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This is a young university female student who was very unhappy with the appearance of her teeth. The white spots started to appear during her orthodontic treatment. This happens when teeth with braces aren’t cleaned very well, leaving a lot of bacteria growing around the braces. The white areas are acid-damaged enamel, the acid being produced by the bacteria on the teeth. The yellow areas are the natural colour of her teeth. She wanted a simple solution, to have a brighter and more even smile.

After examination and discussions with her, we decided that a three-step approach was needed, with Enamel Microabrasion, Aesthetic Contouring and, finally, Tooth Whitening to produce the most pleasing result for the least effort and cost.

When is Enamel Microabrasion performed?

Many people have discoloured enamel – usually white spots or patches, but it can be yellow/brown areas – on the surface of the tooth, like a coat of paint. In this case, acid damaged enamel was the cause, but genetics would be the most common cause for other people. Enamel Microabrasion helps to improve the appearance of these teeth by polishing off the superficial discolourations.

What is Enamel Microabrasion?

Enamel Microabrasion is the delicate, precise, harmless and painless removal of a very, very thin layer of discoloured enamel to produce a more evenly-coloured tooth surface.

What does the treatment procedure involve?

Depending on what is needed, Microabrasion can be performed alone or as part of a multi-step procedure. To achieve the best outcome, Microabrasion is performed first. This improves the surface of the teeth but not the shape. Quite commonly (but not always), Aesthetic Contouring is required as well to improve the shape of the teeth. Finally, Tooth Whitening may be required at some point to enhance the final result, if the patient’s natural tooth colour is too dark. Microabrasion done to a high standard is completely painless and harmless with no local anaesthetic required. The teeth become smoother, stronger and more aesthetically pleasing

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Is there any after care following Enamel Microabrasion?

The patient is encouraged to use Tooth Mousse, which is rich in minerals (the ‘building blocks’ of teeth). There is a short window of opportunity after the Microabrasion for these minerals to penetrate the enamel more easily and strengthen it. For the rest of that day, drinking plain water or plain milk is fine, however, anything else should be through a straw as the teeth can stain easily during this time. The next day the teeth are back to normal.

Limitations of enamel Microabrasion?

Enamel Microabrasion can dramatically enhance a person’s smile by harmonising the tooth colour. It always works, however, it cannot always completely eliminate white/yellow/brown areas where the discolouration is more deeply ingrained. There is no way of knowing precisely how deep the discolouration goes and therefore how much improvement there will be. It will at least reduce the size of the ingrained area and so the appearance will always be better. Enamel Microabrasion is a very conservative and superficial procedure and does not harm the enamel. Removing deeper discolouration would damage the enamel and require a filling to repair the damage.

How long do the results last?

Enamel Microabrasion is permanent. The discoloured enamel doesn’t come back.

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