What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is treatment which your dentist feels would improve your smile.
This can be done in many ways. Discuss your options with your dentist.
Bonding is among the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dental procedure. The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth. Most often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a discoloured or chipped tooth. This treatment is simple and invasive with immaculate results.
This is a way of rebuilding or reshaping an entire tooth. Even the most badly decayed tooth can often be restored by crowning to match other teeth.
A crown can be used to improve a tooth’s appearance. It is a good way to cover teeth which are decayed, discoloured or mis-shaped.
What will my dentist do?
Preparation for a crown is dependent on the type of crown required and the amount of tooth remaining.
If root treatment has been carried out then a post may need to be placed into the root canal.
Alternatively, the original tooth may be shaped, impressions will then be taken and then sent to the laboratory for the crowns to be made.
Temporary crowns are fitted in the meantime.
The permanent crowns are fitted by your dentist using dental cement.
Today modern veneers can transform your teeth from being stained, badly shaped or crooked to natural good looking teeth by placing a veneer on top.
Veneers are thin, custom made individual shells of natural tooth-coloured porcelain or composite that cover the front of the tooth.
It is necessary to remove a small amount of enamel to accommodate the veneer which usually makes this an irreversible process.
Crafted by a technician who works from an impression provided by your dentist, the veneer will match surrounding teeth to give a healthy natural appearance.
Veneers can sometimes be built up on the front of the tooth using composite (coloured filling material) by your dentist.
Veneers will need replacement throughout life however, for many people the dramatic improvements in appearance are worth it.
Replacement of missing teeth
Missing teeth may be replaced by dentures, bridgework or implants. Dentures are removable whilst bridgework is a way permanently fixing a new tooth to adjacent teeth. Dental implants are fixed to the jaw after removing compromised teeth and are the closest to the real thing but are costly and involve surgery.
Please ask to see photographs of case studies.
There are two types of removable dentures:
Full and partial.
A full denture is necessary if all the teeth are missing and a partial denture replaces individual missing teeth. Both types of denture can be made from plastic, sometimes with a metal framework.
What will my dentist do to make my dentures?
To begin with the dentist will take impressions using alginate, a soft putty which is loaded into specially shaped trays and then an impression is taken of the inside of your mouth. Once the alginate sets (not very long), it is removed and sent to a laboratory where wax models are made.
Further visits allow you and your dentist to make any adjustments which are necessary before the dentures are finished.
Occasionally you may need to have your new denture adjusted as your mouth becomes accustomed to it.
The benefits of dentures
Dentures can help your appearance, your speech and can improve your ability to chew certain kinds of foods.
Sometimes dentures can be fitted immediately after extractions. These will need early replacement whereas other dentures may last at least 5 years.
A bridge is a means of replacement for a tooth that is missing.
It is fixed to the natural teeth either side of the gap or occasionally it may be fitted to only one tooth.
Bridges can also be attached to dental implants (see page on dental implants).
Bridges are normally made of metal and porcelain or just porcelain.
What will my dentist do?
Initially the teeth either side of the gap will be shaped. An impression is taken and sent to a laboratory for casting.
These impressions are made into models which are then used by the technician to make your bridge.
Sometimes while the permanent bridge is being made, a temporary bridge is fitted.
The final stage is the fitting of the bridge which is done using dental cement.
The appearance of bridge work is usually excellent and avoids having to wear a partial denture.