Cosmetic dentistry: not just about aesthetics

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Beautiful teeth can make a dramatic change to a person’s appearance and can even negate the need for more invasive facial cosmetic procedures.

It’s only been in recent years that dentistry has been highlighted in a positive way, with people realising that cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about aesthetics – it’s also about enhancing a patient’s quality of life, outlook and self-confidence. In many cases creating a beautiful smile can be a life-changing event.

A smile can speak volumes about a person’s grooming habits, confidence, friendliness, approachability and even social status. Whether we like it or not, society judges a book by its cover. It’s a scientific fact, a part of nature, that human beings respond favourably to an attractive smile.

According to a study conducted by worldwide market research firm Harris Interactive, 94 percent of men and women said they notice a person’s smile before noticing their eyes, height, or their figure. Further to this it was revealed that 64 percent agreed that people with a nice smile are more outgoing, and 71 percent felt that having an attractive smile is important for making new friends.

Cosmetic dentistry offers both physical and psychological benefits. People with yellow, worn, crooked teeth tend to be self-conscious about their smile and cover their mouths in social situations, making them seem snobby, standoffish or unfriendly, whereas a dazzling smile can improve self-esteem and project an image of vitality and friendliness.

The procedures involved in a dental makeover depend on each individual patient. It can vary from simple tooth whitening to a full mouth restoration including porcelain veneers, crowns and dental implants. A relatively quick and simple way to improve the appearance of a smile is teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is now the most common dental procedure worldwide. One of the reasons it is so popular is that it offers predictable, noticeable results within a short period of time.

Porcelain veneers

Porcelain veneers are also a key aspect of a dental makeover. They can be used for a variety of aesthetic improvements, such as making teeth longer or shorter, filling in gaps, creating more space or changing the tooth shape. They offer natural looking, beautiful and strong teeth.

When performing a dental makeover, each individual patient’s face shape and facial features is taken into account. In the same way that a tall, thin woman usually avoids wearing long stripes so as not to emphasise her height, the shape and length of the teeth can be altered to complement the patient’s face. For example, longer teeth on a person with a short, round face will create a ‘vertical stripe’ and elongate the appearance of the face. Conversely, if a patient has a long face, shorter teeth will help balance facial proportions.

The shape of a person’s teeth can also add a feminine or masculine look to the face. Men typically have squarer, bolder teeth, while women have more oval teeth, giving a softer look. Porcelain veneers can alter the shape and appearance of teeth so that, for example, a male patient with small, oval-shaped teeth can have more angular, masculine-looking teeth.

Porcelain veneers can be used to make teeth thicker and therefore plump up the lips and ‘lift’ the mouth. In a lot of these cases improving the appearance of the smile with porcelain veneers achieves sufficient facial rejuvenation and can even negate the need for lip augmentation or dermal fillers to add volume to the face.

The importance of healthy teeth and gums

In addition to the aesthetics of a smile, healthy teeth and gums are important for overall health. There is a direct medical connection between oral health and systemic health. Studies show that people with periodontal disease have a substantially higher risk of heart disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and pre-term births.

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about improving a person’s appearance. It can also enhance their total wellbeing and outlook. There is nothing quite like the transformation from self-conscious to beaming with confidence.