Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just for celebrities and the wealthy
there’s now a wide variety of options that put a better smile within reach for millions of people.
So Is cosmetic dentistry right for you?
Here’s what you need to know before making the decision.
Cosmetic – or aesthetic – dentistry refers to any dental procedure carried out in order to improve the appearance of the teeth or smile. This kind of work is sometimes called a ‘smile makeover' or ‘Hollywood smile'.
It may include changes to:
- Tooth colour
- Position of teeth
- Shape and size of teeth
- Jaw alignment
- Gum line
- Overall appearance of the smile
Although the main focus is on aesthetics, many cosmetic procedures also serve to improve the functionality of the teeth and overall oral health, and in this regard there is some overlap with restorative dentistry. However, some non-reversible procedures cause lasting damage to tooth enamel. It's therefore important to discuss your chosen procedure with your dentist and understand exactly what it involves.
- Treatment with Dental Veneers
- Dental contouring
- Gum re-shaping
- Teeth implants
What are Veneers?
Veneers are a purely cosmetic treatment. If a tooth has been badly damaged from trauma or decay, a dental crown can be fitted to protect what is left of the tooth structure.
Types of Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-coloured covers which a dentist applies directly over existing teeth. They can be used to change the size and shape of teeth, cover surface flaws, close gaps between teeth, and change tooth colour.
You can get a veneer for a single problem tooth or for your entire set of front teeth, and each one is individually made for you.
A full set of veneers is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to get a complete smile makeover. However, a small amount of enamel has to be removed from each tooth in order to apply most types of veneer, and this makes the process non-reversible. When the original veneers fail (usually after 10-20 years), you'll need to replace them or get the teeth capped.
An alternative to porcelain veneers is Composite Veneers. The soft composite material is built up onto the tooth and then hardened in a process known as ‘bonding'. Composite is not as long-lasting and may not look as natural as porcelain, but it is more affordable.
Some companies also manufacture ‘snap-on veneers' which clip over the existing teeth to improve the appearance of the smile. These don't involve a visit to the dentist and are a cheap way to get an instant smile makeover, but they aren't always the best option.
If you require just subtle adjustments to the size, shape and height of your teeth, cosmetic contouring can be a cost-effective way to improve your smile.
The procedure will vary depending on your requirements. Dentists can polish out small chips and rough edges and re-shape pointy teeth with minimal discomfort to you. They may also file down teeth that are taller than their neighbours.
Composite bonding can be used to build up small or short teeth, repair chipped teeth, and even to fill gaps between teeth. When performed by a skilled dental technician, the results look completely natural.
Since the process is unique for each individual, you'll need to have a consultation to obtain a quote. The techniques used are relatively straightforward and there is no expensive lab work involved, so this can be an affordable way to rejuvenate your smile.
Our gums play a big part in our smile too.
Most people probably don't give much thought to the shape of their gums. However, if you are conscious of how yours look, there are ways to remedy the situation.
If your gums are uneven or cover too much of your teeth, giving you a ‘gummy' smile, your dentist can cut back the gum tissue using a laser or scalpel. This simple procedure can make a big difference to the appearance of your smile.
On the other hand, you may be suffering from receding gums. This can happen because of a medical condition such as gum disease, or as a side-effect of some medications.
If your gums recede too far your teeth may become loose and even fall out, and you'll be at increased risk of periodontal infection. In this case, a dentist or periodontist can graft gum tissue to restore your gums to a healthy condition.
Gum contouring and grafting is usually done under local anaesthetic
If you have one or more teeth missing you are probably keen to replace them – especially if you have gaps in a very noticeable position.
Dental implants are strong, durable and designed to look like natural teeth. The implant is inserted into your jawbone then a tooth crown is attached with an abutment. They can last 10-15 years or more if you look after them well.
If you have several teeth in a row that need to be replaced then an implant-supported bridge may be an option. An implant at either end can support a bridge of three or four teeth, which works out cheaper than three or four individual implants.
To replace a full mouth of teeth, implant-supported dentures such as All-on-4 are the most affordable option.
Read our dental implants services if you want to learn more about replacing your teeth this way. You'll find a lot more information on how implants work, how much they cost, and what you can expect from the procedure.
From subtle changes to major oral surgery, there are a host of cosmetic dentistry techniques that can treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshapen, or missing.