Did you know the stereotype that Brits have bad teeth is a myth? Jason Bourne has nothing on Austin Powers, since according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UK is leading the world in oral health, with fewer decayed or missing teeth than youths in Franc, Spain, Sweden, Australia, and the US. We also visit the dentist more, with 7 out of 10 Brits visiting the dentist in the past year compared to the US’s average of 4 in 10.
Fortunately for us Brits, we have a variety of options in dealing with “bad” teeth. Has a lifetime coffee addiction left you with yellow teeth? There’s a treatment for that? Did you opt-out of braces as a kid, so that the playground wouldn’t turn into a hellscape? We can straighten those adult gnashers, no problem. Or would you just like to be able to smile at networking opportunities without making sure your lips close? Whatever is bothering you, there will be a resolution in the guide below.
The bright colour of your teeth can deter due to things such as a diet filled with red wine and coffee, smoking, illness, or a good old-fashioned lack of diligent oral hygiene.
There are many home remedies, ranging from the useless to the outright dangerous, so the most cost-effective option would be to put away the TikTok hacks and speak to your dentist. You can get an at-home teeth whitening kit that is approved by dentists and doesn’t involve products found under the sink. You can see results in as soon as three days with a set of custom-made trays filled with whitening gel. Stick them in for a minimum of eight hours a day, which can comfortably be done overnight while you’re asleep, so you hardly notice the hard work being done.
If you opt for a session in the chair, you will have a range of options there as well. Your dentist will check if your teeth are suitable for treatment, put a shield in your mouth to protect your gums, and then paint your teeth with a whitening product. A lamp will then be shone into your mouth to activate the whitening gel. Four 15-minute-long sessions will leave you with a brighter smile.
For over a century and a half, dentists have been using dark grey fillings made of “amalgam”. But that time is finally over. You need not opt for a mouth full of dark fillings anymore. As dentistry has evolved, their materials have improved resulting in fillings that are much easier to match to the natural shade of your teeth – and to add the cherry on top, they last longer than the traditional silver fillings.
Caused by tooth decay, acid erosion in food or drink, or chipping, cavities in your teeth will need to be filled to stop toothache and prevent further decay of the tooth, but a hidden perk of composite “white” fillings is that they are stronger and therefore don’t need to fill as much, which crucially, means less drilling.
If you already have a filling you scowl at while brushing your teeth, you can talk to your dentist about getting it replaced, but a lot don’t recommend it in the back teeth as it’s not always successful.
The cause of PTSD across schools, braces are designed to pull your teeth into line. Crowded or crooked teeth will be pulled into place, traditionally by metal brackets glued directly onto your teeth and held in place by wires. Their results are predictable and reliable, but they can be hard to clean and make your mouth feel full.
Thankfully, dentistry has improved and there are now a variety of ways to straighten your teeth. For example, lingual braces are the same brackets and wires glued to the back of the teeth, invisible to everyone who isn’t getting uncomfortably close. They pull rather than push your teeth into place with a stronger wire for up to two years. They can also be worn by people of all ages so that if you turned down braces as a child, you still have the option.
There is also the option of ceramic braces, which are very similar to traditional braces, with their main difference being in the material of the bracket. White ceramic brackets are glued to the front of your teeth with the wire et all. They will suffer the same drawbacks of traditional braces such as the full feeling in the mouth and the difficulty cleaning them.
Invisible braces are swiftly becoming the popular option, with companies around the world such as Straight My Teeth releasing their in-chair or at-home options for straightening your teeth without anyone catching on. A clear invisible retainer will straighten your teeth over time discreetly. Some are designed to be worn at night for eight to ten hours, elongating the time needed to wear them to get results but removing the interruption to your daily routine.
Invisible aligners are removable and easy to maintain since they can be cleaned in the sink. You can take them out to eat, drink and sleep. Once the initial mould of your teeth is made by your dentist the process is mostly an at-home experience, resulting in a straighter smile.
There is also specifically Cosmetic Teeth Straightening, which uses any one of the previous options for only six months to focus solely on your front teeth.
Seal, Georgia Jagger, and Elijah Wood: what do they? The increasingly endearing gap in their front teeth. But if you’re finding yourself making sure your lips are closed when you smile, there is something you can do about it.
Composite bonding is a fast and effective fix for minor cosmetic issues and can usually be done in one visit to the chair. Composite is shaped around the existing tooth to improve its shape and length, or width, and then hardened using a UV light.
It is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t cause any harm to your teeth, making it a cheaper and less committed fix than crowns or veneers.
If that whitening toothpaste that nine out of ten dentists recommend isn’t doing what it promised, there is the option of veneers to guarantee that bright white smile. But they aren’t just for whitening your teeth, they can also reshape mishappen, crooked or chipped teeth.
Made up of a thin custom-made porcelain mould bonded to the front surface of your teeth, they can be customised to a natural white shade rather than the blinding white that makes you think you’re seeing God. They are also more durable and stain-resistant than composite bonding and offer a gentler approach than crowns due to its smaller amount of enamel used being considered just as strong.
They are fitted by taking off a thin layer of enamel of your natural tooth so that the veneer can be attached without affecting the size of your tooth. This treatment might involve a local anaesthetic as a precaution, but it shouldn’t hurt. Using a mould impression of your mouth, the dentist will craft a veneer to perfectly fit your teeth, before attaching the veneer to your teeth and adjusting it as needed, and then securing it.
If you are thinking of improving your smile, consider any one of these treatments which range in commitment and price. But be sure to consult your dentist for a final decision.