Cosmetic or Aesthetic Dentistry | Dental Treatment Guide

In todays society many people desire the perfect "Hollywood smile" with glistening, straight white teeth. This longing has led to a great increase in the popularity of cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry procedures. Undergoing such procedures can really improve not only the appearance of your teeth, but also your self-confidence.

Cosmetic dentistry differs from regular dentistry as it is primarily aimed at improving the aesthetics of your teeth as opposed to checking the health of them. There are a number of different treatments available, which vary to accommodate the needs of each individual who walk through the dentist's doors. These procedures are often aimed at whitening, straightening or even reshaping teeth.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are commonly made out of porcelain but can also be found made out of substances such as plastic. The dental veneers are extremely thin layers that are custom designed to perfectly fit your individual teeth to improve their appearance. The veneer covers the entire tooth from gum to edge and you are completely involved in the decision making as to how many veneers are applied and on which teeth.

Porcelain veneers are available to give teeth a much whiter and brighter colour. It can even improve the appearance of teeth that are extremely discoloured, uneven, oddly shaped and cracked teeth. This breadth of tooth problems that can be resolved with porcelain veneers means that they are an extremely versatile method of improving appearance whilst looking natural and being comfortable. The veneers are also rather simple for a good dentist to apply and you are practically guaranteed to leave with the results you desire.

Tooth Straightening

The most common method by which cosmetic dentist straighten teeth is by using dental braces. These braces can be either visible or invisible and can act on any number of your teeth. The procedure of tooth straightening is common practice both aesthetically and functionally. Although tooth straightening with braces is most commonly associated with children and teenagers, it is actually very common throughout people of many ages.

Previously, adults seemed reluctant to subject themselves to getting a brace to straighten their teeth due to the appearance of the actual braces during the straightening process. However, these days it is now possible to get braces that are invisible so people can't even tell that you have got any on.

There are some limitations as to who can actually get braces. If you suffer from loose teeth, inflamed gums, caries, excessive crowns or enamel deficiency then a dentist may be reluctant to apply braces. If you are really desperate to get braces to straighten your teeth but suffer from one of the conditions listed then you may be required to undergo corrective procedures prior to obtaining braces.

Teeth Whitening

The teeth whitening procedure is also known as teeth bleaching. The name of the procedure accurately describes what it does at it really is just a method of cosmetic dentistry designed to whiten your teeth. The extent of whitening is highly dependent on the starting condition of your teeth but it has been noted that teeth that are more yellow/brown become significantly whiter than grey/blue. Those who have teeth that have been significantly discoloured as a result of medications or possibly genetics will require treatment over a longer period of time.

If you are pregnant or breast feeding, you should not undergo cosmetic teeth whitening. This is because the bleach that is used in the process may have side effects on the baby, however nothing has yet been scientifically proven. You may also not be a suitable candidate for teeth whitening if you experience sharp tooth pain or have thin enamel. This is due to the whitening process potentially having adverse effects such as an increase in pain.

Discolouration is a common problem with those who smoke. However, heavy smokers who undergo teeth whitening will not leave with the optimal results due to the deep set staining due to the tobacco. In order to get better results, you should quit smoking prior to undergoing the whitening treatment.

Dental Crowns

The crown of a tooth is the part that you can see extruding from the gum. In the middle of each tooth is the pulp and cavity. This area is softer than the rest of the tooth and is filled with blood vessels and nerves. This area can be eroded by tooth brushing and certain food or drink and so many people seek out a dental crown to restore the tooth. This dental crown is most commonly composed of porcelain as it is strong and has a nice, natural colour. They are generally used as a last resort due to regular tooth fillings or dental veneers being insufficient to fix the problems and damage. The general cost of each crown in the UK is between £300 to £1000, although it is possible to get your crown funded by the NHS.

The dental crown is moulded to each individual tooth and is positioned like a cover over the top of the tooth in question. However, if your own natural crown is too damaged to sufficiently support the dental crown then is may be necessary to employ tacks to fasten the dental crown to the root of the tooth. Alternatively, if the damage is too excessive even for this then the tooth may have to be completely removed and replaced with an implant or bridge.

If you would like a dental crown, be aware that the process involves at least two trips to the dentist. Your first visit will comprise of the teeth requiring crowns being filed down and having imprints made. The colour of the tooth is analysed so the crown can match and look natural and then the dentist may attach a temporary crown. Upon your second visit you will be presented with the crown that has been generated using your tooth imprint in a laboratory. The dentist will then fit it appropriately and inform you as to how to look after it properly. If you follow the dentist's guidelines then your crown should last for a minimum of 15 years.

Dental Implants

The cosmetic dental procedure of dental implants is sometimes called tooth replacement. It is a method by which missing teeth are replaced by synthetic implants that replicate a normal tooth in both appearance and function. It is a permanent procedure and can greatly improve the life of the patient.

The implant itself is primarily a titanium root that is attached to the jaw. Once in position, the implant grows into an appropriate position and supplies a base for the attachment of the prosthetic tooth. This tooth is fixed in place and acts as a normal, natural tooth.

The cost of dental implants can cost between £800 and £3000 per individual implant. You must note that the price can still be around this area even if the NHS is funding your implants. There is also another issue to take into account, and that is the minimum age is about 18 years old.