For many years, British dentists have been trained in well-founded and so-called ‘evidence’ based dentistry, in which research has been carried out to establish the most appropriate method of treatment for patients.
The establishment of dentistry within the National Health Service has proved greatly beneficial to patients in many ways, but can be a stumbling block for those patients seeking elective treatments.
These days people not only see a dentist because they need to, they do so because they want to.
With the trend toward patient-led treatments such as teeth whitening, British dentistry has experienced something of a paradigm shift in terms of how ‘non-need’ dentistry is carried out in an ethical and comprehensive manner.
This is of particular relevance when long-term healthcare needs are at the top of the dentist’s list of priorities.
The meteoric rise of cosmetic dentistry has engendered many mixed opinions. Is teeth whitening to improve someone’s confidence any less of a health benefit than a silver filling?
Nowadays, we can deliver quality cosmetic dentistry that is not only predictable but also minimally invasive, and it is surely more desirable to have cosmetic treatment that is not to the detriment of your overall oral health.
“Ah but what about the costs?” you say, “We are in a recession after all”. In fact these days, quality cosmetic dentistry is good value and more accessible than ever before.
Today, dentistry is all about preservation: the primary goal is always to preserve the patient’s natural teeth and avoid, where possible, the need for synthetic replacements. It is with this principle in mind that a plethora of new orthodontic, teeth whitening and adhesive treatments have been created.
Through a comprehensive consultation, your cosmetic dentist will be able to advise you as to the method that is right for you and this complete consultation will help to create a bespoke treatment plan tailored to your needs.
The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (www.bacd.com) is at the forefront of promoting minimally invasive dentistry and continually strives to inform, educate and support like-minded dentists in their quest to improve the smiles of their patients. Do not forget however, that despite these treatments being simpler and more cost effective than ever before, veneers and crowns may still be required on occasion, in order to obtain a flawless result.
The following list explains just some of the treatments that provide less costly and more accessible ways to improve your smile whilst facilitating the preservation of your natural teeth.
· Clear Braces – Can be used to move teeth over a period of months, often in tandem with other treatments such as whitening. Costs vary and are dependant on the nature and quantity of tooth movement required. Nowadays, clear braces costs can cost as little as £250.
· The Inman Aligner – A removable brace that requires wearing for no less than 16 hours per day for maximum effect. A revolutionary device that can move your teeth to the desired position in as little as 6 weeks. Costs tend to vary from £1,000-£2,500
· Shot-term fixed braces – Systems such as “six-month-smiles” are proving popular as they have a quicker movement time than conventional systems. Costs also tend to vary and are similar to the Inman Aligner.
· Home Whitening – Can be incorporated with clear brace systems and used at night to very good effect. This traditional method of whitening is something most dentists will offer and as such can be very competitively priced. Costs typically range from £200-500
· In-Surgery Whitening – Systems that use high intensity light systems (often known as laser whitening) can produce a rapid change in the colour of teeth. Costs vary by system used and are from £250-£750
· Combination Whitening – By using a mixture of the two systems of home and surgery whitening very predictable and marked results have been seen, which make a marked difference to a person’s appearance. Costs vary by system used and are from £450-£850
Beware beauty salon tooth whitening – while dental practices are licensed by the Care Quality Commission and dentists regulated by the General Dental Council, the salons are unregulated and consumers have no protection or recourse in the event of all too common ‘untoward incidents’.
· Adhesive dentistry has been used in the industry for some time to change the shape and to some degree the colour of your teeth by accurately bonding material to them. In the past this treatment had mixed results but dentists can now do this without causing any harm to the underlying tooth. This technique is often referred to as ‘composite bonding’ and requires a certain degree of training. The effects can be amazing but require review from time to time and may not last as long as other methods (although most are easy to modify if necessary). Prices can vary for this treatment, depending on the complexity.
A combination of the techniques listed above can produce incredible results that do not always necessitate the adjustment of your teeth usually required when fitting veneers and crowns. The cost of these new techniques is generally much less and you will often find dentists offering several treatments as a package. The most important thing is to discuss your exact needs with a cosmetic dentist who is both trained and experienced. Often this will be your general dentist, but in some cases you may need to see a specialist.
Remember that no two people are the same and so treatment time, feasibility and costs can vary. New cosmetic dental treatments mean that so called ‘A-list’ smiles are now available to the masses at a fraction of the cost, so if you feel that aesthetic dentistry can benefit you, don’t hesitate to go and find out more.
For more information go to www.bacd.com or discuss your options with an experienced cosmetic dentist.