In life, there are only a handful of things that can seriously affect how happy we feel, and a lot of it has to do with body image. It may sound a bit crude to the enlightened modern lady or gentleman, but the truth of the matter is that we tend to judge others primarily based on their appearance. We are wired to assess others within seconds of meeting them, and we also fear being negatively assessed by those around us. When we meet someone new, we tend to focus on their face as a means of gauging their character, their mood and their intentions. A nice warm smile is a good sign that a person bears us no ill intent, is confident and content with life, and is also a good indication that the person greeting us likes us.
There are many dentists out there who will try to sell you on a full smile makeover, when you may only require a smaller job. At Smile by Design, we make sure you get exactly what you need, without the pushy upsells and pressure. A beautiful smile also plays a huge role in romance – it is rated very high on the list when both men and women are asked about the physical attributes that they find desirable in a potential partner. However, not everyone is born with a perfect set of teeth. Some might have crooked teeth, others will have gaps between teeth or have a problem keeping their teeth white, and then there are others with broken or missing teeth due to injuries. And while there are many issues one can have with their teeth, luckily there are also numerous highly effective cosmetic dental procedures that can help anyone obtain that movie star smile.
So what is Cosmetic Dentistry?
A clear distinction can be made between dental procedures aimed at healing and repairing, and procedures aimed primarily at improving dento-facial aesthetics, i.e. correcting any irregularities and ensuring that a person has even, well-proportioned and white teeth. Cosmetic dentistry, as the name suggests, is focused on the latter goal. With a fairly wide range of procedures that utilize cutting-edge modern technology, a good dentist can help create teeth that are even and aesthetically shaped, as well as a gum line that enhances the overall look. Cosmetic dentistry seeks to not only improve physical appearance, but also to empower the individual and help people regain self-confidence.
Should I be scared of Cosmetic Dentistry?
In a nutshell, no one should be limited by the cards they have been dealt at birth. In this day and age, no one has to rely solely on the genetic lottery when it comes to physical appearance. We can improve and sharpen our mind, adopt new personality traits and make positive lifestyle changes – all with the ultimate goal in mind of becoming the best version of ourselves we can be. Being content with our body is the first step toward being content with who we are, and it is now easier than ever to make a few adjustments and achieve the beautiful look on the outside that mirrors our inner characters.
Those who are unsatisfied with how their teeth look will tend to avoid laughing too much or showing a wide sincere smile. The insecurities about your teeth will eventually force you to try and suppress a hearty laugh or to smile very little when talking to someone, which can make you seem cold and distant. On the other hand, if you aren’t afraid of showing your pearly whites whenever the mood strikes you, and you have an aesthetically pleasing smile, others will see you as an attractive, fun, confident and successful individual. A lot of studies have been done on this subject, and they all suggest that people with white, even and well-proportioned teeth who love to smile are rated higher in terms of both social status and attractiveness by their peers.
There are several main procedures offered in cosmetic dentistry, and they include:
Dental Veneers are thin shells that are created to mimic the appearance and physical properties of a tooth, and are used to cover the front of the teeth to strengthen damaged enamel, smooth out rough surfaces, cover gaps and modify the overall shape of a tooth. The common materials used are porcelain and composite resin. Porcelain requires the teeth to be shaved down slightly, around 0.5 mm, before they are bonded to the front of the teeth.
They can chip if you chew very hard foods or bite your nails, but they look very natural and can last up to 15 years with proper care. Resin won’t last as long and doesn’t look quite as natural, but it is a cheaper option and the procedure can be done in a single day. Resin can also be repaired if damaged, unlike porcelain which has to be reapplied. Smile by Design are renown for fitting some of the best dental veneers in Sydney.
A crown or a cap is used to cover the outside of a tooth that has been damaged or broken. They can fill in a gap in the tooth, an inlay, or can cover a significant portion of it, called an onlay. Crowns can be made from metal, porcelain or a combination of the two. Porcelain is the preferred material as it looks more natural.
Unlike veneers, a crown requires the tooth to be shaved down by around 1.5-2 mm, and covers it entirely. Since an impression of the tooth must be used to create the crown, a temporary restoration is used to protect the tooth until the crown is ready, which means it will take several visits to complete the procedure. A crown can last 10-15 years with proper care.
Dental bridges are artificial teeth that replace a missing tooth, and are attached to the two healthy teeth surrounding it. The permanent bridge is the most common type, and it requires the artificial tooth to be attached to crowns or dental implants on either side of the gap for optimal support.
A resin-bonded bridge can be used to avoid fitting crowns on adjacent teeth, as it is bonded to the back of either supporting tooth. There is also the cantilever bridge, which is used when only one side of the gap has healthy teeth that can support it. Dental bridges require removal of some tooth material, but look quite natural and can last for 10-15 years if taken care of.
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Dental implants are the ultimate solution to a missing tooth. Although more expensive than restorative methods, e.g. bridges, they are also stronger and more resilient. As they replace the root of a missing tooth they help keep the natural look and bone structure of the jaw, and can be used to replace a single tooth, support a crown, or in conjunction with a bridge if there are several missing teeth that need to be replaced. It takes around six months for the titanium implant to fully integrate with the jaw, at which point a porcelain crown can be applied. With proper care and regular checkups, a dental implant can last for the rest of your life, so it is a wise investment. Finding a good implant dentist in Sydney can be difficult, luckily
These are used for minor problems like filling in small chips or gaps in teeth. They are made using composite resin and glass, and are bonded to the tooth. It is a quick procedure, but fillings are less durable than veneers. Modern fillings are made to look natural and can last a long time with proper care.
In certain cases, people will have more of their gums visible when they smile, which makes the teeth look small in comparison, resulting in a less aesthetic smile. A simple surgical procedure, the gum lift can be done within a single visit, and it takes around 12 weeks for the gums to adjust to the new position.
The most common aesthetic dental problem out there is having crooked teeth. To correct this problem, several options are used including fixed metal braces, clear braces, braces placed on the inside and Invisalign. Depending on the nature and severity of the problem, braces will need to be worn for a few months or even several years.
Stained yellow teeth are not a very pleasant sight, and many people have to deal with this problem. However, teeth whitening is a straightforward process, and there are several types of procedures depending on a client’s needs and the available budget. There are kits available that a patient can use at home, but you still need to focus on proper oral hygiene to ensure long lasting results.
These common cosmetic dental procedures can be performed with minimal discomfort using modern equipment, and they are certainly a long-term solution that a patient will be happy with for many years.
Q: What foods should I avoid in order to keep my teeth stain free?
A: You should try to avoid cigarettes, coffee, red wine, soft drinks, soy sauce and any strongly-coloured sweets.
Q: How do I ensure that these treatments last for as long as possible?
A: Proper and regular oral hygiene is incredibly important. Focus on brushing your teeth after every meal, flossing to ensure no food debris is left in between the teeth, rinsing your mouth with water every now and then, and avoiding foods containing lots of refined sugar or starchy carbs. You should also avoid bad habits like biting your fingernails or chewing hard plastic objects such as pens.
Q: How do I choose the best treatment for me?
A: To be completely honest, some people may require a combination of procedures, and it is best to consult your dentist. With some of the treatments it is a matter of finding the right balance between cost and durability, so it is best to go over all the options carefully.
Q: Can the shape of my teeth really have that big of an impact on how I look?
A: Yes. The shape of your teeth can make a big difference in terms of facial symmetry, and can even help bring out certain traits based on the shape of your face. Your teeth can make you look more masculine or feminine, help accentuate or draw attention away from certain features, and implants can help prevent your face from sinking in due to missing teeth.
There are a large number of options available to the modern man or woman who wants to look their best, and feel confident when talking to others. Crooked, yellow or missing teeth can deal a huge blow to a person’s confidence and may limit them when it comes to both their professional and personal life. A large and beautiful smile is a natural adornment that anyone can attain these days. Cosmetic dentistry is a way of investing into a happier and brighter future for yourself, and that is a very smart investment.
About Dr. Tam
Dr. Michael Tam BDS (NZ) Grad Dip Clin Dent (Oral Implants) (Syd) has over 25 years experience in the dental field and with a special interest in Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry, he obtained a Distinction Award from the NZDA in Continuing Dental Education and has met with dental practices in London, Europe, Asia, America and Canada. With years of experience in cosmetic dentistry in Sydney and Overseas, Dr. Tam and his team have performed countless successful teeth whitening, dental implant and veneers procedures on patients, so rest assured your teeth will be well taken care of.