Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry – What’s Involved?

Cosmetic dentistry encompasses treatments that focus primarily on improving the appearance, as opposed to the function of the patient’s teeth, gums and/or bite. This blog aims to act as a starting-point for information on several increasingly popular treatments that fall under the description of cosmetic dentistry.

Tooth Whitening

Also known as tooth bleaching, these treatments are intended to combat tooth discolouration caused either by aging or from the effects of staining by food and drink, such as coffee and red wine, or tobacco consumption.

There are two methods of in surgery tooth whitening, both of which involve the teeth being coated with a bleaching gel, which is then activated by exposure to light and heat. The chemical reaction of the gel will help remove staining from the teeth, and improve colour, which the dentist then washes away.

The technique costs vary from £450 to £600 and requires only a single appointment to produce results. However, the procedure needs repeated every three to six months. An alternative home whitening procedure involves the patient applying the whitening agent at night themselves for some two to four weeks, using a specially designed mouthguard provided by their dentist. The in-surgery and home teeth whitening procedures can be combined to produce excellent results.

There are over-the-counter treatments available, but these frequently do not contain enough of the key bleaching ingredient, hydrogen carbamide peroxide, to be effective.

Tooth Straightening

As well as having cosmetic applications, straightening or reshaping crowded or crooked teeth is also used to improve function.

Orthodontic treatment for teeth straightening involves wearing a brace to move the affected teeth into a better position over time. This treatment will take between one and three years to complete and costs vary from £2,500 to £5,000 depending on the degree of complexity.

Alternatively, cosmetic improvements can be achieved by reshaping and rebuilding with direct bonding. Tooth material is removed from crooked or excessively long teeth, or, where teeth are too short, they are then ‘built up’ by having enamel-like dental composites sculpted onto them, hardened and polished. This treatment lasts between two and five years and has a baseline cost of around £180 to £250 per tooth.

Crowns and Veneers

Crowns and caps are small covers of metal or porcelain, used to repair and restore broken or decayed teeth. They are available on the NHS if there is a clinical necessity, such as a broken tooth. Each crown is made to replicate and strengthen an existing tooth, which is cut down to allow the new fitting to be cemented in place. Crowns are permanent restorations. They take some time to prepare and fit over two appointments, and if used for purely cosmetic purposes will cost from £400 to £750 per tooth.

Veneers are micro-fine slivers of porcelain. These are glued to the front of the teeth with bonding agents and are used to improve colouration, shape and positioning of teeth and to fill in gaps. Veneers can last up to twenty years if well cared for. They take two appointments to fit and cost varies from £350 – £750 per tooth.

Bridges

Bridges are used to fill gaps left by missing teeth. The missing tooth is shaped to replace the original, while the supporting fittings are intended to fit over the neighbouring teeth, which are reduced to fit the bridge in place. The bridge is then cemented into place, and will last some fifteen years if cared for properly. Bridge fitting generally takes two one-hour appointments.

White Fillings

White fillings are made of a resin and glass composite and are used to fill small gaps and repair chipped teeth and tooth edges. They are also used to replace mercury / metal fillings. They are cemented onto teeth with bonding agents. This usually takes only one appointment. These fillings are available on the NHS for the first five front teeth. Bought privately, the cost is around £95 per tooth. They will last some fifteen years.

If you’re interested in cosmetic dental treatments and would like further information and expert advice, be sure to visit Smile Pad’s website. We’ll be happy to answer any queries you may have.

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