Thursday, 5 July 2012

Would You Like Nice Smile?

Lets be honest who wouldn't like a nice radiant smile. Yet if someone said to you so what would you like to change about your smile to make you really happy,  it is often difficult to be precise. Most people start with the words well "whiter would be nice......"  but then often struggle to identify exactly what other changes they would like to make to their smile. Teeth whitening is a good place to start but only takes you so far if you are really determined to improve your smile.

When considering cosmetic dentistry assess your
smile from  several angles not just the front.

Getting the best out of a cosmetic dentistry  is all  about communication and the more you are able to tell your dentist about your goals, the more likely they are to be able to deliver a result that you will love.

Most good dentists will be happy to set aside time for a cosmetic dental consultation appointment  to discuss your aims for treatment and discuss how you might achieve them.  Here are a few tips that you might make it easier to prepare for the appointment.

1. take a photo of your smile from the front and from an angle of around 30 degrees to the left and right. If you find it difficult to conjure up a natural smile try saying the letter  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. When we assess our own smile we tend to look at ourselves in the mirror, very few people stand directly in front of you when they are talking to you so your smile does not have to be perfectly symmetrical. the offset views are more likely to be a representation of what people see when they speak to you.

2.  look at the pictures on a  monitor or as a print out- we are used to seeing ourselves in a mirror and it has been shown that in time we filter the view that we have of ourselves. A photo is the reverse of how you look in a mirror so very often this view makes things more noticeable to you.

3. write down what you see that you like about your smile in each picture, this helps your dentist to understand what features of your smile need to be preserved and carried forwards

4. write down the things that seem to be out of place or incorrect to you, this helps us to understand the priorities as you see them. Sometimes it is simply not possible to have everything on our wish list so identifying the changes that are  most important to you is the key.

5. Do not ever pull your lips back with your fingers to take the photo or do any kind of cosmetic assessment, after all we don't normally walk around pulling our lips back.  Remember smiles should look great when we are living life NOT when we are studying them in a mirror. Great cosmetic dentistry should be subtle and give you confidence rather than attract attention as is often seen in "celebrity smile makeovers"

If you try this let me know how you get on.....

Monday, 30 January 2012

Cosmetic Dentistry In A New Era

Its been a while since I last blogged on all things dental and cosmetic. Finding time over the last 12 months has proved challenging to say the least but we are back! So what has changed since I last wrote here?
Probably the the biggest shift in cosmetic dentistry  that I haev noticed  seems to be towards the idea called ABB.   Or Align Bleach & Bond.  As a dentist who subscribes to a minimally invasive approach wherever possible this shift makes me very happy.

There is a ( thankfully) growing realisation within dentistry that if we move the teeth towards a more optimal position first. The following stages of aesthetic or cosmetic treatment requires less or even no removal of healthy tooth tissue at all.
I have written a lot about  aligning teeth for cosmetic purposes in adults.  Generally we are looking to make small to medium moves to a few teeth and specifically looking to avoid reorganising the back teeth. Inman Aligner and   6 Month Smiles  are the two big brands in this area at the moment.

Just as it sounds - teeth whitening, either a few shades lighter to wind the clock back a few years or deep bleaching for the whitest possible shade

Resin bonding is the use of colour matched highly aesthetic filling material to change the shape of your teeth. While not suitable for everyone it can be a great alternative to porcelain veneers. Resin bonding has advantages and disadvantages with we will chat more about in future. But if you have a specific question ow please leave a comment or e-mail us at the practice.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Inman Aligner Before and After Result

I just thought I would share a nice Inman Aligner result with you. This is a treatment that we recently completed at our Dental Practice in Edinburgh. The treatment  was provided following an initial  consultation where we found out that the main concern was  the crowded front teeth .
The view on the right is taken in a mirror and illustrates the crowding of the front teeth rather well. We discussed all of the available treatment options which included traditional cosmetic dentistry, Inman Aligners, fixed train track style braces, Invisalign or similar Clear Braces.  Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages and I believe it is really important to consider every option before starting treatment. After careful consideration and a good discussion about all of the options our patient opted to have the Inman Aligner treatment.

Here is the final photograph of the teeth after treatment, it was a result that both we and the patient were delighted with.   If you are curious if your smile might be suitable for an Inman Aligner we are always happy to look at photographs by e-mail and reply with our initial thoughts. Just visit our dedicated Inman Aligner Edinburgh web site  to find out how to do this and see a few more before and after examples.

Have a great week!


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Future Of Cosmetic Dentistry

Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you plenty of smiles and only pleasant dental experiences.

I have been fortunate to enjoy a few conversations in the last 4 -5 weeks with both patients and colleagues that makes me think that the future of Cosmetic Dentistry is changing. The change may be coming from within dentistry its self but  I also think it is a wider phenomenon.

Whether this is the effect of so called "austerity" Britain or just a realisation that on planet earth we need to conserve our resources,  it seems that  many  people are looking to achieve more with fewer resources in all areas of their lives and dentistry appears to be no exception.

In the heyday of full on cosmetics as typified by extreme type makeover programmes, we saw porcelain veneers  and crowns being fitted like they were going out of fashion. If the teeth were not in the right position, then porcelain (from which these items are usually made) could sort the proble
m out. The only down side is that whenever you prepare a tooth for a crown or prepare it heavily for a veneer then you run a risk of killing the nerve inside the tooth. Depending on whose research you believe  between 5 and 15% of all teeth prepared this way will eventually die. So it is little wonder that more and more patients and dentists have been asking what the alternatives to crowns or porcelain veneers are.

Please don't misunderstand me,  porcelain veneers are not intrinsically bad and if they are well placed and delicately prepared they can produce fabulous long lasting results. In patients prone to tooth staining they may indeed be the best restoration for the job but in many other cases resin bonding which adds highly polishable white filling material to the teeth can achieve similar results.
In situations where teeth are a long way out of position more patients are tending to align the teeth first to improve their overall position before they have the final veneers or bonds placed. This in turn reduces how much tooth needs to be removed. Though it may add 12-18 weeks to treatment time, is this really an issue when you are looking fro results to last for years and years?

Either way our practice goals is  to discuss all available options with our patients and the nature of those conversations is changing. In the past many people came to see us asking  specifically for porcelain veneers but after careful consideration of all of the options many patients chose either  short term orthodontics like the Inman Aligner or  Resin  Bonding as their ideal solution. Many more of our conversations now start with us being asked   about resin bonding and Inman aligners, a real change  from a few years ago...... maybe the good news about minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry is  spreading. 

My Tip
Be sure you look at every option before choosing a treatment

Think how you wlould like your smile to look. 
Now look at what you want to change about your smile
Then should  ask what are all of the ways  this  can be achieved?


Saturday, 4 December 2010

Fake or Real Cosmetic Dentistry?

I have just returned from a very enjoyable day at a conference focusing on the concept of Bio-aesthetic dentistry. This is the complicated way of describing what we aim for at my dental practice in Edinburgh namely improving the lives and smiles of our patients without aggressive drilling away of otherwise healthy teeth. It was also reassuring to find a room full of people that feel the same way . As part of the day I was reminded of a very powerful 60 second video by the manufacturers of the Dove range of soaps and cosmetics, that I first saw a few years ago. I think it is as powerful today as when it was released in 2005. Take a look and see what you think.....

 It serves as a timely reminder that in the field of cosmetic dentistry, aesthetic dentistry or whatever you actually want to call the process of enhancing and improving a smile that we need to keep our aims grounded in reality. More importantly it reminds us that almost every cover shot that we see on glossy magazines has been digitally manipulated in some way so these highly altered images are not the best benchmark by which to judge any part of ourselves. Don't get me wrong I think that enhancing any aspect of ones self  or situation with which we are unhappy can be a positive and life affirming thing to do, be it eating healthily, a new hairstyle, drinking less alcohol, exercising more or indeed improving a smile. I simply believe that chasing a false image of perfection may not be route to happiness.

So if we want to improve our smile ( which is really the only area where I feel qualified to comment ) what can we learn from this? I can only speak for myself  but, for me the answer is that the medias portrayal of perfection can be an illusion and I think it highlights the importance of realising that any cosmetic treatment is done for ourselves and not for others.  If you start from this point your chances of having a great outcome that you love is greatly enhanced.
What do you think?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Smile Makeover Tips From An Edinburgh Dentist

A smile makeover can mean many things to many people from changing just a single tooth to changing them all.  Most patients that come to see me have an idea in their head of what they wish. I am often asked for a specific treatment for example Teeth Whitening, Inman Aligner, 6 Month Smiles or Porcelain veneers.  These requests are  very often the result of hours of web based research. As a dentist  I am always pleased to find that my patients already know  a lot about the treatments that they are looking for as this is a great way to move towards a situation where you can make a really well informed choice of the right treatment for your mouth.

Ironically none of us really wants any of the above treatments, what we really want is the results that the treatments can bring,  be it improved confidence or simply  a better appearance in photographs. So I often  find the best place to start is to discuss in some detail what  results my patients hope to achieve. After that we  carry out a detailed point by point assessment of all aspects of our patients dental health. the aim here is to  look at  how we can create a smile that our patients will love while maintaining or better still improving their overall dental health.   

So to get the best out of any cosmetic treatment a great tip is to begin with the end in mind. By being clear about what you really want to change you can  aim to have the least amount of treatment  to achieve your goals.

Here are just a few questions that might help......

  • What do you notice most about your smile good and bad - tells us what things we need to preserve
  • When are you most aware of these features - can shed light on hidden problems that only show eg in photos
  • If you could change just one thing what would it be - helps us to prioritise

Here are 3 more questions that I am always keen to hear my patients views on
  • How do you feel about the colour of your teeth
  • How do you feel about the shape of your teeth
  • How do you feel about the position of your teeth

If you have a cosmetic problem that you would like to know more about why not drop us a line at our Edinburgh Dental Practice 





Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Kinder Than Porcelain Veneers, Faster Than Orthodontics?

There is a new idea catching hold in main stream cosmetic dentistry and to be honest, it is a change that is long overdue. In my  career to date as a  preventive dentist and a cosmetic dentist I regularly have had to balance my patients desire for a lovely smile versus my own personal view that we should always treat healthy tooth tissue as precious. For more than 15 years the team at Craigentinny have taken the view that that we should avoid  drilling away tooth  if at all possible. As a result  I have on many occasions declined to carry out treatment that patients have requested when it  would involve grinding away significant quantities of  a  tooth and lead to what I believe is  long term damage or complications.

You see,  when a tooth is prepared for a crown  there is a 5 - 15% chance that the nerve in that tooth will die at some point in future. And if the nerve dies then a root treatment becomes necessary. So when an alternative exists that is kinder to the  tooth  its seems to me a no brainer that we should look seriously at this option. As a result in the last 10 years I have carried out a lot of resin bonding rather than place veneers or occasionally crowns for my patients. Resin Bonding  usually requires little or no removal of the underlying healthy tooth and as such is completely reversible. Indeed resin bonding is so conservative that very often we are able to complete it with no need for injections or anaesthetics. A real winner for my more nervous patients.

As a treatment Resin Bonding or Composite veneers as they can be known, matches crowns or porcelan veneers for speed as they can usually be completed in one or two visits. Resin bonding does not suit everyone. It is a bit more prone to gathering stain so smokers probably should consider alternatives, that said in normal use any minor staining is easily polished away. This simple before  and after series  from a few years ago shows just what can be achieved. The cost was significantly less than using poreclain veneers to achieve a similar result and my patient was delighted.  Better still the natural teeth were completely untouched. Today we  may well treat this lady differently as we have fast orthodontics available with  the  Inman Aligner  or 6 Month Smiles however as the resin bonding can be stripped off back to the natural tooth at any time this patient  still has these options available to her. If we had chosen to place 6 veneers that flexibility would have been lost. Don't get me wrong veneers and crowns are still a great option for the right patient, and I still provide a lot of these treatments  but  if you do nothing else before having some cosmetic dentistry carried out, please do make sure that you consider all of your options, their advantages and disadvantages before starting.
What do you think is the best way to enhance a smile?