What is cosmetic dentistry?

Dentistry is no longer just a case of filling and extracting teeth, as it was for many years. Nowadays, many people turn to dentistry as a way of improving their appearance, much as they would use cosmetic surgery or even a new hairstyle. Cosmetic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges and tooth-coloured fillings.

Can I replace my silver fillings with white ones?

For over 150 years standard fillings have been made out of a silvery-grey material called ‘amalgam’. This is still one of the strongest and longest lasting materials available for fillings. However, many people find it unattractive and some are concerned about possible health risks.  As a result of this at White House Dental we no longer use amalgam.

There are now alternatives to amalgam fillings. If a tooth needs filling or repairing, white fillings are now replacing many amalgam ones. The new dental materials mean it is much easier to find a perfect match for the shade of a particular tooth. In most cases, it is quite impossible to see that the tooth even has a filling.

What is a composite filling?

Composite filling is resin based and is applied as a putty-like material. This can be moulded to the exact shape of the tooth and is then set using a visible blue light. It can be matched exactly to the shade of your tooth and most are now as strong as amalgam, proving to be a successful alternative.

How much will it cost?

White fillings on the biting surfaces of back teeth are only available privately and will cost anywhere from £100 upwards (£80 if on the White House Dental Plan ). On front teeth these start from £80 for the smallest filling (£60 if on the White House Dental Plan ).

What is ‘sticky’ or ‘adhesive’ dentistry?

Modern techniques now involve sticking fillings to teeth using special dental adhesives. This technique is often called ‘adhesive’ or ‘sticky’ dentistry. The area is treated with a solution that roughens the surface of the tooth – much the same as using sandpaper ‘keys’ the wall ready for painting. The adhesive is applied and the filling is ‘bonded’ to the tooth. The advantages of this method are that the cavity needs less preparation and in some cases it may not be necessary to numb the tooth first.

What are veneers

Veneers are thin slices of porcelain. These are precisely made to fit over the visible surface of front teeth, very much like a false fingernail. There are also ‘composite’ veneers and these can be completed in just one visit.

Why might I have a veneer?

Veneers are an ideal way of treating discoloured or unsightly teeth, closing gaps between front teeth, or repairing chips and cracks.

What are veneers made of?

Porcelain veneers are made by a dental technician, using impressions taken by the dentist. The veneers are made in the laboratory and bonded to the tooth to form a strong and natural-looking repair.

Composite veneers can be completed in one visit and involve bonding tooth-coloured filling material to the front of the tooth. Although these veneers are slightly more prone to staining and have a shorter life, they are easily replaced.

Can I use veneers to close the gaps between my front teeth?

Yes. Again, using either tooth-coloured material or porcelain, the dentist can change the shape or size of the tooth very slightly, closing the gap between the teeth.

Will my tooth have to be drilled?

Veneers usually need very little work on the tooth itself, and in many cases don’t even need an anaesthetic.

Are there any other alternatives to silver fillings?

In some cases, the cavity that needs filling is quite large, but the surrounding tooth is healthy. A tooth coloured filling may not be strong enough, but it would seem pointless to remove more of the healthy tooth in order to make a crown. In these cases an inlay may be the answer.

The dentist can make an inlay by preparing the cavity in much the same way as they would for a filling. But instead of putting in a filling, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth. The impression is then sent to the laboratory where the technician makes an ‘inlay’ using porcelain, resin-material or gold. The dentist then bonds this into place.

My tooth is badly broken - what can I do?

When a tooth is badly broken or heavily filled, the dentist may need to crown or ‘cap’ it to restore its appearance and strength.

How does the dentist make a crown?

The usual procedure for fitting a crown involves shaping the tooth under local anaesthetic and then taking an impression using a rubber-like material. The impression is then sent to the laboratory along with the details of the shade to be used, where the technician makes the crown.

What happens to my teeth whilst the crown is being made?

While your crown is being made, the prepared tooth can be protected with a temporary crown, which is easily removed just before fitting the permanent one. In most cases, the temporary crown is in place for about two weeks later.

What are crowns made of?

Crowns are made of a variety of materials and new materials are being introduced all the time. Here are some of the options available at present:

Porcelain bonded to precious metal: this is what many crowns are made from. A precious metal base is made and layers of porcelain are then applied over it.

Porcelain, Ceramic and Composite: these crowns can look very natural and are most often used for front teeth. 
Precious metal (gold and palladium): these crowns are very strong and hard-wearing, but are usually used at the back of the mouth, where they are not visible.

There are different crowns for different situations and it is always a good idea to discuss the matter with your dentist. Let them guide you in deciding which crown would be best for you.

Are whitening toothpastes effective?

There are many commercial toothpastes specially formulated to whiten teeth. They are good at removing any staining on the teeth, but are not strong enough to change the natural shade of the teeth.

I have a gap – should I have it filled?

If a tooth is missing, or needs extracting and the space needs to be filled, there are several ways to fill the gap that is left. In some cases it is important to try to replace any missing teeth in order to balance the way your jaw bites. If you have several missing teeth, the remaining teeth are under more pressure, which can lead to broken fillings or even jaw problems.

How can my dentist fill the gap?

There are several options available to fill the gap.  These include implants , bridges and partial dentures . At your consultation appointment we will explain these choices so that you are able to make an informed decision as to what is most appropriate for you.

> Share Page
2014 © White House Dental, Site Design by Emotio
The White House Blog