3 types of cosmetic dentistry to improve your smile

We all know regular brushing is the key to good dental health. But when should you consider a cosmetic treatment and what options are out there?

Wondering what you’d look like with straight chompers and pearly white teeth?

Then perhaps cosmetic dentistry is worth considering.

Australian Dental Association oral health committee vice-chairman Dr Michael Foley says before you consider cosmetic changes to your teeth you need to ensure the gums and bones are healthy.

“The gums hold the teeth in position and frame the teeth and smile so you need to make sure they are healthy first before thinking of cosmetic dentistry,” Dr Foley says.

“Putting cosmetic work on to dodgy foundations is a waste of money.”

These days there are plenty of different options available if you want to make cosmetic dental improvements.

Orthodontic treatment

The braces of 2019 provide a lot more options than those available a generation ago, when being a “metal mouth” was the only choice.

Metal braces are still one of the most common and effective orthodontic treatments, however many people these days opt for options that are less visible.

“If you’re not keen on a ‘metal mouth’ look, there are many different options for braces,” Dr Foley says.

One popular, less visible is clear aligners, which put gentle pressure on your teeth and gradually move them into the ideal end position.

Other options include ceramic braces, which are made out of a tooth-coloured porcelain and clear brackets, and lingual braces, which are attached to the inside surfaces of your teeth rather than the front.

There are different costs involved, so discuss with your dentist which option works best for you.

Crown or bridge work

Dr Foley says many people choose to have crowns and bridge work, composite resin fillings or porcelain facings to correct discoloured or worn teeth.

“These can be very successful, but they usually involve irreversible removal of some tooth structure, and they will probably need to be replaced in the future,” Dr Foley says.

“No treatment is permanent. If you are having cosmetic treatment for teeth, remember that those teeth may not change colour over time, but surrounding teeth will.”

Tooth whitening

Tooth whitening can be an attractive option for people looking to have a dazzling smile.

Dr Foley explains that as we age our teeth naturally darken slightly.

“Lots of tea, coffee or red wine can make teeth darken more quickly,” he adds.

But he says if you’re considering tooth whitening, remember that treatment effects can be long-lasting but are not permanent.

“Also Hollywood white, newsreader white and supermodel white are not natural tooth colours, so please don’t overdo it,” he says.

Dr Foley says to look for products that contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

“Low concentration tooth whitening gels and toothpastes can be bought in shops, and high concentrations are available through your dentist and will work more quickly.”

World Oral Health Day is held on March 20 each year to highlight the importance of oral health to our overall health. Learn more about dental health in The House of Wellness autumn magazine, available from March 30 at your local Chemist Warehouse store.

Written by Erin Miller.