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Cosmetic Dentistry – Find The Best Clinics in UK
What does Cosmetic Dentistry offer?
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.
What are veneers?
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!
Why would I need a veneer?
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.
How do they make veneers?
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.
How easy is it to get a white filling?
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.
What can be done for a badly broken tooth?
If a tooth has broken or been filled, your dentist might crown or 'cap' it to restore its look and strength.
How is a crown made?
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.
What happens while the crown is being made for me?
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.
What will my crown made of?
A variety of different materials are used such as porcelain and even porcelain bonded to gold. New materials are being introduced all the time. Talk to your dental team about what would be best for you.
How can a gap in my teeth be filled?
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.
What is meant by a bridge?
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.
What if I don't want my other teeth drilled?
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.
What about implants to replace missing teeth?
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.
Can I make my teeth whiter?
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.
What will whitening my teeth involve?
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.
Are there other tooth whitening methods?
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.
What about using a home whitening kit?
There are many available, including whitener paint-ons and strips. The amount of whitening agent each product contains will determine the result. Regulations vary from country to country and some products are not effective. Always ask your dental team before trying a home whitening kit.
What is meant by an 'incorrect bite'?
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.
What will happen if this is not corrected?
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.
What is the treatment for this?
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.
I have crooked and twisted teeth - can they be straightened?
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 mouthguard) to wear all day to gradually move your teeth into position.
What is the alternative to orthodontics?
Cosmetic contouring is used to improve appearance and is ideal for those with irregular-shaped or crowded teeth.
Contouring will mean that a small amount of enamel will be sacrificed. Contouring will improve the shape and appearance of your gums too. This kind of cosmetic dentistry treatment is not recommended for children.
What is meant by tooth jewellery?
Tooth jewellery is the sticking of small jewels onto the teeth using dental cement. This should only be done by a dentist, who will also remove them if necessary. It is important to be very careful of the area around the jewel, keeping it very clean, because plaque will build up around it and could leave you more susceptible to tooth decay.