Cosmetic Dentistry Dr Adam Alford Brisbane, Brisbane CBD, Toowong, Paddington and Northlakes

Cosmetic Dentistry is one of the catch-phrases of the dental professional in the 21st century. But what does it really entail? What are the possibilities for the patient?

Cosmetic Dentistry or Aesthetic Dentistry is the broad heading describing dental procedures that improve the appearance of the teeth.  In today’s age of improved technology and dental materials, there is a wide and varied range of options available to improve the appearance of a smile.  Stained, chipped, uneven, crooked, broken or missing teeth can be repaired or replaced.  It need not be an “Extreme Makeover”.  Sometimes just polishing the edges of worn front teeth can make a dramatic cosmetic impact without costing anything. Sometimes something as simple as replacing a metal filling with a tooth coloured filling material can make a difference with the appearance of the smile.  However, in all cosmetic dental treatment plans, it is very important for the dentist to keep functionality, and not just appearance, in mind..
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We feel that treatment plans for Cosmetic Dentistry should be dictated by the needs and wishes of the patient, rather than the profit figure for the dentist.  We outline all the treatment options available to a patient, with a reasonable estimate of various costs and life expectancy of the planned dental work.  Be guided by your dentist in terms of what is feasible and achievable for your particular situation.  However, ultimately, the final decision in any aspect of the treatment plan is the patients.  Some aspects of Cosmetic Dentistry can be expensive and it is important for patients not to feel pressured into undertaking any procedure that they feel uncomfortable with.

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The Cosmetic Dentristry Makeover

There are a number of treatment options available to dentists in improving a patient’s smile.  These dental procedures include:

Porcelain Veneers Dental Implants Teeth Whitening
Dental Crowns Orthodontic CEREC

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Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain Veneers are akin to false fingernails, they actually cover the front surface of the tooth.  The veneers are made from a strong and very durable ceramic (porcelain), that a dental technician builds up to match the shape and colour requirements of the patient.

We use porcelain as it is a hard wearing and a non-porous material. A shade can be created to match the surrounding teeth or improve the overall colour of teeth.  Porcelain veneers are often used in cosmetic situations where the front teeth are heavily broken down and/or filled.

The porcelain veneers not only improve the physical look of the teeth, but can also improve the strength of the teeth. The ceramic used is bonded to the underlying tooth structure.  The bonding is literally super-gluing the ceramic to the tooth and the glue forms a medium between tooth and ceramic which adds strength both to the teeth but also to the porcelain veneer.

In preparation, a very thin amount of tooth structure is removed.  Impressions are then taken, which are sent to a professional lab technician to make the porcelain veneer.  At the second appointment, the veneer is tried in and, if perfect in shade and fit, it is bonded to the tooth surface.

Porcelain Veneers enables the dentist to reshape, rebuild, straighten and modify teeth, without the need for orthodontics.  If well maintained, they will last for many years.

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Dental Crowns

Dental Crowns (sometimes referred to as Dental Caps) are single unit covers that are placed over heavily broken down, filled or root treated teeth.  They look and feel just like real teeth.  A crown literally wraps around the tooth just like a hat wraps around a head, thus strengthening the underlying tooth structure by holding it all together.

In certain situations, it is more preferable to crown front teeth rather than place porcelain veneers to achieve a desired cosmetic result.  For example, Dental Crowns can be used to cosmetically enhance the appearance of a tooth, as they are able to cover colour irregularities.

Crowns are made in a dental laboratory buy a Technician who uses moulds of the patient’s teeth taken by the Dentist.   Dental Crowns can be made from a variety of different materials, depending on the tooth involved, its position in the mouth, and sometimes on the preferences of the patient.  These materials include zirconia and porcelain, porcelain bonded to metal (this combines the strength of metal with the natural appearance of tooth coloured porcelain), or even gold alloy.

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Bridges are used to fill gaps permanently where teeth have been lost.  I explain dental bridges as being just like a bridge across a river.  There are two poles either side of a hanging structure.  The poles are the teeth either side of the gap, which are crowned, and the hanging structure is the false tooth.

Depending on the size of the gap, Bridges are a very successful fixed (meaning not removable like dentures) restoration.  The idea is that the gap is filled with a structure that is indiscernible form the other teeth surrounding the structure.

In certain circumstances, implants are a better alternative to Bridges.  This may be because the gap is too wide.  Or the teeth either side of the gap are considered to be virgin teeth, and to crown them would compromise the good condition of the natural tooth structure.


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Dental Implants

Dental Implants are described as a titanium screw which is placed into the bone in the space of the missing tooth.  The screw then bonds to the surrounding bone acting like a normal tooth root.  After a healing period, a crown is then custom made and screwed onto the dental implant. This process takes between 3-6 months from start to finish.

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Our Approach to Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry is about choices and personal opinion.  It is important that our patient’s are equipped with enough information to make thier own decision, based on what is right for them.


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