Looking for a Good Cosmetic Dentist? There’s a lot to consider
Why see a cosmetic dentist?
If you are searching cosmetic dentist then most likely you are looking to improve, enhance or totally transform your smile.
We hope by reading this short article you will be a little more aware of cosmetic dentistry: some of the great things that can be achieved, but also you’ll have a better perspective of both the upsides and downsides.
Why choose Dr Workman to look after you?
Not only is Dr Workman a very good dentist, he has genuine caring nature and always makes sure you feel truly looked after. This is why he has such a loyal following of, families, young professionals right through to our older generation. With over 12 years experience, he is young, passionate, great at what he does and has an excellent aesthetic eye. If you would like a dental professional you can really trust, who places your health, happiness and comfort as an absolute priority, then you would be hard pushed to look any further. If you have typed ‘dentist near me’ then our state of the art Maroubra dental practice won’t be far away.
Are you thinking about having some cosmetic dentistry?
When we sit down at a consultation, some of the things we will ask include the following:
(It would be a good idea to think about your answers before coming in to see Dr Jamie/ or whichever cosmetic dentist you choose)
- What do you like about your teeth?
- What don’t you like about your teeth?
- What’s the first thing you notice about your teeth?
- What is your ideal outcome?
- Who’s teeth do you like and why?
It can be useful to think in terms of:
Tooth position- crowding or gaps
Smile and Lip profile
Prominent or receded gums
When answering these questions, it can be good to go through a range of photos of yourself as well as looking in the mirror, since they often capture different angles and light.
Dr Jamie’s Cosmetic Treatment Philophosy
Let’s pass over to the man himself to tell us a little more about his cosmetic dental philosophy:
“My approach to dentistry be it cosmetic or in the field of general dentistry has the same basic principles.
I’m not a fan of cutting teeth unless it’s necessary (and admittedly it is a lot of the time), but wherever possible, we should work with and enhance nature. The problem is that once you take a ‘bur’ to a tooth and start shaving it down, that tooth is always going to need a restoration.
If the tooth has a veneer it will always need a veneer.
If it has a filling or a crown, the same applies.
Add to this the fact that nothing lasts forever and it means quite simply that whatever you have done, will at some point in the future chip, break, fail and need replacing.
When this happens the next filling, veneer or crown that replaces it will be a little bigger, and have a little less tooth to bond onto.
You only need to do this a few times before you can start to run into problems. Therefore conserving as much natural tooth as possible has, and will always be, my preference – as such I lean towards straightening teeth, teeth whitening and cosmetic bonding where appropriate.
Of course, that’s not always what the patient wants or indeed needs but it’s often my starting point for the conversation.
Don’t get me wrong – a set of Emax veneers beautifully created by a master dental technician will look phenomenal and may be the way to go, but everybody should be aware of all the options from the cheapest to the most expensive and the combinations in between.
Each has its pros and cons so it’s about me relaying this information, so that you can make an informed choice about your treatment, knowing that there’ll be no surprises in the future.
At our Maroubra Practice I only work with Australian technicians to ensure the quality of any lab work is the highest possible standard; nothing will be sent overseas and I’ll ensure that you’re happy with any treatment I provide.”
What is a cosmetic dentist?
A cosmetic dentist is a dentist who like the name suggests focuses on improving the look or as we say “aesthetics” of a patient’s smile.
All dentists provide some level of cosmetic dentistry, such as replacing ugly fillings on front teeth or placing veneers or crowns to restore broken teeth.
That said, in most cases cosmetic dentistry forms a small part of their day-to-day clinical practice.
You may have heard it said ‘repetition is the mother of all skill’ and any dentist who focuses on a particular area is going to improve above and beyond the average in that particular aspect.
Being a “cosmetic dentist” is a self-classification and anyone claiming it, needs to be able to deliver – so be careful who you choose.
It is not a speciality per se, as for example a prosthodontist who has completed a recognized 3-year post graduate degree in advanced dentistry. It’s more of a focused area of practice.
What treatments do cosmetic dentists do?
There are many ways to improve your smile and most cosmetic dentistry involves a combination of approaches to get the best result for the patient: fitting in with their budget and their expectations.
For example a patient may have nice straight lower teeth, but may have slightly crooked upper teeth, possibly with some old fillings and their teeth may have lost some of the length due to wear.
The cosmetic dentist may straighten the teeth with Invisalign first, perform in chair power bleaching to whiten the teeth and then place 8 porcelain veneers on the top teeth to transform their smile.
Another patient may benefit just from orthodontics and teeth whitening, or yet another, just some simple cosmetic bonding to the teeth, another may require an implant as part of it to replace a missing tooth – you get the picture.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to cosmetic dentistry: it needs to be tailored to the individual.
The range of treatments that a cosmetic dentist keeps in their armoury and can choose from include:
- Cosmetic bondings
- Porcelain veneers
- Composite veneers
- Dental crowns
- Dental bridges
- Dental implants
- Gum procedures (to raise, lower or even out the gum line)
- Teeth reshaping and contouring
- Teeth whitening
- Invisible aligners such as ‘invisalign’ or ‘clear and correct’
- White fillings
What will happen, should you choose to get a consultation?
Dr Jamie will take a detailed history of your teeth, take photographs, both inside and outside your mouth.
X-rays are often required to complete the full picture and may be necessary.
He will examine all your teeth, gums, smile, bite and lips and then sit down and find out what it is you’d like to change and what you’d like to achieve.
His first priority (though you may not like it!) will always be checking and, if necessary restoring good ‘health’ to your mouth.
‘Just give me the teeth whitening you say!’ but the reality is that complications and a poor final outcome could arise if some issues aren’t treated before embarking on cosmetic treatment.
New veneers may look great now, but if the underlying gum disease wasn’t looked after, a few years down the track the story will be quite different.
What problems can a cosmetic dentist fix?
Treating a smile can be as simple as replacing a discoloured filling on a chipped tooth with a properly layered restoration.
It should mimic, as closely as possible, the natural layers of the tooth, allowing the light to reflect just like real enamel, thus blending beautifully into the smile.
On the other hand, it could be as complex as a full mouth rehabilitation smile makeover in which the patient needs the height of their teeth built up after years of neglect, thus changing the whole aesthetic and functional makeup of the mouth.
Using the combination of the treatments outlined above, the following common complaints can be successfully treated:
- Yellow, discolored or dark teeth
- Poor previous dentistry
- Old fillings
- Broken teeth
- Missing teeth
- Worn teeth
- Misaligned and Crowded teeth
- Gaps in your teeth
- Receded or uneven gums
- Gummy smile
Dr Jamie also has the advantage of his facial aesthetic training, so can help you enhance and frame your smile using lip fillers. If, of course, this is something you would like to consider.
Does Dr Jamie carry out all these treatments himself?
He does a lot of them, however he appreciates highly qualified specialists in their given fields so he works closely with a team of dental specialists to ensure the ‘best possible outcome’ in more challenging circumstances.
Cosmetic dentistry and social media??
We have all seen gleaming white smiles on Facebook and Instagram, even Dr Jamie who by all accounts has a pretty good set of pearly whites finds himself in awe of some of the smiles he sees.
However, reality is not always as it seems: apps now can give you a 6 pack, a boob job, a nip and a tuck, you name it.
So take a pinch of salt when you’re looking at teeth on the glossy screen: perfection doesn’t exist, but in the same breath, you will be amazed at what cosmetic dentistry can actually do!
“I particularly would like to mention here, teeth whitening… If an in-chair dental procedure can’t achieve 10 shades in 10 minutes with the strongest of dental power bleaches in the chair – do you really think it’s possible that an Internet kit from China would be successful?
I have a ‘bee in my bonnet’ here, so I am looking to release my own teeth whitening products later this year.
The dentist based product, will be a home kit using the same Australian quality peroxide gel that I use in the surgery but with trays that you make up at home.
The results in the trials have been excellent so if you would like us to keep you posted, please send me your details.”
How do you choose a good cosmetic dentist?
This step is absolutely critical in the long-term health of your teeth.
Only a dentist really and truly knows good dentistry- it’s not just that it looks good on the outside, but your teeth need to be correctly prepared on the inside. They need to be bonded, appropriately with the correct materials ensuring that your teeth function well, not just in the short term, but the long term.
These factors require a careful approach and an appreciation of many different factors. That’s why a lot of dentists here in Australia ‘Wince a little when they see patients who have had cosmetic treatment overseas’.
It might look good now, but we have seen teeth chip, break, implants fail, veneers come off, etc. Fixing these problems can take significant amounts of time and be very expensive.
Of course, I’m not saying these things can’t happen to Australian dentists but we’re always thinking about potential problems and how to avoid them – plus, we’re here, on hand, should anything actually go wrong.
Still, you should check out any dentist who you are considering for your cosmetic work:
Do they belong to one of the various associations or academies?
How long have they been practicing?
What additional training and qualifications do they have?
Then look at a number of their ‘before and after’ cases.
Read online reviews and then when you think you have found the right dentist, book in for a consultation and see how you go.
“I have a minimal approach to my cosmetic work and my costs reflects this. If something requires more advanced dentistry or aspects that I feel would be best managed by a specialist then I have a team of dentists that I know and trust to look after my patients.
In my opinion, you should always be presented with options- minimal cosmetic options such as whitening and bonding, complimented by Invisalign or orthodontic treatment right through to full mouth porcelain veneers and crowns.”
Get the cosmetic dentist to guide you through all the options, give their opinion and ask as many questions as you can; this needs to be an informed decision. If you are not sure or entirely happy; get a copy of all your images, x-rays etc and seek a second opinion… “I would if I had any doubt”.
What are the risks of cosmetic dentistry?
There are lots of risks with cosmetic dentistry and they are made all the more poignant by the costs involved.
Just remember, the less you mess with, the less that can go wrong: it’s this fact that you need to weigh up when making your decision.
And you need to be aware of the all the possible consequences – don’t think that once you have had it done- that’s it.
Things will break, chip and fail – unless the treatment is carried out properly – and even then, it could be inevitable- if, for example, the dentist doesn’t makes you a splint afterwards to prevent grinding on your veneers. And…don’t forget to wear it, because, if you don’t, you will considerably increase your chances of a problem issue
Don’t floss and again your risk of problems will increase.
Dentists who always do porcelain veneers for example get great results – why?
Because they can change the colour of all the teeth and not have to worry about matching one or more to your existing teeth.
“But this is not generally something that I would do for a 20 something year old who is then going to require 2-3 replacement sets over their lifetime and believe me cutting off the existing veneers is not easy – each time would require me to go a little deeper on the tooth. It’s almost inevitable that some of these replacements will end up needing crowns.”
If a veneer debonds, it can often be stuck back in; if it chips or breaks, we can sometimes bond composite to repair it and sometimes it will need to be removed and replaced… it just depends.
The risks of cosmetic dentistry can be split up into components i.e. risks for veneers, crowns, braces, Invisalign, implants, bridges.
So check out these pages for more information.
What is the cost of cosmetic dentistry?
As mentioned cosmetic dentistry could encompass something as simple as whitening and restoring a chipped tooth to blend beautifully in with your other teeth or involve implants, Invisalign and multiple veneers.
As such it’s impossible to give a cost or even a price range, but could extend from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands.
An implant and crown would set you back about $5,000; a course of Invisalign or braces between $8,000-$10,000.
Each crown costs about $1500-2000 and a little less than this per veneer.
Home whitening costs about $500,while ‘in chair’ power whitening nearer $1000. A composite veneer could be $300-700.
As with all costs, things will vary from dentist to dentist and location to location.
Please don’t go for the cheapest cosmetic dentist; it simply isn’t worth it when you are making such an investment!
- Dr Jamie’s education site; Jamiethedentist.com where you can hear him speak and read about TOPIC in a lot more detail.
- These other excellent resources: