Cosmetic Dentistry – achieving a healthy smile

November 2017

In the modern age of social media, people are increasingly more aware of their appearances and how it impacts on their daily life. Modern dentistry has adapted to these increasing demands, with the development of various “tooth coloured” options for restoring teeth to their natural form and appearance.

The original white fillings which date back to the 1960’s had issues with strength and longevity. With the introduction of light curing, advances in bonding technology and the improvement in the composite resin material, white fillings, today have become a reliable alternative to silver amalgam fillings.

Dental crowns have also evolved over the years as cosmetic dentistry has become more important. Crowns originally were made from gold, but with the demand for something white, there was a move to porcelain fused to metal crowns. With these crowns, the metal provided underlying strength, whilst the porcelain provided for a white tooth-like appearance. However because there is metal under the porcelain there would sometimes be a dark shadow or ugly, black lines near the gum margin. Often the metal would become visible if the porcelain chipped or wore thin (see images below).

cosmetic dentistry - porcelain fused to metal crowns - black linecosmetic dentistry - porcelain fused to metal crowns with metal visible

At Dr Lester Mark’s dental practice in Endeavour Hills, most crowns today are made from a new material called e.max or lithium disilicate which is a glass ceramic. The advantages of this material are that it is has no metal, yet is strong, has very similar appearance to tooth enamel and can be bonded to the tooth. This allows the crown to be thinner than porcelain fused to metal crowns, which means less tooth structure needs to be cut away when preparing the tooth. This results in a stronger tooth in the long term.

“Preservation of tooth structure is the ultimate goal in modern dentistry.”

As these crowns have no metal, they are more translucent than porcelain fused to metal crowns and  have a more natural appearance.

cosmetic dentistry - e.max crownscosmetic dentistry - porcelain crowns

Porcelain veneers have become fashionable in recent times as a longer lasting solution to chipped front teeth or fillings. They can replicate the natural appearance of worn, decayed or broken teeth and can also help to align some minor crowding or crooked teeth to improve their appearance.

Cosmetic dentistry is not just about teeth. The gums and their appearance are also an important part of a healthy looking smile. It is important to maintain clean teeth and healthy gums through daily brushing and flossing as well as periodic professional cleaning. Diseased gums can look red, swollen and detach from the tooth, leaving unsightly black spaces.

Other important considerations in cosmetic dentistry today are advances in teeth whitening procedures and orthodontics, especially since the development of technologies like Invisalign.

For enquiries about cosmetic dentistry whether it be about white fillings, porcelain crowns, porcelain veneers, onlays, bridges, teeth whitening or orthodontics, please call Dr Lester Mark’s dental practice in Endeavour Hills on 9700 6088 to make an appointment for a consultation.

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