Cosmetic dentistry is a form of oral care that helps to improve the aesthetics of the gums, teeth and mouth. Technology within this category has advanced rapidly, making it easier for clients to achieve the ‘perfect smile’.
Analysis by financial provider, LDF, found that Britain’s 100 largest dental firms recorded a turnover of almost £1 billion in 2015—a staggering 22 percent increase from 2010. It is thought that the building popularity of cosmetic dentistry is responsible for this surprising surge. We examine several popular cosmetic dental procedures being utilised by Britons today.
Teeth whitening and bleaching
With discolouration being a very common problem in the UK, it is only natural that tooth-whitening procedures have stepped up to meet the demand. The terms ‘whitening’ and ‘bleaching’ are often used interchangeably.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ‘bleaching’ can only be used when a product includes bleach (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). Whitening simply refers to any product that removes stains or debris from the teeth.
One of the newest options to be offered in this category is laser tooth whitening. The procedure involves a strong bleaching gel, which is combined with the heat generated by a laser in order to enhance its effect. Top-ups are recommended every one to two years.
One of the most frequent complaints from consumers who have had this procedure is that of tooth and gum sensitivity, which is likely to occur after prolonged use.
Veneers are made to order for each individual patient so that they resemble natural teeth. They are typically manufactured from medical-grade ceramic and are designed to cover the front surface of the teeth in order to improve their appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth to keep them in place. Veneers are routinely used as a way to fix teeth that are discoloured, worn down, chipped or broken and misaligned or wonky.
This procedure requires approximately three trips to the dentist: the first session is used to diagnose and create a treatment plan, the second to prepare the teeth for the procedure and the third to finally bond the veneers. Unfortunately, the process of having veneers is not reversible. Veneers will last between seven and 15 years, after which they will need to be replaced.
Dental implants are often chosen as a resolution for tooth loss. Due to the complexity of the procedure, this can only be performed by a trained dentist. The cause of your tooth loss will need to be understood and treated before you undertake implant treatment.
The dentist will begin the process by fixing metal screws into the jaw at the site of the missing tooth. This metal fixing serves as a support for the artificial crown that is fitted. The procedure can take anywhere between 30 minutes and several hours depending on the number of implants needed and the complexity of the jaw structure.
Over time, the bone and tissue will fuse to the implant, permanently securing it in place. Implants are designed to be indistinguishable from the surrounding natural teeth. After having dental implants fitted, patients must be diligent with their daily oral hygiene, keeping the area free from plaque and food debris.
Composite bonding refers to a method that uses composite resin (plastic) that resembles the colour of the tooth enamel to repair decayed, damaged or discoloured teeth.
The dentist will drill out the areas of decay and will apply a composite onto the tooth’s surface. They will then ‘sculpt’ it into the correct shape. They then proceed with curing it with a high-intensity light. The process successfully conceals areas of damage, giving the appearance of healthy teeth in their place.
This is one of the cheapest forms of cosmetic dentistry and can be achieved with a single visit to the dentist. Clients have to be careful with the upkeep of their composites as staining from food and cigarette smoke can occur very easily.