When you think about cosmetic dentistry, it’s likely that teeth whitening and porcelain veneers come to mind. But it encompasses so much more! Any treatment done to your teeth (or gums) that is elective with a focus on the aesthetic (appearance) of your smile is considered to be cosmetic dentistry.
The Alma Dental Approach To Cosmetic Dentistry
We believe that the most beautiful smiles are built on a foundation of optimal dental health. Clean, strong, decay-free teeth, healthy pink gums, fresh breath, and healthy oral tissues are the hallmark of this.
With good health established and well-maintained, and with an active preventive program in place, we then consider the aesthetic. While the teeth and gums are a big part of the story, your entire face influences the appearance of your smile. The teeth, lips and tissues around the mouth must be in balance with the rest of the face.
Achieving an excellent cosmetic outcome involves careful planning, a high level of skill and an eye for the artistic.
It’s our role to ensure that every element of your smile is in balance with your other facial features. The cosmetic treatments we deliver aim to create a beautiful and natural-looking smile.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dental treatments alter the appearance of the smile. There are many treatments used by dentists that can produce an aesthetic outcome.
Elements Of Your Smile That Can Be Altered With Cosmetic Dental Treatments
- The size and shape of your teeth
- The colour and characteristics of your tooth enamel
- The amount of space between your teeth, which may be caused by natural gaps or missing teeth
- The alignment of your teeth, especially overlapping or crowded teeth
- Your gums - the amount that shows at rest and when you smile
- Elective replacement of discoloured or dark fillings that are visible when you smile
- The evenness of the edges of your teeth
- Management of staining or fluorosis
Is Cosmetic Dentistry All About Teeth?
Not at all!
While teeth are a vital element of your smile, other aspects also require consideration. These include your gums, your lips and the balance of your smile with other critical facial features.
Treatments That May Be Used To Change Your Smile’s Appearance
- Some orthodontic procedures
- Tooth-coloured fillings
- Gum lifts
- Lip enhancement procedures
Some Cosmetic Dental Treatments Involve Many Treatment Elements
Sometimes a smile needs a combination of treatments to create an aesthetic result that meet the expectations of the patient. The term used to describe a significant smile enhancement, involving several treatment types, is a “Smile Makeover”.
Not Every Cosmetic Dental Procedure Is As Complex As A Smile Makeover
Worried that "getting cosmetic dentistry" will involve a complex treatment plan involving many procedures, a lot of time and high cost? Think again!
Some procedures are quite straightforward, deliverable in a single appointment and cost much less than you might think.
For example, a person might consider an old silver amalgam filling to be unsightly if it is visible when they smile. Replacing it with a tooth-coloured alternative is a treatment than is usually able to be performed in a single appointment.
Teeth whitening, bonding and enameloplasty (recontouring) are also treatments that can often be done in a single appointment, and that can make a significant difference to a smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry Is Not About Giving Everyone The “Hollywood Smile”
Many well-known celebrities have undergone cosmetic dental treatments. You can probably think of several stars who suddenly acquired much larger, dazzling white, straighter teeth than they previously displayed.
Some celebrity transformations can be quite over-the-top. As a result, many people fear that any cosmetic changes done to their teeth will produce a similarly fake appearance.
At Alma Dental, nothing could be further from the truth!
Dr Dee-Anna Luong and Dr Kate Alderman both have an eye for the aesthetic, and cosmetic dentistry is an area of practice which allows each to use their talents. Dr Dee and Dr Kate both invest time in their professional development in the field of Cosmetic Dentistry. This additional clinical knowledge helps them to create beautiful alterations to smiles that look natural and that suit the rest of the face.
Sometimes it is the subtlest of changes that make all the difference.
Beautiful Teeth At Any Age
It’s not unusual for teeth to change over time. Enamel thins with normal wear and tear, and this can be accelerated if you have subjected your teeth to frequent helpings of acidic foods and beverages over the years. Thinner enamel allows the underlying yellow dentine to show through, making the teeth look darker and yellower than they once were.
Teeth can chip and become deeply stained, especially if you consume tea, coffee, red wine and tobacco products. They might appear shorter than they once were, especially if you have worn down the edges through grinding.
All of these situations can make teeth appear older than the rest of your facial features.
Cosmetic dental treatments can do much to reverse these changes. It’s never too late to make a difference!
Cosmetic Dentistry For Both Women And Men
In our experience, you don’t have to be a particular gender to appreciate the benefits of having a healthy, attractive smile.
What’s The Difference Between General Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry?
General Dentistry includes the prevention and treatment of dental diseases. It aims to keep you free of tooth decay, gum disease and other oral conditions that can cause deterioration or discomfort. If during your regular dental check-up we notice that dental disease has developed, or if a dental emergency presents, we provide the appropriate preventive, restorative or emergency care. These types of treatment all fall under the category of "General Dentistry".
Sometimes our patients identify a concern that doesn't fall into one of these categories. Perhaps something about the appearance of their smile has come to their attention. They may not like the colour or shape of their teeth, a gap or chip, uneven teeth or a gummy smile. These are not diseases. They are cosmetic concerns, treatment of which is elective. The procedures that correct these concerns fall under the category of Cosmetic Dental Treatments.
Maintaining Your Beautiful Smile
If you have received treatments to change any element of your smile, you will want to keep the changes looking great for as long as possible. An effective home care routine of brushing and flossing will be required. We will also encourage you to avoid anything harmful to the health and well-being of your teeth, gums and restorations.
Sometimes additional preventive measures are recommended, in the form of occlusal splints (night guards) and sports mouthguards.
You should plan to come in to see us regularly for dental check-ups and professional cleans.
Who Can Have Cosmetic Dental Treatments?
There are very few restrictions on receiving cosmetic dentistry treatments. Treatments are most successful when you:
- Have healthy teeth and gums
- Enjoy good general health
- Don't engage in oral habits that can adversely affect the appearance of the teeth, especially the use of tobacco products.
- Understand the nature of the procedure and the pros and cons of treatment
- Have realistic expectations about the possible outcomes of your treatment. If we think you'll be unhappy with the results of the treatments you request, we'll let you know why and will make other recommendations
- Are prepared to maintain good oral health and to avoid anything that has the potential to damage the treatments provided
- Are an adult. We won't perform irreversible procedures on anyone under the age of 18.
Cosmetic dental treatment is elective, noticeable and potentially irreversible. We are obligated to help you to understand what the procedure involves. This includes
- setting realistic expectations of the outcome
- being clear about the time required to deliver treatment
- identifying potential risks
- providing accurate information about likely downtime after treatments, how long the treatment will last and, of course, the cost.
You can take as much time as you need to consider the proposed treatment and to decide whether or not to go ahead. We will never force you into having a procedure that you don't want or need.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cosmetic dental enhancements. Everyone has a unique dental history and individual requirements. So we can't tell you what treatments you are likely to need without first meeting you and examining your teeth. To determine the best way to achieve cosmetic enhancements of your smile, you'll need to make an appointment with one of our dentists.
If you have questions of a general nature, we'd be pleased to answer them over the phone.