Aesthetic Dentistry

What would you change about your smile?

It is a good question – Grab a mirror – smile and ask yourself ‘If I could change anything about my teeth what would it be?’. The answer to this question we have asked many times can vary tremendously – some people have no interest in any changes and that is simply fine. Those who have interest vary from those wanting a complete make-over of their teeth to those only wanting to change colour or a gap.

We also encounter a quite common answer deflecting the question usually along the lines of ‘if I was younger’ or ‘I’m too old now’. These answers perhaps have relevance, but they are not a definitive stopping point, there are no age limits on wanting to look good.

‘So, I want to change something, where do I start?’

The first step is to come and see Dr Ellingham for a discussion. This discussion will involve not only speaking but several photographs to focus the discussion. We have lost count of the number of times we had an assumption of the issue only to find when discussing the photos, we were focusing on the wrong point. So much so that we let you decide what the issue is, sometimes there are many things to consider so we will guide the conversation towards numerous areas. In short, as an accredited aesthetic dental practitioner Dr Ellingham is aware of the numerous things that make up an aesthetic smile and how those things could be addressed.

‘So, what kind of things make a good-looking smile’

Without an overly detailed lecture on the subject, we can consider these main areas

  • Tooth proportion
  • Tooth alignment
  • Tooth colour

The order of this list is not important currently, in fact the last item is often the first thing to address and certainly the simplest for many teeth.

Without knowing anything about art, aesthetic or cosmetics you can tell certain things around the world look correctly in proportion. Teeth have a similar ideal proportion; individual teeth have an ideal height to width relation and the different teeth have an ideal proportion to their neighbours.

The alignment of the teeth is important for aesthetics and depending how much gum we show when smiling can have a profound influence on the aesthetic appearance. Aligning the teeth often allows us to address many things such as symmetry and tilt of the teeth. In fact, for the best aesthetic outcomes many people would benefit for alignment first.

Tooth wear

A major contributor to decreased aesthetics is something that often increases over time, one such problem is tooth wear. As we age, we suffer a certain amount of tooth wear. This wear can be greatly accelerated by grinding of our teeth and by loss of functional back teeth to do the chewing of our food (loss of back teeth means the fronts must do the job they weren’t designed for).

So as our teeth wear the shorter, they become, meaning they lose their proportions and are less visible as we speak. As a rule of thumb we expect to see a small amount of upper teeth at a resting mouth position and when we speak.

Addressing tooth wear is one of the most common issues we deal with at Lanark dental. It is also something that needs consideration of the level of wear and how many teeth are involved.

Commonly wear to the front teeth (that is the front 6 at the top or bottom – canine tooth to canine tooth) can be addressed only on those teeth. Wear further around the mouth and missing teeth requires a more in-depth approach and often addressing the missing teeth.

The way we start the work after determining your wishes is to create a prototype of the look we are after which you can trial in your mouth. It’s a temporary way to try before you buy, and we call it a Trial Smile. This is a version of the teeth rebuilt and repositioned which we duplicate over the top of you existing teeth in a liquid filling material which become solid. The trial smile is not stuck to your teeth and can be easily removed. This enables you to assess the look and importantly how it will feel.

Once we have the feed back from the trial, we can start the work to create the aesthetics we need. Repairing only worn front teeth can usually be done over the space of 8 weeks. Complex plans with tooth replacement and tooth movements will take up to 12 months of work; some of our work relies on response of the bone in your jaws and these things cannot be rushed.

If you want to know more call us to book a consultation 01555 662 441. If you are further afield we can do many things over video call such Whatsapp, again contact us to arrange.