Thinking about improving your smile? There are many ways to do this, thanks to the art and science of cosmetic dentistry.
The first step is to have a complete examination to determine what improvements can be made to your smile. Then you can consider a range of options, which might include teeth whitening, veneers, dental crowns, Cerec/composite fillings and orthodontics.
Teeth whitening is a simple and effective way to make immediate improvements to your smile. First you have your teeth cleaned to remove the daily stains. Then you can choose from two processes: at-home teeth whitening or in-chair teeth whitening.
With at-home whitening, impressions are taken of your teeth and from these a set of customised bleach trays is created. Over a period of 10 to 14 days you wear these trays filled with whitening solution and your teeth will gradually whiten. This is a gentle way to whiten teeth and can be used regularly to keep the brightness maintained.
In-chair whitening is done in a 90-minute period. A whitening solution is applied to your teeth and a specialised light is used to accelerate the whitening process. This will give you immediate results. You can also opt to add an at-home kit to keep the brightness maintained for longer.
A veneer is a very thin layer of porcelain or composite resin that is placed over the front of the tooth. Dental veneers are used to change the colour and/or shape of the teeth, to make the teeth match better and to make a smile more even.
A single veneer can be used to help a mismatched tooth blend better with the rest of the teeth in terms of colour and/or shape, or multiple veneers can also be used to achieve a complete cosmetic change.
Veneers are most commonly used on the front teeth as these are the most visible when we smile.
A dental crown, also known as a cap, normally involves the complete coverage of a tooth. Dental crowns can also be joined together to form a bridge, which is used where teeth are missing. The purpose of a dental crown is not only cosmetic; it also restores the health and function of the bite.
Dental crowns can be made of pure porcelain, porcelain with some metal inside, or pure gold. In cosmetic dentistry nowadays, pure porcelain crowns are the most often used.
Crowns are normally used when a tooth/teeth are broken down, missing or previously heavily restored. Crowns are often used on the posterior teeth, where the bite is much stronger and needs a full coverage for strength. They are used on the front teeth where a tooth is heavily restored, where the tooth needs a major change in position/shape or where gaps between teeth need to be filled.
Dental crowns are also a good option to replace a very large amalgam (silver) filling, immediately making a great cosmetic improvement and strengthening the tooth at the same time.
Sometimes dental implants with crowns are required where a tooth is missing. Implants are made of titanium and inserted into the jawbone. A crown is then placed on top of the implant to replace the missing tooth.
Cerec and Composite Fillings
Fillings can be made from composite resin or porcelain. They are used to improve the cosmetics of the smile as well as deal with any dental disease and tend to be used where the tooth requires a smaller restoration or a small cosmetic change.
Placing composite resin fillings is a very common procedure. The filling material is made of tooth-coloured resin and is bonded to your tooth. The filling is done in one visit and leaves much of the natural tooth in position.
Cerec fillings are normally made of porcelain and also completed in one visit. This type of filling is used where a much larger restoration is required. Cerec fillings are bonded to the tooth surface and can give the tooth a great improvement in strength and look.
Both of these fillings are matched to your tooth colour and restore the health, shape and aesthetics of the tooth.
Sometimes teeth need to be straightened in order to make a cosmetic improvement. We can use veneers, dental crowns and fillings to make subtle changes in position but if the teeth are severely out of position the only way to get a great result is through orthodontic treatment with a specialist orthodontist.
This treatment can involve Invisalign or braces. The Invisalign treatment is hard for other people to detect and is a great way to straighten your teeth discreetly. Tooth-coloured braces are also popular.
Cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile markedly. Often it involves a mixture of the above options to achieve optimal results. If you are considering any of these procedures, seek a full consultation and diagnosis to determine what is best for you.