Cosmetic Dentistry

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is the ultimate mixture of art and dental science. These procedures aim to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing smiles, utilising the latest restorative techniques and materials.

Some of our techniques are teeth whitening, tooth bonding, porcelain veneers, crowns and bridge and gum lifts.

What is Tooth Bonding?

Tooth bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-coloured resin is “stuck” or “bonded” to the surface of a tooth. The resin material is moulded into shape and set hard by the Dentist shining a special white light on it.

When done carefully, the final result is excellent and is indistinguishable from the normal tooth. The procedure is quite conservative and requires little or no drilling.

Tooth bonding can be used to correct a number of cosmetic dental problems including chipped front teeth, stained or heavily filled front teeth. It can also be used to close up small gaps between front teeth and improve the appearance of slightly crooked ones.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin shells of tooth – coloured porcelain that are bonded onto the front surface of the tooth. The tooth surface is treated with a special conditioner and then the porcelain veneer is bonded using adhesive material. The porcelain surface will be more durable and will require less maintenance compared to the resin bonding.

Crowns

A crown is a covering that goes completely around a tooth. They can be made from various materials but usually from pure porcelain that is fused to a metal substructure, often gold or from porcelain only.

Crowns are used to support a tooth and decrease the tooth’s chances of fracturing. This is especially true when a tooth has been heavily filled or root filled and the remaining tooth is weak or there is not enough tooth structure left to hold in a filling. Crowns are also used for aesthetic reasons when we need to change the shape or colour of a tooth.

The length of time it takes to prepare a tooth for a crown depends on the difficulty of the situation. Usually a minimum of one hour is required in the dental chair. An impression (mould) is taken of the prepared tooth and sent to a Dental Technician who takes approximately two weeks to construct the crown. A temporary crown is made of plastic and is placed on the tooth for this time, so that you can eat properly and the tooth looks normal.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to cement in the new crown on the next visit.

Generally a crown fails not because there is something wrong with the crown, but usually due to decay in the tooth around the crown or the rest of the mouth changes (such as teeth get darker, but crown stays the same) and this makes the crown stand out or the gum recedes around the crown.

The average life span of a crown is approximately 10-15 years, if the supporting tooth stays healthy. It is important though that you maintain regular dental check ups over this time, because if something starts going wrong with the crown it can more easily be corrected at an early stage.

Crowns are used to support a tooth and decrease the tooth’s chances of fracturing. This is especially true when a tooth has been heavily filled or root filled and the remaining tooth is weak or there is not enough tooth structure left to hold in a filling. Crowns are also used for aesthetic reasons when we need to change the shape or colour of a tooth.

The before picture shows that the two big front teeth were OK, but the lateral incisor teeth and canine teeth were in slightly the wrong position and their size and shape were not quite right.

The after picture shows a beautiful white smile. This patient had three months of orthodontic treatment on his upper front six teeth, to get them into a better position, followed by porcelain veneers on his canine teeth and lateral incisors (the central incisors were untouched).

Gum Lift

A gum lift or gingivectomy is a procedure that can be done by a dentist to reshape the gums to provide a more pleasing smile. Gums are reshaped for numerous reasons: some people have gums that have not receded after the permanent tooth erupts, while others have lips that allow a lot of gum to show when they smile. In some cases, gums can recede over time and expose more of the tooth surface than is desired.

Having a ‘gummy’ smile can cause a person to be very self-conscious about their appearance. Getting a gum lift is the same as getting a face lift if a person is not happy with their wrinkles or saggy eyelids; it is simply a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance and thus, the self-confidence. Gum lifts are normally only done on the front teeth as these are the ones that are most visible when a person smiles.