Many people are now turning to cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of their teeth. Some people approach it wanting to fix a defect they have had their whole life, while others need it following a mouth injury - such as a tooth being broken in half. Whatever the case, cosmetic dentistry can offer a ‘fix’ for many dental issues.
If you are considering the same, there are six cosmetic dentistry procedures you need to know about. These are offered by dentists who specialise in aesthetics, with all procedures performed under local anaesthetic where needed.
If you don’t like your smile for one reason or another, ‘smile design’ is the ideal procedure for you. You might have already been recommended this by your dentist in Bristol. The long and short of it is it’s a consultation with a dental professional who will look at your smile and discuss the various options for improving it.
From this consultation, treatments will be recommended. Your teeth may just need whitening, or they may need reshaping. You may need veneers. Sometimes, all that’s needed is for your metal fillings to be replaced with white fillings to improve your smile in a short space of time. The best dentists provide wax mock-ups of your smile so you can see a preview of the final results before treatment.
This is the most non-invasive procedure you can have. It’s where a dentist applies a hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth and activates it with UV light over 30 minutes to an hour. The gel breaks down the stains causing yellowness on your teeth to reveal the natural colour underneath. The results are instant, there’s no downtime, and your teeth will be four to five shades lighter. The results last around 3 years but can stretch beyond this if you use a whitening toothpaste and brush two times a day.
Porcelain veneers cover up the front surface of a tooth to hide stains, cosmetic imperfections, chips, cracks and mildly crooked teeth. Porcelain is an extremely strong material - veneers made from it last around 15 years. They are bonded onto teeth after slightly etching the tooth’s enamel. The result is a veneer that doesn’t increase the thickness of the tooth, looks completely natural and won’t be stained itself. Porcelain veneers can last 10 to 15 years with proper care.
If you have amalgam fillings you can have these replaced with white fillings. Amalgam is usually used to fill molars (back teeth) but these can still show if you laugh with your head back. White fillings are made from composite, usually a mix of acrylic resin and powdered glass. The filling is cured using UV light on the treatment table, after which the performance and appearance is the same as a normal tooth. White fillings last for 7-10 years, which is less than amalgam, but the aesthetic appearance is worth it.
Gum contouring is a suitable procedure for patients with uneven gums (gums that are too high or too low). Ordinarily, this is a cosmetic procedure, but your dentist in Bristol may recommend it if you have treatment for a periodontal disease. Gum contouring is performed on the dental bed under local anaesthetic and involves removing tissue from or adding tissue to the gums, depending on the desired result. The recovery period lasts a few days at minimum, with some people needing two weeks.
Teeth reshaping can fix minor imperfections in teeth such as wonkiness and chips. This procedure involves removing small amounts of surface enamel to reshape the tooth’s profile. Usually, the desired look is uniformity. Sometimes, it is necessary to add material in the form of a composite, which can be shaped in the right places to drastically improve the appearance of the tooth. This process is called bonding. The result is teeth that are picture-perfect, and the results are permanent if cared for.