Cosmetic Dentistry is a popular term for making teeth look ‘nice’. For us, it conjures up the image of the over-white California big tooth smile which is reminiscent of ‘fridge doors’ and bright red lipstick.
We prefer the term ‘Aesthetic Dentistry’.
Most of our patients do not want everyone to know they have had crowns and veneers. They want their teeth to look ‘nice’ but ‘natural’.
It is now possible to use ‘aesthetic materials’ for all fillings, veneers, crowns, bridges and implants.
In 1987 Mr Duthie was introduced to a milled ceramic material which would do all these things. Unfortunately the technology at the time was costing so much that each restoration would have cost over £1000 just to make! It took a German and a Swiss scientist 15 years to perfect a commercially viable method of using this material to produce restorations which could be superior to anything else available. In 2003, the advent of the Pentium 4 computers allowed laser camera and milling technology previously used only in the aerospace industry to become commercially viable and we started using this immediately.
The restorations are called CEREC and we use them for 95% of the aesthetic dentistry we do which requires a laboratory technique. They are made on the premises and we finish the artwork by hand in the surgery. This gives us the ability to match the teeth as well as possible. We use the material for large restorations in the back teeth as most patients prefer the natural colour. Ceramic is used for the insides of jet engines, brake pads and the tiles on the space shuttle. In the correct dimension and designs it is strong enough to withstand the biting forces in back teeth. Unlike conventional porcelains, the material has the same wear resistance as enamel so is ideal for rebuilding bites and also for single teeth.
Paramount in the provision of good dental practice is the concept of ‘minimal interventive dentistry’.
Many ‘cosmetic’ restorations can be done with the newer nano-composites. These are ‘direct’ restorations and cheaper than CEREC. Once a defect has reached a certain size then CEREC becomes necessary but it has the advantage of complying with the concept of ‘minimal intervention’ by being designed to replace only the missing part without further destructive drilling