How does it work?
There are many types of treatment available that can improve the appearance of your teeth:
'''White fillings''' Forget the metal fillings of days gone by - the ones that blackened over time and eventually turned the whole tooth dark. White and porcelain fillings have developed to the extent that they now rival the successful but ugly metal amalgam, so you can take care of your dental health without giving up your dazzling smile.
'''Tooth Whitening''' Tooth whitening involves using special gentle gel substances to bleach discoloured teeth. It restores the whiteness of stained and discoloured teeth for that perfect, porcelain gleam. For more info, visit our dedicated page at [[treatment/teeth-whitening| teeth whitening]] central.
'''Crowns, bridges, veneers''' All three are restorative prosthetics that dramatically improve the appearance of your smile. Crowns are cap-like coverings that are fitted on top of a damaged, stained or otherwise unsightly tooth, and they look and function like a healthy one.
Veneers are thin plates of custom-made material attached to the front of your damaged tooth. The colouring is tailored on your tooth’s shade to avoid bright white stains or other disasters that prevent them blending in. Veneers can be made from ceramics or other composite materials. Ceramic veneers usually last 10 to 15 years, while less expensive options such as composite veneers typically last 5 to 7 years and all types of veneers are usually applied over a minimum of two visits.
A bridge replaces a missing tooth with an artificial one, and is attached to existing teeth for support on either side. Replacing missing teeth is important to help maintain the shape of the face and reduce the stress in the bite caused by missing teeth. A bridge is also an option when wanting to permanently replace a missing tooth and the artificial tooth of the bridge is made like a crown. Note that a fixed bridge can only be removed by a dentist.
'''Orthodontics''' Orthodontics is the use of braces and other mouth-worn apparatus to move and realign teeth and the bite over a period of time. To find out more, visit our dedicated page at [[treatment/orthodontics/| orthodontics]] central.
'''Gum Contouring''' If your gums cover up too much of your teeth, leaving you showing more of them than gleaming enamel when you smile, then gum contouring can help. Painless and fairly quick to implement, this treatment involves the use of local anaesthetic and either a scalpel or laser device.
The practitioner will trim away excess tissue that covers the face of the tooth and reshape the gum that is to remain in place. If a laser is used, blood vessels are sealed during the procedure, reducing blood loss and sometimes bone in which the teeth are rooted is also removed in an effort to prevent the gum reforming too far down the teeth after treatment.
It is common to be prescribed veneers or crowns following gum contouring to help improve the final appearance of your smile.
Is it for me?
If you remain stoney faced or artificially tight lipped in photos because you are ashamed of your smile, then cosmetic dentistry could transform your appearance and help bring you out of your shell ... smiling.
Before undergoing any treatment that involves anaesthetic, be sure to inform the practitioner if you have ever experienced allergies or sensitivities to products used in the past. If you suffer from dental phobia, mention this to the dentist as it is likely they will be able to cater to your needs and will try to make the experience as comfortable as possible.
Good to know
Many of us hate visiting the dentist, but modern dentistry has come a long way. Before dentures were invented, dentists would try to implant teeth taken from corpses into the mouths of their patients!