Cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry changes and enhances the appearance of the teeth. While it may not be essential to the well-being of the teeth, it can provide an important psychological boost to a person. For example, if somebody has badly discoloured front teeth, they may smile very rarely, in order to hide the problem. Unfortunately, cosmetic surgery is not covered by PRSI in this country, so it can be an expensive option.

My front teeth are stained. Is there anything I can do about it?

Yes. If your teeth are moderately stained, you may choose to have them bleached. While you can purchase do-it-yourself bleaching kits, it is more advisable to get a professional to do it, so visit your dentist.

During bleaching, the dentist will take a mould of your teeth. From this he will make a mouth-tray (like a gum-shield) which you will wear for a specific amount of time. The mouth-tray holds the bleaching material against your teeth.

It is important that the substance doesn’t touch your gums as it may irritate them. You usually continue using the product until the desired white colour is reached. However bleaching may not work on everybody and alternatives will be required.

I tried bleaching to get rid of the stains on my teeth, but it didn’t work. What can I do now?

If your teeth are badly stained, your dentist may recommend veneers. Veneers are proving an increasingly popular form of cosmetic dentistry. Made of porcelain, veneers can be used for a number of reasons, such as hiding stains or altering the shape or size of a tooth.

Veneers are a popular choice because they can last up to ten years and do not discolour over time.

How do veneers work?

A mould will be taken of the affected tooth, and a porcelain veneer will be made. This is like a covering for the tooth, however because of its hard, shiny surface, when attached, it simply looks like the tooth.

Be warned, however, you may require a minimal amount of tooth reduction (around 0.5mm) to allow for the veneer to be fitted on.

Will I have to change my diet to accommodate my veneers?

Usually no, but use your common sense. Your normal diet should pose no problems, however, try to avoid things that might twist your veneers; don’t try opening any bottle tops with them!

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