Cosmetic dentistry covers the various services we provide which helps rejuvenate and improve the appearance of your teeth. We aim to make the vision of your smile a reality so that you can show your teeth with confidence in your everyday life – even when smiling for photos!
There are various options which are available to improve your smile, each with their own costs, advantages and downsides. They can range from treatments such as teeth whitening or veneers to crown and bridgework or even Invisalign and orthodontics.
The most conservative method to achieve an aesthetic improvement is by simply improving the overall color of your teeth through the process of teeth whitening. During this procedure, a whitening agent is used to lighten the underlying shade of your teeth. This can be done over time at home, using custom trays that we provide or in a single appointment at our practice using Zoom Whitening.
A popular way to change the physical appearance of teeth are veneers. This is when a thin layer of ceramic or composite resin is placed over your teeth to change their colour, shape and size. This can drastically change the overall appearance of one’s smile with little to no reduction of your natural tooth.
Is a consultation with a dentist necessary? Can’t I just book straight in because I know what I want?
Yes you do need a consultation as there are certain indications and nuances for treatment, as well as various circumstances which may affect the success of said procedures. For example, did you know:
- tooth whitening does not affect fillings – these may need to be changed later on
- without a good clean, the procedure is not as successful as the gel cannot penetrate through plaque and stains
- Veneers can crack/chip if you clench or grind your teeth or have a hard diet
When speaking to your dentist, they can determine if a certain procedure will be best for your specific circumstances as well as advise you on their recommendations and alternative options.
Is whitening suitable for everyone?
This is a tricky question which bears discussing with your dentist. There are certain medical conditions and situations where whitening may not be suitable for you, including:
- The use of light-sensitive drugs or photo-reactive treatments
- Children below the age of 13
- Leaky restorations
- Hypersensitive teeth to cold
- Very heavily restored/filled teeth (especially at the front)
In these situations, it would be best to consider an alternative cosmetic option or to wait till your age or specific medical condition is more favorable.
Can I eat/drink/function like normal after whitening?
Immediately after whitening procedures (home or in-chair), there are certain foods/drinks you should try to stay away from if you wish to maintain the results you have obtained. This is because the tooth is particularly susceptible to having its color revert during this time period. A good general guide is to stick to white, non-staining food and drinks for a minimum of 48 hours if possible. Also, please avoid smoking!
Does whitening last forever?
Unfortunately, it does not. Contrary to advertising and popular belief, whitening should be thought of as a maintained process (think eyelashes, pedicure or bleaching/dying your hair). Unlike veneers, a whitened tooth will slowly revert back to its original colouration overtime. The duration before this happens is affected by various factors such as avoiding staining sources to your teeth after a whitening procedure and how often you use a home bleaching kit (as maintenance).
Which is better – the composite or ceramic veneers?
Overall, ceramic veneers tend to be stronger and achieve a much better final result than composite veneers. As they are custom made to individually fit your tooth, they provide superior aesthetics and are more resistant to staining – a problem which plagues composite resin veneers.
Note however, that each has its time and place. For example, composite resin veneers are the treatment of choice in younger patients and teenagers. Due to their continued growth and dental changes, composite veneers allows an aesthetic improvement before the oral condition stabilizes and more permanent restorations can be placed.