New Year – New Smile

NEW YEAR – NEW SMILE – Yeah baby!

What price a beautiful smile? More people are looking for improvements to their teeth – is it a good idea?

survey done in 2017 indicates that around 40% of adults in the UK are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth, and around 50% of the UK population are considering at least one cosmetic dental procedure to improve the look of their teeth or smile.

This approach seems to be especially popular with younger people, with a separate study indicating that more people under the age of 34 visit their dentist for cosmetic procedures than go to see them for check-ups.

For those unhappy with the way that their teeth look, there are various procedures that can be performed; some of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments include:

TOOTH WHITENING

Where the teeth are treated with chemicals (and sometimes light) to remove stains and lighten the shade. Some treatments are done over the course of several week and take a few appointments and some are done within the same day, depending on the type of procedure carried out.

DENTAL VENEERS

A tooth-coloured custom-made shell is placed over the tooth or teeth to improve their appearance. These can be made from porcelain or a composite bonding material and are designed to offer a natural-looking layer over the front of the teeth that can last for between 5-20 years.

ALIGNMENT OR TOOTH STRAIGHTENING

Where teeth may be slightly misaligned, crooked or have gaps. Usually using some type of braces, the treatment can take many months, or even years, as the teeth need to have gentle pressure applied over time to move them into the desired position.

There are different types of adult braces that can be used for this type of treatment; read more about them here.

REPLACEMENT OF MISSING TEETH

The replacement of missing teeth may bring considerable benefits to the appearance of the smile. Careful planning and communication is always required.

THE COST OF COSMETIC DENTISTRY

Cosmetic dental treatments are not usually available under many care plans or systems and so patients choosing them will need to pay for the procedures privately.

The cost varies widely depending on the type of treatment and the dentist performing the procedure, the location of the clinic or practice, the materials used (e.g. porcelain veneers are more expensive than those made from composite bonding material) and the extent of the treatment required.

Some more costly treatments, such as fitting porcelain veneers, can run into many thousands of dollars or pounds, so it’s understandable that patients have high expectations of their cosmetic dental treatments when they are paying so much for the procedure to be done.

WHEN COSMETIC DENTISTRY GOES WRONG

All dental procedures have a level of risk attached, and that is true of cosmetic procedures too – the treatment may not bring about the desired result. However, sometimes dentists also make mistakes when treating patients which mean that the patient is left with significant pain, damage to their teeth or oral health.

They may be seriously out of pocket too, especially if the negligence of their dentist means that they require more dental work to rectify the mistake. Sometimes, the damage may even be permanent and cannot be fixed or restored.

If this happens, it isn’t just the physical pain, discomfort and inconvenience that accompanies dental negligence, it can also have a big impact on patients psychologically and emotionally too, as it is their appearance and it can have a big impact on someone’s confidence and their daily life.

Clearly honesty and good communication BEFORE treatment is crucial to increase the chances of a satisfactory result.

This article illustrates the value of a review before leaping headlong into a legal case. A good lawyer will consult a dental Expert Witness such as myself, for advice.

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Dr Stephen Bray 2020

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