Dr Tim Bradstock-Smith of The London Smile Clinic takes us through the some of the options available.
Everybody wants straight and even teeth but how many adults want to walk around with metal braces like Ugly Betty? Well fortunately there have been huge technological breakthroughs in recent years and there are now a huge range or rapid, invisible and economical orthodontic systems available. Minor cases can be treated with removable systems such as the Inman Aligner. This removable aligner has two spring-loaded aligner bows that gently 'squeeze' the front teeth into alignment.
The big advantage of the Inman Aligner is speed. It doesn't do everything but for crowded or protruding front teeth it works like a dream and is ridiculously fast. Most cases complete in two to three months, sometimes less.
Invisalign is another excellent option for those who want an invisible removable system. For more challenging cases though you will still need some form of fixed brace system. Incognito, the braces that are hidden on the inside have become increasingly popular.
But the most popular fixed system for adults is tooth-coloured braces. These are a conventional fixed system but with ceramic, tooth coloured brackets and even white wires. They are fast, discrete (not completely invisible) and excellent value.
Everyone's teeth are different and therefore whitening works differently on each individual. But if teeth are a little yellow or brown they tend to respond really well to teeth whitening. Whitening is only taking discolouration out of teeth, rather than painting them white so you'll only ever achieve a nice bright natural look, rather than a more fake-looking Hollywood white. In-chair 'laser' whitening and home whitening systems have recently been reformulated to comply with changes in EU regulations.
These new whitening systems are very safe and effective, but also cause a lot less sensitivity than whitening systems of the past. It's a good idea to think about maintaining white teeth with daily products such as specialist whitening toothpaste or mouthwash.
Used on a regular basis they will help to maintain the colour of your teeth, rather than needing to top the whitening more regularly . It's also well worth booking in for a hygiene appointment every 3-6 months for a thorough clean and check-up as that's the best way to maintain a long-lasting, healthy, clean smile.
Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made porcelain shells designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve their appearance. These veneers are bonded to the front of the teeth to change their colour, shape, size, or length.
Porcelain veneers resist stains and mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth. Veneers are often used to fix teeth that are discoloured, worn down, chipped, broken, misaligned, uneven and irregularly shaped. Getting veneers usually requires at least three trips to the dentist – one for a consultation and two to make and apply the veneers.
Veneers can look fantastic and are a long term solution to a number of cosmetic dental problems. It's important to remember that the process is a commitment as it is not reversible. So it's important to be 100 per cent confident in your dentist.
Look for dentists that are Accredited with the AACD or BACD as a starting point. It's important to see portfolios of previous work carried out by your dentist. Computer and 3D simulations of the proposed treatment will ensure a predictable result.
Veneers can look good for 10-15 years or more if they are well looked after. They do not require any special care but a good oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing daily, is essential.
If you would like more information on cosmetic dental procedures, visit the London Smile Clinic at www.londonsmileortho.com.