The Future Of Cosmetic Dentistry

Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you plenty of smiles and only pleasant dental experiences.

I have been fortunate to enjoy a few conversations in the last 4 -5 weeks with both patients and colleagues that makes me think that the future of Cosmetic Dentistry is changing. The change may be coming from within dentistry its self but  I also think it is a wider phenomenon.

Whether this is the effect of so called “austerity” Britain or just a realisation that on planet earth we need to conserve our resources,  it seems that  many  people are looking to achieve more with fewer resources in all areas of their lives and dentistry appears to be no exception.

In the heyday of full on cosmetics as typified by extreme type makeover programmes, we saw porcelain veneers  and crowns being fitted like they were going out of fashion. If the teeth were not in the right position, then porcelain (from which these items are usually made) could sort the proble

m out. The only down side is that whenever you prepare a tooth for a crown or prepare it heavily for a veneer then you run a risk of killing the nerve inside the tooth. Depending on whose research you believe  between 5 and 15% of all teeth prepared this way will eventually die. So it is little wonder that more and more patients and dentists have been asking what the alternatives to crowns or porcelain veneers are.

Please don’t misunderstand me,  porcelain veneers are not intrinsically bad and if they are well placed and delicately prepared they can produce fabulous long lasting results. In patients prone to tooth staining they may indeed be the best restoration for the job but in many other cases resin bonding which adds highly polishable white filling material to the teeth can achieve similar results.

In situations where teeth are a long way out of position more patients are tending to align the teeth first to improve their overall position before they have the final veneers or bonds placed. This in turn reduces how much tooth needs to be removed. Though it may add 12-18 weeks to treatment time, is this really an issue when you are looking fro results to last for years and years?

Either way our practice goals is  to discuss all available options with our patients and the nature of those conversations is changing. In the past many people came to see us asking  specifically for porcelain veneers but after careful consideration of all of the options many patients chose either  short term orthodontics like the Inman Aligner or  Resin  Bonding as their ideal solution. Many more of our conversations now start with us being asked   about resin bonding and Inman aligners, a real change  from a few years ago…… maybe the good news about minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry is  spreading.
My Tip
Be sure you look at every option before choosing a treatment
Think how you wlould like your smile to look.
Now look at what you want to change about your smile
Then should  ask what are all of the ways  this  can be achieved?