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Consensus Statement on Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are no longer a looming public health crisis, but a very real one. By working together, and acting now, we can prevent not only oral health damage, but obesity - a leading risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

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Are all teeth suitable for whitening?
Tooth whitening may be done on live teeth and teeth that have had root canal treatment. Before having your teeth whitened, your dentist will check to make sure your teeth are suitable for this treatment. In some cases treatment may be difficult or ineffective, for example with staining caused during tooth formation by certain antibiotics. Tooth whitening may make your old fillings or crowns look darker after treatment, so it is very important to be checked and advised of this before you proceed. Areas of your teeth may whiten at different rates depending on the location of the stain, hardness of the tooth and the intensity of the stain.

How do dentists whiten the teeth?
Tooth whitening can be done at home (using a customised tray system designed by your dentist) or in the dental office. Your dentist can provide a more effective tooth whitening system for use at home than the 'do-it-yourself' kits available at pharmacies.

The dentist takes an impression for a model of your teeth. A thin, custom fitted, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth is made. At home you place a whitening gel into the tray, and place the tray over your teeth. This is worn for up to two hours daily or at night. Results are usually seen after the first day, but maximum whitening may take 10-14 days. Your dentist will check on your progress.

Your dentist can also whiten your teeth at the dental office, using similar ingredients to the home use whitening. The whitening gel is applied to the tooth and may be activated with a special light for up to 20-30 minutes. Several repeat processes may be necessary.

What are dental implants?
Dental implants are small, cleverly engineered titanium screws about the size of a tooth root which are used to support the replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. An implant is like an artificial tooth root, and is placed into the jaw bone where a tooth has been lost. One or more implants can be used, depending on the size of the space left after teeth have been lost. After a time of healing (often a few months) an artificial tooth is attached to the implant.

This can be an excellent way of replacing a missing tooth or teeth, because other natural teeth are not involved in the treatment. Treatment takes between six to twelve months to complete. Not everyone has the right jaw structure for implants, and you will need to discuss this with your dentist to see if this is the right option for you.

What are veneers?
Veneers or laminates are thin, custom made ‘shells' permanently bonded to the front of your teeth.  They can transform teeth that are broken, chipped, stained, or have large gaps between them, and some crooked teeth as well. They are usually made of porcelain.

What are crowns and why are they used?
Crowns are tooth-shaped caps which fit over your teeth. Crowns can be used over heavily filled teeth, blackened or root-filled teeth. They can also be used cosmetically to improve the appearance of your front teeth. They are usually made of porcelain, and may have a gold or metal core for added strength.