Dentistry is no longer just a case of filling and extracting teeth as it was for many years. People now tum to cosmetic dentistry or aesthetic dentistry as a way of improving their appearance. The treatments can be used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges and tooth coloured fillings.
To find out more about specific treatment, click on the sections below.
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Your smile says more about you than any other physical feature.
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How does tooth whitening work?
Tooth whitening is a chemical process. The peroxide in the whitening agent breaks down into tiny molecules that move inside the tooth structure, where they break down any molecules that cause discolouration. Because of this process, the internal colour of the entire tooth is lightened without altering the structure of the tooth. Enamel, dentine and fillings, crowns or veneers are not affected or harmed by the bleaching agent.
How long does tooth whitening last?
This depends on one’s nutrition and lifestyle, but the whitening effects can last up to three years. After the initial treatment, it may be desirable to ‘top up’ periodically, your dentist will advise you on this.
Will my teeth become sensitive after whitening?
Your dentist will go through the process with you and explain what you can achieve and will explain the possibility of some sensitivity. The system that we use contains desensitising agents and has a high water content that keeps your teeth hydrated throughout the treatment, this helps combat any sensitivity for a comfortable and pleasant experience.
How do I get started?
Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth, these impressions are sent to a ‘Lab’ who will produce a personalised clear ‘tray’. Around 10 days later, you will return for a ‘fit’, and full instructions on how to begin. After this, you will be in control and can decide on the level of whiteness that suits you.
Who can have tooth whitening treatment?
You do not have to be a registered patient at the practice, however, if you have tooth decay or gum disease, this will need to be treated before you can begin any whitening treatments. There are some instances when your dentist may recommend that you do not have your teeth whitened. For example, bleaching is not usually recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for anyone under the age of 18 whose teeth are still developing.
Why do people have their teeth whitened?
Teeth whitening is generally recommended if your teeth are naturally discoloured as a result of ageing, are stained as a result of exposure to certain foods and drinks, i.e. tea, coffee and red wine, or are discoloured because of smoking.
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Please be aware that only dental professionals that are GDC. registered can legally undertake tooth whitening.
What is a veneer?
Veneers are thin porcelain or ceramic ‘faces’ that are adhered to your tooth. They are precisely made to fit over the visible surface of front teeth. Veneers are an ideal way of treating discoloured or unsightly teeth, closing gaps between front teeth, changing the shape /and or position of your teeth or repairing chips and cracks.
How are veneers made?
A small amount of enamel is removed from the tooth, usually the same thickness as the veneer will be. An impression is taken by the dentist and sent to a dental technician for the veneer to be made in a laboratory. The veneer is then bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural looking repair.
Bridges are ideal for people who do not like dentures or only have one or two teeth missing.
A bridge is a replacement tooth fixed to two adjacent crowns. Bridges are used to replace a missing tooth and to support the teeth on either side of the gap left by a missing tooth. They are made from various materials depending on the clinical diagnosis and your preferences; the most common construction consists of precious metal for the base of the bridge with layers of porcelain bonded to its visible areas. Once the bridge is fitted it’s difficult to distinguish from a row of natural teeth.
A bridge might be recommended if you have lost one or more teeth. In such cases you can fill any gaps in your mouth with a strong, durable and attractive
restoration. Like crowns, bridges are hand crafted to give the most lifelike and natural appearance.
When a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled, your dentist may suggest a crown to cap it to restore its appearance and strength.
How does the dentist make a crown?
The usual procedure for fitting a crown involves shaping the tooth under local anaesthetic and then taking an impression. 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. This is easily removed just before fitting the permanent one. In most cases the temporary crown is in place for approximately two weeks.
What is a crown made of?
Crowns can be made of a variety of different materials, such as porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold or Zircona ( a very hard ceramic). New materials are continually being introduced and your dentist would be able to talk to you about which crown would be best for you, your own personal preference and the costs involved.