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Cosmetic Dentistry


A smile can be the most eye-catching feature of a face. With dentistry's many advances, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, misshapen teeth, or gaps between your teeth. Advances in dentistry give you choices that can help you smile with confidence.

Even the most subtle change in your smile can make a dramatic difference in the way you look and feel about yourself. You can talk to dentists about the options most suitable for you, your expectations, and the dental fees involved.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Dentistry is no longer just a case of filling and extracting teeth. Nowadays, many people turn to cosmetic dentistry as a way of improving their appearance. This is similar to the use of cosmetic surgery or even a new hairstyle. The treatments can be used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include tooth-coloured fillings, teeth whitening, veneers, crowns, and bridges.

How do I choose an appropriate dentist?

It is very important that you select a dentist adequately trained and experienced in cosmetic dentistry. Our participating dentists are general and cosmetic dentists who are well trained and experienced in cosmetic dentistry.

Can I have white fillings?

For over 150 years standard fillings have been made out of a silvery-grey material called 'amalgam'. This is still one of the strongest and longest-lasting materials available for fillings. However, many people find it unattractive and some are concerned about possible health risks.

White fillings are now becoming a popular alternative to amalgam fillings. The new dental materials mean it is much easier to find a perfect match for the shade of a particular tooth. In most cases, it is quite impossible to see that the tooth even has a filling.

Can I lighten the colour of my teeth?

Years of drinking coffee, tea, cola, red wine, or smoking eventually takes their toll on teeth. The results are dull, yellowish-colored teeth. Some teeth may have darker grey-coloured stains due to antibiotics. Most teeth will benefit from teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is a proven safe and effective way to brighten stained, discolored teeth.

What does teeth whitening involve?

Professional bleaching is the most common form of teeth whitening.

A dentist will prepare a specially made tray which fits into your mouth and over your teeth like a mouthguard. You then insert the whitening gel in the trays and fit them over your teeth.

The 'active ingredient' in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.

How long does teeth whitening take?

The total treatment can usually be done within three to four weeks. This means regularly applying the whitening product at home over two to four weeks for 30 minutes to one hour at a time.

However, there are some new products which can be applied for up to eight hours at a time. This means a satisfactory result can be achieved in as little as one week.

What other teeth whitening procedures are there?

There is now laser whitening or 'power whitening'. During this treatment a light or laser is shone on the teeth to activate the chemical. The light speeds up the chemical reaction of the whitening product and the colour change can be achieved more quickly. Laser whitening can make teeth up to five or six shades lighter. This procedure usually takes about one hour.

What can I do with a badly broken tooth?

Dentists may need to crown or 'cap' it to restore its appearance and strength when a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled.

How does the dentist make a crown?

The usual procedure for fitting a crown involves shaping the tooth and then taking an impression using a rubber-like material. The impression is then sent to the laboratory along with the details of the shade to be used. A laboratory technician then makes the crown.

What happens while the crown is being made?

The prepared tooth can be protected with a temporary crown which is easily removed just before fitting the permanent one. The temporary crown is in place for about two weeks in most cases.

What is a crown made of?

Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. New materials are continually being introduced. There are different crowns for different situations and it is a good idea to discuss with our a dentist which crown would be best for you.

I have a gap - should I have it closed?

If a tooth is missing, or needs extracting, there are several ways to fill the gap that is left. In some cases it is important to try to replace any missing teeth in order to balance the way your jaw bites. If you have several missing teeth, the remaining teeth are under more pressure, which can lead to broken fillings or even jaw problems.

How can my dentist fill the gap?

A partial denture is the simplest way of replacing missing teeth. However, some people find dentures uncomfortable and eventually decide to have a bridge made.

What is a bridge?

Bridges are ideal for people who don't like dentures or only have one or two teeth missing. Conventional bridges are made by crowning the teeth on either side of the gap and attaching a false tooth in the middle. They are fixed in the same way as crowns. These bridges are usually made of precious metal bonded to porcelain. Sometimes other non-precious metals are used in the base for strength.

What if I don't want my remaining teeth drilled?

Adhesive bridges are another way of bridging a gap and less of the tooth needs removing. These bridges are made up of a false tooth with metal 'wings' on either side. These wings are made to bond to the teeth on either side with very little drilling of these teeth. The teeth are roughened and the bridge is fitted using a very strong composite resin.

Can I have teeth screwed in?

Implants are an alternative to dentures or bridgework, but they are more expensive. Implants are titanium rods, which are surgically placed into the jawbone leaving parts sticking out through the gum. These act as anchors for fastening dentures or crowns onto.

What is an incorrect bite?

This is when the teeth do not fit in the jaw properly - the teeth are not in the correct relationship with the rest of the face or if teeth are missing and not replaced.

What can happen if an incorrect bite is not treated?

If an incorrect bite is not treated the face can 'collapse'. This can cause the face to sag, the chin to stick out or the smile to droop. It can even cause headaches, neck pain and other pains in the body.

How can an incorrect bite be treated?

There are a number of treatments, including crowns, bonding and orthodontics (braces). Ask our participating dentists which treatment is most suitable for you. A dentist will give you an estimate of the fees and a written treatment plan before you start.

Can my crooked teeth or twisted teeth be straightened?

Teeth can be straightened with orthodontics (braces). This is usually done during the teenage years when the teeth are going through a period of growth. However, many adults also have treatment to straighten their crooked teeth or to improve their appearance. The procedure can take much longer in adults and may therefore be more expensive.

Are there any alternatives to orthodontics?

Cosmetic contouring can be used to improve the appearance of teeth. It is ideal if you have slightly crowded teeth. It takes about one hour and is less expensive than other forms of cosmetic treatment. It is not recommended for young children.

What is a veneer?

Veneers are thin slices of porcelain. These are precisely made to fit over the visible surface of front teeth like a false fingernail fits over a nail.

Why might I have a veneer?

Veneers are an ideal way of treating discoloured or unsightly teeth, closing gaps between front teeth, or repairing chips and cracks.

How are veneers made?

They are made by a dental technician using impressions taken by our participating dentists. The veneers are made in the laboratory and bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural-looking repair. Sometimes a natural colour 'composite' material is used instead of porcelain. Composite veneers can be completed in one visit and involve bonding tooth-coloured filling material to the front of the tooth.

Can I use veneers to close the gaps between my teeth?

Yes. Again, using tooth-coloured material or porcelain, our participating dentists can change the shape or size of the tooth very slightly, closing the gap between the teeth.

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