Cosmetic dentistry refers to all dental treatment that aims to improve the appearance of the teeth and hence of the overall smile aesthetics. Cosmetic dentistry can also involve replacement of missing teeth to restore a full smile and proper function.
This could include just one tooth or several.
At the Melbourne Smile Clinic, however, we believe that all dental treatment relates to cosmetic dentistry. Even if the tooth being treated is a back tooth and not visible on smiling, we aim to restore the tooth as close to its original and natural shape and shade as possible so that it blends in with the other teeth.
To achieve this, we use tooth-coloured filling materials such a resin composite or dental ceramic.
How can cosmetic dentistry improve the appearance of your smile?
For teeth that are simply discoloured, dull or yellow, bleaching is the recommended approach. Bleaching can be carried out either in a once-off visit in the dentist’s chair or done at home by wearing a bleaching tray an hour or more every day over a few weeks or until the desire lightening is achieved. For home bleaching, the duration of use depends on how white the patient wants the teeth to be. Once the desired lightening effect has been achieved, it is usually necessary to repeat the bleaching process to maintain the lighter shade as teeth will tend to. However, bleaching does not help to remove white, chalky spots from enamel. A different kind of treatment can help with white spots and this will be covered in another blog.
Crowded teeth or unwanted gaps between teeth can often be addressed with orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign. Click here for more information about Invisalign.
In some cases, a combination of the above treatments can be used to obtain the desired results. The final treatment options will depend on what is best for the case and what suits the patient best.
While cosmetic dentistry aims to improve the appearance of a patient’s teeth, it is important that good oral health is established first. Teeth must be first free of decay and the gums and bone supporting the teeth must be healthy.
At the Melbourne Smile Clinic, we believe that cosmetic dentistry must first restore health and function while providing an aesthetic outcome.
Does a cosmetic dentist require specialist training?
No, Cosmetic dentistry is not a specialised branch of dentistry. This means that a dentist does not require specialist training (2 years Masters degree) to call themselves a cosmetic dentist. A general dentist can provide all the different treatments involved in cosmetic dentistry such as veneers, crowns, orthodontics and implants. However, the level of skill of the dentist will depend on their experience and if they have attended further professional development courses to improve their expertise.
Are there specialist dentists for crown, veneer and implant work used in cosmetic dentistry?
Yes, Prosthodontists are specialists who undergo a further 2 years of a Masters degree and are specifically trained to treat more complex cases requiring crowns, veneers, dentures and implants. Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the design, manufacture, and fitting of artificial replacements for teeth and other parts of the mouth and prosthodontists are registered to carry solely this kind of work.
At the Melbourne Smile Clinic, if a case is deemed to be highly complex, we will refer the patient to a specialist prosthodontist for treatment as we believe in doing what is best for the patient. These might include for example, patients who are completely edentulous and wish to have full mouth implants.
How is a case assessed for cosmetic dentistry work at the Melbourne Smile Clinic?
To assess a case where cosmetic work is required, pictures of the teeth are taken before any work is done. A projection of the desired treatment result is then generated digitally (digital mock-up). This gives the patient a better idea of the expected outcome of the proposed treatment. At this stage, the patient can give us their feedback on the proposed outcome and any adjustments/changes made e.g., they might prefer the teeth a shade lighter or a slightly different length. The treatment is carried out according to the plan agreed by the patient.
The pictures above show a case of worn down upper front teeth from acid erosion and a grinding habit. Picture 1 shows the teeth before any treatment has been done. The front teeth have thin, worn-down, translucent edges. Picture 2 is a digital mock-up or projection of how the smile will look after building up the teeth with crowns. Picture 3 shows the teeth after ceramic crowns have been placed.
Each case is assessed thoroughly along with continuous consultation with the patient to ensure a satisfactory result.
For more case examples of our cosmetic dentistry work, visit our smile gallery.
If you have any queries or wish to book an assessment, The Melbourne Smile Clinic is your dentist in Northcote. Call us on 9078 4471.