Cosmetic dental treatment.
Nowadays many people turn to cosmetic 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.
Let’s see some examples of cosmetic surgery:
Veneers are thin slices of porcelain. These are precisely made to fit over the visible surface of your front teeth, like a false fingernail fits over a nail.
A small amount of enamel is removed from the tooth, usually the same thickness as the veneer will be. The dental team take an impression and send it to a dental technician, who makes the veneer in a laboratory. The veneer is then bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural-looking repair.
Crown When a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled, the dentist may need to crown or ‘cap’ it to restore its appearance and strength. The usual method for fitting a crown involves shaping the tooth under local anaesthetic 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, and the technician makes the crown. While your crown is being made, the prepared tooth can be protected with a temporary crown.
Cosmetic dental care.
This is easily removed just before fitting the permanent one. In most cases, the temporary crown is in place for about two weeks. Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials, such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. New materials are continually being introduced. It is a good idea to talk to your dental team about which crown would be best for you.
Fill a gap If a tooth is missing, there are several ways to fill the gap that is left. In some cases it is important to try to replace any missing teeth to balance the way your jaw bites. If you have several missing teeth, the remaining teeth are under more pressure. This can lead to broken fillings or even jaw problems.
Bridges A partial denture is the simplest way to replace missing teeth. However, some people find dentures uncomfortable and eventually decide to look at alternatives, such as bridges or implants.
Bridges are ideal for people who don’t like dentures and only have a few teeth missing. Bridges are usually made by putting a crown on the teeth on either side of the gap and attaching a false tooth in the middle. The bridge can’t be removed. These bridges are usually made of porcelain. Sometimes other non-precious metals are used in the base to give it extra strength.
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 needed. Instead, the teeth are roughened and the bridge is fitted using a very strong composite resin.
Implants are an alternative to dentures and bridges, but they are more expensive. Implants are titanium rods which are surgically placed into the jawbone and act as anchors for fastening dentures or crowns onto.
Tooth whitening can be a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it should lighten the existing shade.
Professional bleaching is the most common form of tooth whitening.
Your dental team will apply the whitening product to your teeth, using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a mouthguard.
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. Once your dental team has started this treatment you may be given the trays to take home and continue the treatment, or you may need more appointments with the team. This treatment can take around 3 to 4 weeks, depending on how long you keep the trays in your mouth each time, and how much whiter you want your teeth to be.
Cosmetic dental surgery. The larg field.
It is important to remember that only natural teeth will be whitened, and that any crowns, bridges or dentures you have will stay the same shade.
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 shade change can be achieved more quickly. Laser whitening can make teeth up to five or six shades lighter. This treatment usually takes about one hour and you must be seen by a qualified dentist before starting treatment.