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Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic-Bonding-Before-After

One of the joys of the 30 years that I have been in dentistry has been the improvement in techniques and the advance of the technology that we have got available to us. We can now fix people's teeth and make things healthier in a far more effective and measured fashion, and there is no doubt that to be able to achieve the same results, we do not have to drill or cut away healthy tooth material in quite the same way that we used to. Better materials, better glues, better techniques, more training, have all come together to improve the quality of care.

Needless to say, this increases the complexity of our work, but the benefit to the patient is simply healthier, better teeth, lasting for more of their life. This, to me, is fundamental. The days when people gave in and had dentures at retirement, hopefully, are going to be ever receding into the distance.

When I qualified, porcelain veneers had just been invented and, of course, everybody was doing them and everybody wanted them. I will discuss veneers in another blog, and they still very definitely have their place.However, there is now a brilliant technique available which can transform the appearance of teeth and be kinder to the tooth in the process. It is well-known that the first step in preparing a tooth for a porcelain veneer is to shave 1mm to 1.5mm of what is often healthy enamel from the front of the tooth. This is not necessarily good for the tooth and the decision to do it has to be done after a detailed conversation with the patient and we do now consider whether there is any alternative to this.

In teeth which are less heavily damaged, or less heavily stained, it is now possible to use modern plastic resin materials to build up the tooth and to change the shape of the teeth into something more aesthetic and pleasing to the eye. Quite often, we have patients come to us with very square blocky teeth that they have inherited, with spaces between them, or teeth that have perhaps worn heavily over their lifetime. Often, the best and most conservative way of helping the patient is to build the teeth up using the high-tech resins that we have available nowadays.

A quick word about resins.

Plastic filling materials have been with us for a long time. The original materials were very white, very opaque, very rough, they were not particularly life-like and they were very hard to polish. As a result, they picked up stains quickly and they rapidly discoloured.

Over the last 40 years, the technology has improved, the colour match is far, far more sophisticated now and the longevity, both aesthetically and physically, is up there with modern ceramics. The key is to have a dentist who knows what to do with them, because the way that the plastics can be used is fascinating as long as the right techniques are employed. We are now able to build up teeth in a day, perhaps after a course of tooth-whitening, which would normally take multiple visits, and significantly more expense, with veneers or crowns.

Above is an example of a case where we used resin bonding. The advantages to me are that we did very little drilling for the teeth, the treatment was carried out in a single day, and this was important to the patient because she had a wedding coming up, and now, three years later, they still look fantastic and the patient is absolutely delighted.

Mouths are hostile places and teeth are designed to cut food and both teeth and fillings will wear. Even porcelain crowns and veneers can chip and fail with age and one of the benefits of composite resin materials is that they can be added to and repaired quickly, efficiently and at a far reduced cost as compared to the replacement of a complete veneer. Using modern laboratory techniques, we can now gain predictable results with composite resin materials which give us the confidence to be able to use them as one of our frontline treatment for dental cosmetics.

If you would like to know more about cosmetic bonding, tooth bleaching or dental cosmetics, why don't you get in touch with us? We look forward to hearing from you.

Richard Hellen, BDS

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Sunday, 25 August 2019

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