Although some tooth whitening systems can be bought over the counter, it is much faster and safer to whiten teeth under the guidance of a dentist. The General Dental Council has recently called for tougher controls on who is allowed to carry out tooth whitening in the UK after receiving numerous complaints from people suffering from burning gums, sensitivity and damaged enamel after using some services available in High Streets and shopping centres.
If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry then it is vital to choose a dentist who has the right level of skill and experience. To tie in with National Smile Month, which runs until 15 June, local dentist Paula Richardson gives her top tips to help you choose a reputable cosmetic dentist and make sure the process doesn’t wipe the smile off your face.
1. Training and further education Most dentists have some basic dental knowledge about veneers. But how much do they really know about all aspects of cosmetic dentistry? Very few dental schools offer specific courses in this field and those that do tend to keep the courses at an introductory level. Dentists who specialise in cosmetic dentistry constantly attend hands-on workshops and seminars to keep up-to-date with latest research and developments. These dentists invest lot of time, money and energy into this continuing education, thus showing their commitment to achievement and patient satisfaction. Generally they belong to the British or American Academies of Cosmetic Dentistry and will not be shy about telling you where they have trained. Check their credentials!
2. Good communications and ‘upfrontedness’
3. Technology A good cosmetic dentist will have up-to-date knowledge and technology. They will use equipment such as computer generated x-rays, intraoral cameras, lasers and dental photography. Check that the dentist you choose has these tools.
4. Laboratory A good cosmetic dentist will be excited about the materials they use and will happily tell you which experienced laboratory is used to fabricate your veneers or crowns. The lab technicians also need to be highly skilled and should regularly attend seminars and hands-on courses.
5. Overall facial aesthetics and function A good cosmetic dentist will take into consideration your overall facial appearance to make your new smile fit well and look as natural as possible. The way your new teeth work against each other is a critical factor in how long they will last. Your dentist must have a good working knowledge of occlusion (the way you bite). They will be happy to tell you about the courses they have done and are continuing to do to gain more and more knowledge about this subject. A ‘bad’ occlusion can lead to headaches, neck aches, shoulder aches and jaw joint problems.
6. Experience This will be evident by the ‘before and after’ collection of photographs that the dentist will be able to show you of his/her cases. Make sure that he or she has actually done them and that they’re not just library stock photos of what other people can achieve.
7. Cost Cosmetic dentistry is for everyone, not just celebrities. Financial plans are available to help make these treatments affordable. Don’t make the mistake of going for the cheapest deals. Corners will have to be cut somewhere in the process and this will affect the final results, for instance using cheaper more inferior materials or less experienced laboratories.
8. Practice facilities Finally, have a look around the practice before agreeing to treatment. You will soon get the feeling of whether this is a good cosmetic practice or not by looking at the overall presentation and equipment available.
Paula Richardson has many years of experience in cosmetic dentistry and she has achieved the Masters Level from the Aesthetic Advantage Continuum of New York – very few dentists in the UK have achieved this. She is a member of the British Dental Association, British Academy of Cosmetic Dentists, the British Society of Occlusal Studies, the British Society for the Study of Craniomandibular Disorders and she is closely associated with the Clinical Foundation of Orthopaedics and Orthodontics of the United Kingdom. Besides enhancing smiles, she has a keen interest in implants, gum therapy, headache treatments, jaw joint therapies, snoring and sleep disorders, standard and invisible braces and 'early orthodontics' for children.
Dentistry by Paula Richardson was awarded ‘Best Practice in the South West & Wales’ at the prestigious Dentistry Awards in December 2010. To find out more or book an appointment, visit www.dentistrybypaula.co.uk or call 01935 840784.
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An award-winning practice, Dentistry by Paula Richardson was founded in 2000 and is based in Ilchester, Somerset. Dr Paula Richardson and her team are proud to offer patients some of the finest dental services in the South West.
The most important part of their focus is to promote good dental health, which also has an impact on an individual’s general wellbeing. For those who desire cosmetic enhancements, they offer these as well. The clinic also has an interest in facial aesthetics, administering Botox and Juvederm fillers.
Dr Paula Richardson has been practising in the United Kingdom since 1990. She worked in London for ten years before relocating to Ilchester, Somerset.
For more information, visit the Dentistry by Paula Richardson website at www.dentistrybypaula.co.uk or call on +44 (0)1935 840784.