From cosmetic bonding to cosmetic dental surgery
The term ‘cosmetic dentistry’ refers to dentistry that is aimed at creating a positive change to the teeth and the smile. Veneers or tooth whitening are probably the most common procedures we think of when cosmetic dentistry is mentioned, but it is a fact that a cosmetic dentist can offer much more. Cosmetic dental surgery includes procedures such as bridges, crowns and tooth-coloured fillings. A cosmetic dentist will offer cosmetic bonding as well as implant surgery and this procedure is becoming ever more popular.
Veneers are really just very thin slithers of porcelain. These are precisely fitted over the surface of your front teeth. Think of a false fingernail, cosmetic dentistry style!
- Veneers can be a great solution for disguising discoloured teeth or for closing a gap between your front teeth, or for compensating for chips or cracks.
- Firstly a tiny amount of enamel will be removed from your tooth, of the same thickness as the veneer is going to be. The cosmetic dentistry team will take an impression and then send it to a dental technician in a laboratory who will make the veneer. For strong and natural-looking repair, the veneer will then be bonded to the tooth.
- For over 150 years fillings were made out of material that is silvery-grey, called ‘amalgam’ and that was because it was thought to be one of the strongest and most durable materials for fillings. However, there was concern about some possible health risks and a lot of people thought they were unsightly.White fillings are now a common and welcome alternative to traditional amalgam fillings. New dental materials make it a lot simpler to find a perfect match to the shade of any tooth. In most cases, it would be impossible to see them and they cover up unsightly marks on your teeth, as veneers do.
- If a tooth has broken or been filled, your dentist might crown or ‘cap’ it to restore its look and strength.
- Fitting a crown usually involves shaping the tooth. The patient has local anaesthetic and an impression is taken using a rubbery material. The laboratory receives the impression with the details of the shade, from which the technician will make the crown.
- While the crown is being made, the tooth will be protected with a temporary crown. This will come off easily just before the permanent one is fitted. The temporary crown will be in place for about two weeks.
- For a missing tooth or where one has been taken out there are several ways that cosmetic dentistry can fill the gap. In some cases it is especially important to replace missing teeth to balance the bite of the jaw. Where several teeth are missing, the remaining teeth are put under additional pressure leaving potential for broken fillings or even problems with the jaw.The simplest way to replace missing teeth is with a partial denture although people find dentures uncomfortable and might look at alternatives, such as bridges or even implants.
- Bridges are a great solution for those who don’t like dentures and don’t have many missing teeth. Crowns are placed on the teeth on each side of the gap with a false tooth placed in the middle. The bridge is not removable. Bridges normally consist of precious metal that is bonded to porcelain. Other non-precious metals are sometimes used for extra strength.
- Adhesive bridges mean that less of the tooth needs to be removed. This kind of bridge is basically a false tooth with two metal ‘wings’ on each side. The wings bond to the teeth on each side, so that very little drilling is needed. Instead, the tooth surface will be roughened and the bridge fitted with a very strong composite resin.
- Implants can be a very good alternative to dentures or bridges, but will be more expensive. Implants are titanium rods, surgically placed into the jawbone to act as an anchor to fasten dentures or crowns on to.
- Yes, tooth whitening is a very effective way of whitening your teeth without the need to remove tooth surfaces. It will not achieve a complete colour change, but will lighten an existing shade.
- The most common form of tooth whitening is professional bleaching. For this a whitening product will be applied to your teeth, using a specially made tray that fits into your mouth just as a mouthguard would. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are the active ingredients of the product and as this active ingredient is broken down, oxygen penetrates the enamel on the teeth making them lighter. After the dentist has started your treatment you will be able to continue the treatment at home using the same trays or you could have more appointments with the dental team. This treatment will take around three to four weeks, and the length of time that you keep the trays in your mouth will depend on how much whiter you want your teeth. It is only possible to lighten natural teeth and any crowns, bridges or dentures will not change in colour.
- Laser whitening or ‘power whitening’ is now available. This treatment involves a light or laser being shone on the teeth in order to activate the chemical. The light will speed up the chemical reaction and the shade alteration will be achieved more quickly. Laser whitening will achieve tooth whitening of about5 or 6 shades. Treatment will take about an hour and must only be undertaken by a dental team.
- This means that the teeth do not meet properly or are not balanced with the rest of the face, or the term could be used if teeth have been lost and not replaced.
- If an incorrect bite is not treated then the face structure may ‘collapse’. The face might sag, the chin protrude or the smile droop giving rise to headaches, neck ache and pain in other areas.
- Crowns, veneers and braces (orthodontics) are the usual cosmetic dentistry treatments. Ask which treatment is going to be most suitable for you – an estimate of the cost and written treatment plan before you commence any treatment.
- With orthodontics (braces), they can. This is usually carried out in the teenage years, when the jaws are still growing. Adults also have straightening treatment for crooked teeth or to enhance their appearance. The cosmetic dentistry treatment usually will take longer for adults and will be more expensive.There are clear or plastic braces, that are hardly noticeable and your dental team will let you know about there and if you are a suitable candidate for them. There are also ‘invisible’ braces where you will be made a series of clear plastic shields (like a mouth guard) to wear all day to gradually move your teeth into position.