Which Dental Procedures Are Not Available From The NHS?

While many services, such as crowns, root canals and fillings are available on the NHS, many other services are not. The majority of these procedures fall under the realm of ‘cosmetic dentistry’; dental work to improve the appearance or comfort of your teeth and gums rather than an essential service for their health. Cosmetic dentistry includes procedures like dental implants, veneers and teeth whitening that are all available from your dentist. Read on to find out more about these additional services that your dentist can provide.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is the most permanent and long term solution to replace a lost or broken tooth, and is considered a significant improvement on the typical denture solution. Consisting of a titanium rod, a support collar and a crown, implants can be used to replace both single teeth and multiple adjacent teeth within a single fixture.

Initially the titanium rod is inserted into a prepared socket in the bone until it becomes fixed (a process known as osseointegration) before the support collar and crown are attached later on.

Once the dental implant is in place and is fully integrated within the jaw bone it will function exactly as a normal tooth would.

Veneers

Veneers can be used for several reasons in cosmetic dentistry; either to cover up stained or cracked teeth, or to correct the size of inter-dental gaps. They provide an excellent finish to the external surface of teeth and comfortably hide from view any aspect of your teeth that you’d rather not see.

The procedure for veneers can vary slightly but typically involves shaving away a layer of tooth equal in thickness to the veneer that will then be applied. The veneer is then fixed in place on the shaved surface of the tooth using dental cement.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is an extremely popular dental procedure, probably because it can quickly lead to a significant improvement in teeth appearance. Teeth whitening is particularly popular among those with dark or stained teeth but can be taken advantage of anyone who would like to brighten their smile.

The procedure involves the application of a bleaching gel, followed by a specialised light source to accelerate the whitening.

Other Procedures

In addition to the services detailed above, private dental care offers the chance to take advantage of the latest and best advancements in oral care, with high quality treatments available for standard procedures like bridgework root canals and tooth restoration.

 

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What is the difference between Dental Implants and Crowns?

If you have had filings, decay or have suffered trauma and wish to improve the appearance of your smile, then there are several options that are available. Two options are those of crowns and dental implants. So what is the difference between the two treatments? Below we explain why and when you should have a crown or dental implant.

Crowns

Crowns are often referred to as a cap and this perfectly describes their role. The crown acts as a cap to cover the tooth. The crown is made from strong acrylic and looks very much like a natural tooth. Crowns are used for a variety of reasons. When a tooth has suffered severe decay and there is not enough tooth left to bind a filling to it, then a crown is the next obvious choice. Another reason for using a crown include teeth that are discoloured, broken teeth due to trauma and uneven teeth. Crowns help to preserve the tooth that is left and look aesthetically pleasing. It is very important that good levels of oral hygiene are maintained when caring for a crown, as you need to preserve the tooth that is underneath the crown as well as the teeth that are situated either side.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is an artificial root that replaces the root of a natural tooth following decay or trauma, when the tooth needs to be removed. This is different to a crown, as the crown is simply the top part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth. An implant is the actual root that sits in the jawbone. Having a dental implant is more invasive than having a crown fitted, as the dental implant needs to be inserted into the jaw bone, where it will fuse and act as a natural tooth. This will then create a sturdy root and a solid foundation for a replacement crown, denture or bridge. Dental implants are the next best thing to having natural teeth. As they are secured firmly into the jaw, they will not move or rub the gums like dentures.

Crowns v Dental Implants

So to summarise, a dental implant and crown have very different jobs to perform. The crown is used for cosmetic reasons and to preserve what is left of a natural tooth. Dental implants are used when there is no longer a viable tooth, due to injury, decay or trauma. The implant acts as a support for a false tooth that includes crowns, bridges and dentures.

 

How are dental veneers done?

 

The teeth play a significant role in everyone’s life. Many people are unhappy with their teeth, often as a result of damage and discolouration amongst other reasons. However, dental veneers can offer a solution to this problem as they can serve to end the discomfort or embarrassment felt by a person as result of their teeth.
Dental veneers are a procedure that always uses resin-like materials which are much thinner than the natural tooth. Dental veneers act as a thin layer on top if the natural tooth and can cover a multitude of issues including discolouration, erosion, and even gaps by taking the form of a thin shell that covers the outer surface of one’s teeth. They therefore serve to bring back the natural or physical appearance of the teeth.

Procedure

For the procedure of dental veneers to be successful, an estimation of three trips to the dentist is required for the different stages and phases of placing the veneers successfully onto the tooth. This means that patients looking for a quick, one-day fix should not expect that if they want the procedure done properly. The process of the procedure is outlined below.
1) Treatment Planning
It will be necessary to get check out by a dentist to determine whether dental veneers are the appropriate solution to the dental problem you are experiencing. The dentist will conduct an examination of the teeth after which they will ascertain whether dental veneers are the solutions to the problem. When this treatment has been agreed upon, the process of fitting veneers will be commenced.
2) Treatment Preparation
The tooth or teeth receiving the veneers is prepared for treatment by removing the enamel to create space for the new veneer. Normally, the process is painful, and anaesthetic is applied to numb the tooth or teeth. The results collected at this stage are then sent off for analysis in the lab while a temporary veneer is placed on the area from which the enamel has been removed.
3) Treatment Bonding
After the lab completes its study and a permanent veneer is received, the temporary veneer placed on the tooth is removed in readiness for the permanent veneer. The permanent veneer is then permanently bonded to the tooth and various adjustments are made to ensure that it is permanently fixed in the correct position. The process frequently involves polishing the edges to make sure that the tooth functions naturally and are then cleaned to perfection to give the patient the dazzling smile they ave always wanted.

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Dental Implants V Dentures

In the past, dentures were the only solution for anyone who had lost their teeth, but today there is another option – dental implants. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of replacing missing teeth, so which is the best choice?

Advantages of Dentures

If you have lost one or more teeth due to decay or damage, dentures are a suitable replacement. Made from cast metal and acrylic, dentures have a plastic base and teeth made from strong porcelain. Dentures can last for several years and are hard-wearing, enabling the wearer to eat a full range of foods confidently. Dentures are also the best option for anyone who has weak or unhealthy jaws or gums as in those cases, implants are not suitable. Dentures are also a cheaper alternative to implants and require no surgery.

Disadvantages of Dentures

Some people who wear dentures find that they slip or move out of place or make clicking sounds while speaking or eating which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Over time, dentures also have to re-aligned as the structure of the jaw and gums changes as part of the natural ageing process and there may also be an increased risk of decay in other adjoining teeth if the dentures are only partial. Some denture wearers also experience discomfort due to rubbing as the dentures move out of place.

Advantages of Implants

Dental implants are a durable and secure alternative to dentures. Made from metal and titanium, they are compatible with the body, being drilled into the jaw bone. A dental implant is much more stable than a denture as it is fitted into the bone in the same way as a natural tooth’s root. This allows the wearer to chew and speak efficiently with no slippage. Implants look much more realistic than dentures and there is none of the discomfort that many denture wearers experience.

Disadvantages of Implants

The process to fit an implant takes up to 8 months as it must fuse with the bone before the prosthetic teeth can be fixed in place. There is also a higher cost for implants and they may not be suitable for those who are known to grind their teeth during the night. Also, anyone who is afraid of undergoing surgery may wish to avoid having implants as an operation is required to fit the implant into the jaw bone.

Overall, although there are some disadvantages to choosing implants, for anyone who is looking for a stable, effective and natural looking way to replace their missing teeth, they are the perfect solution.

 

Are Cosmetic Dental Treatments Costly?

Cosmetic dental treatments have become more popular over recent years, with increasing numbers of people striving to achieve a more attractive smile. There are numerous benefits of cosmetic dentistry and a broad spectrum of treatments which can be carried out at a range of prices to suit all budgets.

Veneers

Veneers are one of the best ways to restore the appearance of cracked, chipped, worn or stained teeth. They are also a good way of improving the look of crooked teeth and disguising any gaps. There are several types of veneers including Lumineers which are made from very thin porcelain, Da Vinci veneers and MAC veneers which are made from a strong ceramic that is especially resistant to staining. Veneers cost around £350 to £450 per tooth.

Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental treatments in the UK today and is often the preferred corrective choice for those who have stained teeth. A professional bleaching treatment is applied to the teeth by a qualified cosmetic dentist with further treatments being applied at home. There are also laser whitening treatments available, however this is more expensive than the conventional bleaching option. The cost of tooth whitening can range from £300 for a basic treatment up to £1,000 for one of the more advanced alternatives.

Tooth Straightening

For those with crooked, crowded or tilting teeth, professional tooth straightening is the ideal solution. While veneers may improve the look of some crooked teeth, for other patient’s, orthodontics is required to achieve the best results. While traditional metal braces are one option, today it is possible to opt for Invisalign braces which are virtually invisible and which are a lot more convenient for adult wear. This treatment can cost from £1,000 to around £8,000 depending on the chosen method, practitioner and region of the UK.

Crowns, Caps and White Fillings

For anyone with broken or badly chipped teeth, a cap or crown could resolve the problem. In this treatment, the tooth is covered by a porcelain crown or cap which restores the appearance of the tooth. For patients with small gaps or chips in their teeth, white composite fillings can be used to give the teeth back their previous look. White fillings can also be used to replace existing amalgam fillings for a more natural appearance. White fillings can cost from £95 per tooth, while the price of a crown starts at £400 each.

 

What Is Zoom Teeth Whitening?

Everyone wants gleaming white teeth, which most people equate with health and beauty. There are many ways you can achieve perfectly white teeth, including over the counter trays, special toothpastes and seeing your dentist. Another method of getting rid of yellow teeth is a method called zoom teeth whitening. As with any other technique, it’s important to find out more about it before you try it.

Zoom teeth whitening is done at the dentist’s office and you can expect pretty good results from the treatment. The method is said to be faster than other types of whitening procedures and can help remove all types of stains, including those from smoking, drinking coffee, tea and wine and many other kinds of stains.

The complete zoom whitening procedure takes about an hour, usually less. Your dentist will probably recommend a standard clean in the dentist chair before getting started. First, your teeth and gums are covered and your teeth are fully exposed. Next, your dentist will apply the zoom mixture, which is largely hydrogen peroxide. A special light is then shone on the gel mixture, which enhances the whitening process and helps remove stains from the enamel and all surfaces of your teeth. Once the gel is applied to your teeth, you will have about 15 minutes to relax while it combines with the light to break up and remove stains. The gel is applied three times and each time you will be exposed to the light for 15 minutes.

After you undergo zoom teeth whitening, you will have to exercise proper care of your teeth to ensure that you maximise the results. This includes using a home touch up kit to keep the whitening even. You may also be advised to limit your exposure to drinks like tea, coffee and wine or to drink them through a straw to keep them from staining your teeth all over again. You might also be instructed to quit smoking and use certain toothpaste.

Zoom teeth whitening might not be right for everyone. Dentists caution people with a strong gag reflex because the procedure can induce gagging takes are long enough that it may be hard to get through. Some people experience sensitivity after the procedure so you want to be prepared for that.

The treatment costs start at £495.

 

Cosmetic-Braces

How Long Do You Have to Wear Braces?

One of the first questions people ask when their dentist tells them they need braces is: “How long will I have to wear them?”. They understand the importance of straightening their smile and fixing their teeth, but no one wants to wear uncomfortable brackets and wires on their teeth for a long time. Unfortunately, the average length of time for braces to be worn is about 1-2 years.

Now, it’s not going to be the same for everyone. How long you have to wear braces will depend on a few factors, but primarily it depends on how severe your case is. If you have a lot of teeth that are far from where they should be, you are probably looking at two years or a little more. If you just have a tooth or two that needs correcting and the corrections aren’t extreme, then you could only have to wear the braces for about six months.

You’ll have to talk to an orthodontist before you can know for sure how long you will need to wear the braces. Just keep in mind that the estimate can change mid-process. If something happens to your braces and they become damaged, then you may have to wear them for a bit longer as repairs are made. If your teeth are not cooperating with the process, then the orthodontist may have to make some adjustments and give you a new estimate for when you will be able to take the braces off. There may even be times when your teeth move faster than anticipated, and the braces can come off sooner than you thought.

If you want to be sure that there are no problems and that nothing stops your braces from doing their job, then you need to make sure you are taking care of your teeth and braces. That means you have to follow your dentist’s and orthodontist’s instructions carefully. They will tell you not to eat very hard or crunchy foods and to avoid sticky and overly sweet foods. You also need to floss and brush your teeth regularly to make sure your teeth don’t stain while wearing braces and to keep your braces clean from substances that can cause them to deteriorate.

Even when your braces come off, the process of giving you the smile you want won’t be complete. You will likely have to wear a retainer for a while afterwards, as that will help the teeth stay where they are supposed to until the bone and tissue around the teeth solidify. Even once the teeth are in position, the braces still have to stay on for a short while because of the way the surrounding tissue and bone can behave. They become softer while the teeth are moving into position, so the braces keep the teeth from shifting around while your body sets them in place permanently.

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Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments: Inlays and Onlays

While crowns are used to fix seriously damaged teeth and veneers are coatings with limited power to solve your chipped or damaged teeth, inlays and onlays lie somewhere between these two, but often take the best of the two worlds. These are as resistant and durable as a crown, which is no wonder – it is basically the same procedure as crowns, just the extent of the administering the material is different. Compared to veneers, aesthetic implications are actually the same, but the functionality is similar as well.

Inlays

Inlay is added to the area between the tooth cusps. Cusps are elevated tips on top of your teeth, between which the fillings are added. Most people will have an amalgam or white filling administered, but in some patients the tooth tip damage is so great that there’s not enough dental material to support a regular amalgam or composite filling. In these cases it is needed to apply greater amounts of reconstructive material to that location.

Modern inlays are made of composites or ceramic materials which are much thicker, more solid and resistant than amalgam or white regular fillings. There is no shrinking of inlay material while drying and hardening, which makes these particularly durable and efficient in solving the teeth deterioration issues.

Onlays

While inlays are applied to the central section of the tooth tip enclosed by the cusps, onlays are used in cases when one or more cusps (depending on the tooth) are chipped off, but not to an extent which would require a full length crown. You can assume that the condition which requires onlays is more severe than the one which is fixed with inlays. However, there are no major differences in treatment.

An onlay is basically restoration of all missing cusps on the teeth. An onlay is, thus an incomplete crown – the major difference is that it doesn’t cover the tooth fully to the gum line.

The Procedure

The procedure for both inlay and onlay treatment is less or more the same. It usually requires two appointments. At the first one, the dentist will prepare your tooth and develop a model of how your tooth would look. A moulded impression will be made to record the current state of your tooth, or multiple teeth if required.

After the first treatment, your new inaly or onlay is fabricated in the laboratory. Once it’s done you go for the second appointment when the dentist will place your inlays or onlays.

Materials used for these treatments are porcelain, composites and gold. So far, the gold is the best option whenever looks are not a concern, so it can be used on the back molars. For those teeth which appear on your smile, the best option is modern composite materials which are durable, functional and white.