Every dental advertisement you see mentions Cosmetic Dentistry. It is the new catch cry of the dental professional in the 21st century, but what does it really mean.
Cosmetic Dentistry or Aesthetic dentistry is a rather broad description for dental procedures that improve or enhance a patients smile and so therefore their dental appearance. Remember though that not all cosmetic dentistry needs to be expensive, or it does not mean complete ‘Dental makeovers’. A true cosmetic dentist is one that just carries out all of their treatment not only to a high functional level but also to a high cosmetic level. If you have a dentist who has cosmetic prowess then by the time you see them year in year out, and you replace fillings etc as they fail, then in the end you will have a beautiful long lasting cosmetically pleasing smile.
It is important that your dentist or any ‘Cosmetic Dentist’ asks their patients “What do you not like about the appearance of your teeth?” The reason for this is sometimes to improve or enhance a patients smile is merely a means of smoothing the chips off the front teeth and reshaping them a little whilst smoothing, this can make a dramatic effect to the appearance with out costing anything. It may be that the patient is happy with the color and shape, but just does not like one particular metal filling, once again an easy fix by just replacing the filling to a more cosmetic material, and therefore not expensive. What about if the patient does not mind the shape and position but just wants whiter teeth, another easy fix, just whiten the teeth.
Treatment plans for cosmetics should be based on what the patient has issues with not what the Dentist feels is the most ideal treatment plan, with maximum profits.
If you are looking for the ‘Cosmetic Makeover,’ which includes reshaping the smile, maybe repositioning crooked teeth, or replacing lost teeth, be careful who you pick. Explore all your options with the dentist. Remember when picking a ‘Cosmetic Dentist’ to carry the work out, cosmetic treatment is like an art form, you should always be shown a model of your teeth as they could look like, so you have control from the start. Not all ‘Cosmetic Dentists’ are good at what they do, try and see some before and after photo’s of their work. Good ‘Cosmetic Dentists’ keep copies of their work because they are proud of it, they get a kick out of transforming smiles, just like a sculptor or a painter.
When it comes to the ‘cosmetic makeover’ spending a little more on better quality materials and a better practitioner, ends up costing you less money in repairs and redoing the work later on. Be careful of dentists that want to replace all your old amalgams because they are ugly or leaking mercury into your system, its not really true, these dentists will often place ‘tooth coloured fillings’ which as just a plastic and don’t last as long as other materials available and no where near as long as the amalgams. Be guided by what you want, and what you dislike.