Enamel: Healthy gums make for a happy smile
Stepping into Enamel Dental Clinic, we were pleasantly surprised by the size of the practice. Initially, we thought we’d merely be getting a quick teeth whitening treatment, but co-founder, Prof. Howard Gluckman was kind enough to give us a quick pre-treatment tour, including a quick meet and greet with his business parter, Dr. Mark Bowes. Honestly, our experience at Enamel had us lingering in awe.
We did not know it at the time, but before getting a teeth whitening treatment at the state-of-the-art practice in De Waterkant, Cape Town, our oral hygiene had to pass certain criteria. According to Prof. Gluckman one must be careful of gum disease, which is what the teeth whitening hygienist checked before embarking on the whitening process.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease consists of a group of oral diseases that affect the gums and the bone surrounding your teeth. The first type of gum disease is gingivitis – the most common disease in the human body – which only affects the gums. The second, periodontitis, could follow if gingivitis is not treated and this could involve the destruction of the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place.
Gingivitis presents swollen and bleeding gums when brushed or flossed. By improving the plaque removal, the gums return to normal with no permanent damage.
On the other hand, signs of periodontitis include bleeding gums, mobile teeth due to loss of bone, gum recession, temperature sensitivity, bad breath, drifting teeth and loss of gum between the teeth which eventually results in dark triangles. This disease is often identified too late, since it is painless and the symptoms only appear later.
Periodontitis has been linked to various systemic diseases like heart disease, low birth weight and preterm babies, as well as pneumonia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and stroke. That’s why it is so important to keep to your six-monthly or annual dental check-ups.
In the clear? Get the clean!
Lucky for us, we were in the clear, which meant we could get the teeth whitening treatment after all. We were made as comfortable as possible in the oral hygienist, Stephanie Kumalo’s chair – complete with an electric foot massaging machine! Then she ensured that the bleach does not move onto more sensitive areas and away from the teeth, carefully applying the whitening solution to the teeth. The whitening process is not a permanent solution to teeth discolouration (which can happen due to various reasons – both extrinsic and intrinsic). Doing the whitening in the chair is quick and efficient, and while it’s not always as comfortable as one would wish, it is still worth it. Depending on the type of discolouration, the whitening process could take up to 90 minutes to complete and you might only really see the brilliance shine through the day after.
For someone who has a fear of dentists, Enamel Dental Clinic might be a good place to stand up to that fear.