What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Dentistry is no longer just a case of filling and taking out teeth. Nowadays many people turn to cosmetic dentistry, or ‘aesthetic dentistry’, as a way of improving their appearance. They do this in the same way they might use cosmetic surgery or even a new hairstyle. The treatments can be used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges, tooth-coloured fillings, implants and tooth whitening.
Teeth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it may lighten the existing shade.
Why would I need my teeth whitened?
There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discoloured as we get older.
Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and curries. Smoking can also stain teeth.
‘Calculus’ or tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or by tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.
What does tooth whitening involve?
Only a dental office can provide the teeth whitening treatment. It is highly UNSAFE and ILLEGAL for other agencies such as beauty salons to whiten your teeth. Your dental team will be able to tell you if you are suitable for the treatment, and will supervise it if you are.
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 this take?
The total treatment can usually be done within two to three weeks. In general, we create custom fitting trays for your teeth and provide you with the active ingredient for you to carry out the procedure at home
What other procedures are there?
There is now laser whitening or ‘power whitening’. During this procedure a rubber dam is put over your teeth to protect the gums, and the whitening product is painted onto your teeth. Then a light or laser is shone on the teeth to activate the chemical. The light speeds up the reaction of the whitening product and the colour change can be achieved more quickly.
How long will my teeth stay whiter?
The effects of whitening usually last up to two years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. You can always do ‘touch-up’ sessions to prolong the result without having to do the whole treatment process again.
What are the side effects?
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.
What about home whitening kits?
There are many home whitening kits available, including paint-on whiteners and strips. How effective these are depends on the amount of whitening agent they contain.
In general, the products are not tested clinically and regulated. Some contain an acidic rinse that will certainly damage your teeth and are not safe
What about whitening toothpastes?
There are several whitening toothpastes on the market. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining. Therefore, they may improve the overall appearance of your teeth. Whitening toothpastes may also help the effect to last, once your teeth have been professionally whitened.
Can a single tooth which has had root canal treatment be whitened?
Yes. Sometimes dead teeth go discoloured after a root filling. If the tooth has been root treated, the canal (which contained the nerve) may be reopened. The whitening product is applied from the inside to whiten the tooth.
When might tooth whitening not work?
Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. Also it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any types of fillings, dentures, crowns or veneers.
Porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.
Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth.
Veneers are routinely used to fix:
- Teeth that are discolored — either because of root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
- Teeth that are worn down
- Teeth that are chipped or broken
- Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)
- Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)
Veneers offer the following advantages:
- They provide a natural tooth appearance.
- Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.
- Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.
- The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.
- Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s colour and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.
Disadvantages of Dental Veneers?
- The process is not reversible.
- Veneers are more costly than composite resin bonding.
- Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.
- Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.
- Veneers may not exactly match the color of your other teeth. Also, the veneer’s color cannot be altered once in place. If you plan on whitening your teeth, you need to do so before getting veneers.
- Though not likely, veneers can dislodge and fall off. To minimize the chance of this occurring, do not bite your nails; chew on pencils, ice, or other hard objects; or otherwise put excessive pressure on your teeth.
- Teeth with veneers can still experience decay, possibly necessitating full coverage of the tooth with a crown.
- Veneers are not a good choice for individuals with unhealthy teeth (for example, those with decay or active gum disease), weakened teeth (as a result of decay, fracture, large dental fillings), or for those who have an inadequate amount of existing enamel on the tooth surface.
- Individuals who clench and grind their teeth are poor candidates for porcelain veneers, as these activities can cause the veneers to crack or chip.
How long do they normally last?
Veneers generally last between 5 to 12 years. After this time, the veneers may need to be replaced.
Are There Alternatives to Dental Veneers?
Yes, alternatives to veneers include bondings and crowns. Veneers offer a nice intermediate option. Veneers may be best suited for individuals who want to change the shape of their teeth more than just a little bit — as is done with bonding — but not enough to require a crown.
COSMETIC CLEAR BRACES
Clear Braces utilises a clear removable cosmetic appliance (aligners) designed to straighten your front 6-8 teeth. The technology can straighten teeth that are crowded, rotated, tilted forward or backwards using exact impressions.
In some cases, you will be able to see the results before you start using simulations and, once the result is approved, the custom-made braces are fabricated using the latest in 3D printing technology.
This concept has proved particularly successful in many clinical cases of adult treatment. It ensures optimal treatment results, combined with a high-level of comfort and aesthetics
Other people will hardly notice you are wearing an aligner because the braces is transparent and smooth, without any brackets or metal components.
You can enjoy laughing, smiling and normal interactions without the worries normally associated with the more obvious fixed braces.
When eating or cleaning your teeth or aligners, you can simply take them out – quick and easy, whenever you like.
Here are the steps from consultation to optimal treatment results.
- Consultation with the dentist.
A detailed assessment is essential to make sure you are a suitable candidate for clear braces and understand the alternative options.
Once you have decided to proceed with the treatment, impressions are taken and a simulation is produced to that you can see the final result on a 3D model and check that you are happy with the proposed result. Adjustments can be made if required.
- Clear Braces production.
The custom aligners are made to the highest standards using a combination of 3D printing and moulding.
We will regularly monitor the progress of the treatment. New impressions are taken after every few aligners to ensure that the treatment goals are met. Treatment normally lasts 6-24 months dependent on the amount of movements needed.
All braces treatment requires retainers to avoid a degree of relapse. It forms an important part of the treatment plan and must be followed to ensure the success of the result.