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Dental treatments to smile about
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Everbody loves a beautiful smile but missing, discolored or crooked teeth can detract. In view of the growing demand for aesthetic dentistry, a number of Chinese and international health professionals got together to share cutting-edge implant and aesthetic solutions at the Shanghai leg of the Nobel Biocare 2008 World Tour recently.

The three-day conference featured program sessions, workshops, hands-on courses and one-on-one sessions for dental health professionals. Their primary focus was patients' practical needs.

"There are a whole new set of cosmetic dentistry solutions that include dental implants, teeth whitening and dental restoration," said Dr Yu Guangyan, dean of Peking University's School of Stomatology. "What bothers patients is how to choose suitable products, as well as solutions that will completely satisfy their needs."

Teeth whitening used to be an aesthetic dentistry technique that required frequent re-application. In spite of the truth that it can adjust tooth color, it has little effect on treating other possible dental deficiencies.

"All-ceramic dental veneers or dental crowns can be a better choice," suggested Peter Moy, treasurer of the Academy of Osseointegration.

"Besides improving the color of the teeth, it can also deal with chipped, cracked or crooked teeth."

To those of poor dental health and with gum disease, tooth extraction is a common way for eradicating the pain. Dental experts suggest that there should be no delay before having another tooth implanted after extraction.

"Such delays might lead to several unfavorable consequences such as displacement of neighboring teeth, jawbone atrophy and a strange smile. In many cases, a dental implant is the most pleasing aesthetic solution. It can effectively take the place of the missing tooth's root," Moy said.

"If the patient has only one missing tooth, a dental crown on a dental implant is probably the best choice. If the patient is missing multiple teeth, a dental bridge is recommended. Dental bridges are useful in restoring a natural appearance."

NobelGuide, a revolutionary treatment planning and surgical implementation system, received the most attention during the three-day conference.

Simple and quick, this gentler new option enables one to leave the dentist's office with fully functioning new teeth after a one-hour treatment.

"Not everybody dares to go to the dentist. Therefore, we work on solutions with the least pain and the most convenience. It is a unique system that has lots of advantages over old-fashioned implant treatments," Moy said. "Best of all, no recovery period is needed after treatment. So you can return to your active life immediately."

Huang Suxia from Hangzhou, capital of neighboring Zhejiang Province, has suffered from tooth decay and periodontitis for more than 20 years. She had to get all her teeth extracted several years ago. Being one of the "fully edentulous population," she has met with many problems in her daily life.

"Following my doctor's suggestion, I decided to turn to the quick and pain free surgery, NobelGuide, for help," she said. "It's great to have teeth again. More amazingly, I could speak and eat normally immediately after the surgery."

While pursuing the best aesthetic solutions for their patients, the dental experts also confirmed their belief that daily dental care can make a huge difference to people's lives.

Dr Lucia Ge from Kowa Dental pointed out that the correct method of brushing teeth, sound eating habits and regular visits to local dental clinics is important.

"Eating more vegetables helps the teeth and gums. Chewing food on both sides is also important. Electric toothbrushes are recommended," he said, "and children should use proper children's toothpaste."

(Shanghai Daily May 27, 2008)

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