Dr Rahul Doshi, President of the BACD
As President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD), Dr Rahul Doshi offers his insights on how the latest innovations have transformed the cosmetic dental industry and enabled more people to benefit from healthy, beautiful smiles.
Some studies have found that an attractive smile can influence our perceptions of an individual’s intelligence, wealth, happiness, popularity, and career success. It’s no wonder so many people in the UK are more willing to invest in the health and appearance of their teeth, which has ultimately driven the demand for cosmetic dentistry in the last few years.
People no longer have to suffer the effects of having damaged, discoloured, crooked or missing teeth. Many cutting-edge cosmetic dental treatments are able to restore dental function and aesthetics in a minimally invasive way, providing a positive boost to a person’s self-confidence and helping to improve the way they feel about themselves. Of course, dentists should discuss all of the options available to patients, who should understand the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure before they commit to treatment.
Advances in dental technology, materials and procedures have ensured that cosmetic dentistry has become a highly valued service that enables people to achieve the smile they’ve always dreamed of in a much more efficient way. So, what can the latest cosmetic dental innovations offer you both now and in the not-so-distant future?
New technology has ultimately transformed the way teeth can be treated. In particular, computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) systems have helped improve the quality of cosmetic dentistry, enhancing the overall patient experience. Traditionally, those who required a restoration (e.g. dental crown) had to endure the discomfort of having impression material in their mouth, which was often a messy procedure that did not always guarantee the most accurate results.
Today, however, digital scanning technology can be used to capture images of the teeth and gums within seconds. These highly detailed scans can then be reviewed instantly on a chairside monitor to help people better understand their oral health. Many scanning systems can be combined with advanced CAD/CAM technology to create an accurate restoration in the practice, which can be fitted in the mouth almost immediately. Equally, dentists can use the latest software to design complex restorations, before sending the information to a dental laboratory to have the final solution created using 3D printers.
This has significantly improved the speed and accuracy of dental treatment, meaning patients no longer have to wait weeks at a time for crowns, veneers, implants or orthodontic appliances. In the case of some orthodontic procedures, dentists are even able to use virtual reality software to simulate what a smile could look like upon completion of treatment. This provides patients with the opportunity to engage with the overall process, feel more in control and develop greater trust in their dentist.
The same scanning technology can be used to match the shade of a restoration with the exact colour of existing teeth. This is one of the most difficult steps of the restorative process as dentists have to match the complex layers of colour in a natural tooth with the design of a crown or veneer, but scanning technology makes this much easier. Moreover, it is possible to use some scanning technology to detect oral diseases such as dental caries, so you are not only able to treat the teeth cosmetically, but functionally as well.
The wide range of modern composites that are now available to dentists can provide a minimally invasive solution to restoring teeth. In other words, dentists are able to use specific techniques to preserve as much natural tooth as possible. This is not only more comfortable
for the patient, but also ensures a long-lasting outcome, with reduced risk of side effects due to minimal intervention. Exciting new composite materials are emerging onto the market that can alter the teeth at a microscopic level in order to more accurately mimic the appearance of a natural tooth, particularly in regards to colour. This ultimately ensures a much better final aesthetic and a truly beautiful smile.
There is no reason why you cannot reap the benefits of cosmetic dentistry, especially as there are various finance options available to make treatment much more affordable. Through flexible payment plans, paying to improve the health and appearance of your smile can be as straight forward as purchasing new furniture or a new car. In fact, many dental practices work with finance companies to help payments more manageable.
For instance, in many cases you could choose to pay the cost of treatment on a monthly basis over 12 months to 2 years with 0% interest. However, if these monthly instalments are beyond your budget, you can take out a low-interest rate payment plan, which involves paying back the cost of treatment over 2 to 5 years – depending on the finance provider – which may be more suitable for you. Some finance companies offer a “buy now, pay later” scheme, whereby patients undergo treatment first and then pay for it at a later date. In this case, you may not have to pay anything for up to 12 months, at which point you would pay the balance, though this typically includes an interest rate.
High quality care
In order for you to truly benefit from beautiful, long-lasting restorations, it is important that you do your research and seek out the services of a highly skilled and experienced dentist. The BACD remains an advocate of high quality and ethical cosmetic dentistry, and it believes in following minimally invasive processes in order to achieve maximum function and aesthetics. Dentists accredited by the BACD have demonstrated their extensive skills and knowledge, as well as their ability to use some of the most advanced technologies and techniques in the UK. Patients who seek treatment from a BACD Accredited dentist can rest assured knowing that they are receiving the highest quality care from a professional who uses cutting-edge dental equipment and materials.
Cosmetic dentistry is advancing faster than most people realise, thanks to innovative technology, materials and techniques. Patients can access a wide range of treatments to improve their smile – often in a minimally invasive way that ensures the least amount of discomfort, with amazing results. Ultimately, patients need to be treated holistically, meaning their overall dental health should be examined, and not just the appearance of their teeth. This involves assessing the strength of the teeth and making sure that the patient’s bite is correct to avoid the risk of a tooth or restoration fracturing in the future. These elements should be taken into account to ensure the success of any cosmetic dental procedure.
This is why it’s so important to see cosmetic dentists who have developed a wide range of skills through continued professional learning, which adheres to the General Dental Council’s (the profession’s regulatory body) requirements in regards to patient safety. By seeking treatment from a BACD Accredited dentist, you can be confident that you are in the care of a dental professional who has been recognised for their exceptional skills and passion within the field.