A single smile possesses the remarkable power to unravel many of life's challenges. Yet, while some individuals find solace and strength in their smiles, there are those who, in the midst of their grins, get conscious. They become displeased with how their smiles alter their appearance, particularly in photographs. In such instances, they turn to Cosmetic Dentistry.
Diverging from traditional dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry is dedicated to enhancing the aesthetic aspects of your smile. Within this realm, one encounters a spectrum of treatments to enhance smiles. These treatments encompass teeth whitening, dental bonding, and the application of veneers, to name a few. Cosmetic Dentistry elevates your visual appeal by helping you achieve a confident and beautiful smile.
Difference Between Traditional And Cosmetic Dentistry
In traditional dentistry, the dentist primarily handles oral health and addresses issues like root canals, fillings, extractions, dentures, tooth decay, and various dental problems. They encompass routine dental check-ups, professional cleanings, and even oral cancer screenings within their domain of traditional dentistry.
On the other hand, cosmetic dentistry is more centred on enhancing your appearance by enhancing your smile. Cosmetic dentists offer services such as dental veneers, teeth whitening, inlays and onlays, dental bonding, and other treatments that specifically address concerns related to the aesthetics of your teeth.
Giving us a brief insight into this, Dr Joy Anthony, Founder and MD Dr Joy Dental Clinic said, "The key difference between cosmetic and traditional dentistry is that cosmetic dentistry is focused on patients’ facial appearance and its an elective treatment. Whereas, traditional dentistry focuses on the treatment and prevention of dental problems such as fillings, extractions, orthodontics ( braces or Invisalign), root canal etc. Almost everyone can benefit from the improved appearance and confidence brought about by cosmetic dental treatments like Veneers. However, it's always best to meet a specialist prosthodontist for a consultation and to get the best advice on the cosmetic treatment that would work best."
When To Consider Cosmetic Dentistry?
Numerous situations may prompt you to contemplate a visit to a cosmetic dentist. Issues like cracked teeth, misaligned teeth, irregularly shaped teeth, tooth loss, tooth decay, and teeth discolouration not only impact your self-esteem but also lower your self-confidence. If you find yourself in a situation where you're avoiding smiling due to the state of your teeth, it's advisable to consult a cosmetic dentist. When your smile falls short of your satisfaction, cosmetic dentistry can enhance your teeth and help restore your confidence.
Procedure Of Cosmetic Dentistry
First and foremost, it's essential to choose the specific aspect you wish to address. If you've noticed your teeth have become stained over time, professional teeth whitening offers a safe and effective solution to lighten their shade and enhance your smile. For this, you should visit your cosmetic dentist, enquire about the cost, and schedule an appointment for the procedure, which typically takes around two hours to complete.
Similarly, if your goal is to conceal imperfections like cracks, craze lines, or discolouration and you're considering options like tooth contouring or gum contouring, it's crucial to consult with your dentist. Before starting the process, it's important to weigh the pros and cons after your dentist assesses your oral health and schedules the procedure, which is typically completed in a single visit.
Highlighting the types of cosmetic procedures, Dr. Nina Holmes, a certified Invisalign provider and an expert in Family, General, and Cosmetic Dentistry at Dental Studio, Dubai Science Park Clinic, says, "If you are looking to start simple but effective, I recommend professional tooth whitening. It can be done either at home over a period of two to four weeks or as an in-office procedure, typically taking around two hours in total. Tooth whitening lightens the natural shade of your enamel. Besides, if you are unhappy with your smile due to crowding or spacing, then Invisalign (clear aligner therapy) may be what you are looking for."
Dr. Nina Holmes also recommends dental veneers to enhance the smile, and adds, "They require multiple appointments to ensure you are a candidate and that the irreversible changes will be the result you are looking for whilst maintaining a healthy mouth. Veneers can change the size, shape, colour and position of your teeth, improving a multitude of complaints. There are a variety of materials available, and the pros and cons of each material should be fully discussed before proceeding with veneers."
Who Needs To Avoid Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic Dentistry is generally safe and accessible to anyone; however, if you have substantial cavities or gum disease, your dentist will likely recommend addressing these issues first. After ensuring your smile's health, you can explore and decide upon the cosmetic treatments that best suit your preferences.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry offers several benefits, including smile enhancement, teeth shaping, improved balance and symmetry, teeth whitening, and a confidence boost. Nevertheless, cosmetic dentistry also has its drawbacks.
The most significant drawback is that cosmetic dentistry expenses are typically not covered by insurance since insurance providers do not consider cosmetic procedures as essential or necessary for one's health.
Furthermore, sustaining your improved smile demands a certain level of commitment. Some treatments, such as porcelain veneers, are irreversible and need periodic replacement every few years.
Elaborating on the longevity of cosmetic dental procedures in detail, Dr Joy Anthony, of Dr Joy Dental Clinic, said, "The longevity depends on what procedure has been done. Veneers typically have a 5-year warranty, but will last longer. However, procedures like teeth whitening may need to be done often based on the oral hygiene maintenance of a person. Dentists usually give a thorough aftercare checklist to all patients and this list of aftercare is customised based on the procedure."
Important Thing To Keep In Mind
If you've made the decision to visit a cosmetic dentist, it's crucial to choose the right one. Dr. Nina Holmes highlights some vital considerations. She advises that when searching for the best dentist, you should thoroughly examine their before and after photos. Ensure that the work you're observing is genuinely their own, and exercise caution when it comes to stock images or heavily edited photos.
Dr Nina Holmes also emphasises the importance of inspecting the patients' gums in the after pictures. Healthy gums should display a natural pink colour, without any puffiness or swelling. Ill-fitting veneers can potentially lead to gum issues, and she often encounters before-and-after photos that obscure the veneers' margins. If there is any redness near the gumline, it serves as a warning sign for both the longevity of the veneers and the overall health of your mouth post-dental veneers.
Costing And Other Factors
Given that cosmetic dentistry isn't typically covered by insurance, it can indeed be a significant financial investment. However, if you're determined to pursue it, it's crucial to exercise caution and avoid choosing providers solely based on the lowest cost in comparison to others. On this, Dr. Nina Holmes adds, "Another key factor is the price, with this commonly being placed at greater importance over quality. Often, dentists with the lowest prices are the least trained, using the most inferior of materials made from poor quality laboratories."
Dr. Nina Holmes also suggests that seeking referrals from friends and family can be a valuable method for narrowing down your options. If feasible, enquire with other general dentists about their recommendations for cosmetic dentistry providers.