening process is progressing as it should. Over the weeks and months teeth will gradually move into the desired position to leave you with a perfectly straight set of pearly whites.’

Internationally acclaimed American dentist Dr Michael Apa (www.askdrapa.com) who is known as the ‘cosmetic dentist to the stars’, has been working and travelling to the UAE for a number of years and has seen huge growth and demand in the region for aesthetic dentistry, unique techniques and anti–ageing procedures, which has led to the establishment of his very first clinic outside the US in Dubai. ‘Things today are done more comprehensively,’ he says. ‘To fix your smile, things are done in tandem with different specialists under one roof, as well as the lab.

“There are always new techniques for improving the experience, for example Inman Aligners [a simple removable appliance a bit like a brace that can work within six to 12 weeks]. The duration can be cut further to pre-align the teeth before the veneering process. This allows the dentist to be more conservative when shaping teeth for veneers.

‘The way we use bleach today is a bit different, too. In-office treatments have stayed the same with Zoom being the most popular treatment offered. However, Boost is a newer In-office treatment without the use of the light for initiation.’

Zoom Whitening uses a special blue light to activate the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide in the bleach and accelerate the whitening process.

Boost treatments have a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide (40 per cent) mixed in with the bleach to avoid the need for light activation, which can cause sensitivity to the teeth and act as a chemical initiator.

‘For at-home treatments,’ Dr Apa adds, ‘we are telling patients to use the custom-made trays with the bleach for 15 minutes rather than the full hour. Recent research tells us that 95 per cent of its efficacy happens in the first 15 minutes.’

‘For some patients we can actually do Addition Ceramics on,’ says Dr Apa. ‘This is when we can add veneers directly to the teeth without reduction or anaesthesia. This is probable for 50 per cent of the patients we see. Other than that we can do selective orthodontic movement with Inman Aligners, which align and guide front teeth with nickel titanium coil springs, or Invisalign followed by bleaching and shaping.’

Another simple and quick treatment is Cosmetic Contouring. ‘In most cases, the edge of people’s teeth may be uneven or worn down,’ explains Dr Joy. 
‘Many women have teeth that take on a more masculine shape, making their smile unattractive. A good cosmetic dentist, with an eye for detail, can easily contour teeth to make a significant change to a person’s smile. This is a very simple procedure, which requires no anaesthesia and can be completed in 30 to 60 minutes.’

However you decide to improve your smile, remember that brushing your teeth for at least two minutes morning and night – with an electric toothbrush and using an up and down movement not sideways – and flossing daily are your best defence against tooth decay. Ready for your close-up?

Ready, steady, smile! The latest technology for your teeth

Enlighten tooth whitening system

This is the only system that guarantees a result of B1 brightness (the lightest shade on the teeth whitening chart). Unlike regular power-whitening treatments, Enlighten requires no UV wavelength lights and comes with an anti-sensitivity serum to reduce sensitivity. It involves a two-week at home- treatment using carbamide peroxide gel followed by a single in-surgery power session using hydrogen peroxide gel treated by special Enlighten light that lasts only an hour.

Lingual braces

These incognito or hidden braces are planted behind the teeth but still do all the hard work traditional grilles do to correct crookedness, crowding, gaps and overbites.

Dental implants

Dental implants are a healthier method of tooth replacement. Unlike dentures they require no adjustments after fitting, which makes them the most stable and comfortable tooth-replacement treatment. While in the case of bridges and crowns adjacent teeth have to be ground down to make space, this is not the case here. The dental implant acts like a natural tooth root and is made of biocompatible material – usually titanium –that the body accepts. They can last a lifetime with proper care and also help minimise further bone loss and help maintain facial structure.

Cerec dental veneers

The advanced technology involved in the Cerec system allows permanent ceramic veneers to be made and fitted in a single appointment. Using the CAD/CAM software dentists create a precise 3D replica of your teeth from a block of ceramic – either Feldspathic Porcelain, Empress (Leucite glass) or eMax (high strength Lithium Disilicate). The veneers are an accurate fit which adds to their strength and longevity.

 

Gum contouring

Dentists use a scalpel or dental laser to trim away excessive gum tissue The treatment is quick and painless. It’s often followed by a prescription of veneers or crowns to further enhance your smile.

CASE STUDY

‘I could smile without worry for the first in years’

Martin Sands, 34, of Dubai became more confident after having implants

‘I had a car accident when I was 21 and my back teeth on the left side were knocked out. It meant I had trouble eating but, also, there was a huge gap at the side of my mouth whenever I smiled.

I hated laughing or smiling as you could see I had missing teeth. Over time my face looked thinner on that side too, so it appeared to be lopsided. My cheek looked sunken.

I was always worrying about my appearance and lacked confidence, but couldn’t afford implants as they were very expensive back then in London, UK, where I’m from.

I had asked about a bridge but it wasn’t possible because the very back tooth was missing – the dentist explained you can only insert teeth in a bridge if you have teeth either side to hold the false ones. I rejected the idea of dentures as they’re something I associate with old people and I would worry that they would fall out.

Then I got a job in Dubai and discovered that implants are cheaper here and the technology much more advanced. I decided to go to Dr Joy’s Dental Clinic where I could afford three implants. It was an easy procedure – they simply drilled into my jawbone and placed a titanium implant in to eventually attach the teeth to. It didn’t hurt but took about two hours. A cap was put on top of the implant to keep it closed while 
it healed and I was given antibiotics and painkillers. I went to the gym straight after having it done though, so it wasn’t at all problematic.

I had to wait two months to make sure there was no infection. Dr Joy created teeth that looked exactly like my own in colour and shape and simply screwed them into the implant. Now my face looks symmetrical and I can eat on that side. It was simple and pain-free and gave me my confidence back, as well as a great smile.

Dr Joy Dental Clinic has branches in Karama (04 397 9522), Jumeirah (04 328 5332) and Mirdif (04 284 5722). Visit www.drjoydentalclinic.com