Budleigh Salterton Dental Practice

Tel: 01395 442 552

Cosmetic Dentistry

A natural, confident, bright smile says it all

Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite. Many dentists refer to themselves as “cosmetic dentists” regardless of their specific education, specialty, training, and experience in this field. This has been considered unethical with a predominant objective of marketing to patients.

There appears to be a general mis-conception that cosmetic and aesthetic dental treatments are synonymous. Cosmetic treatment usually causes destruction of the tooth structure and is only for vanity. However, what may seem to be a cosmetic issue can often indicate or cause dental problems that are best treated before they become painful and prolonged. Loose, broken or damaged teeth could indicate tooth decay or gum problems. Missing teeth or gaps can cause problems with your bite or gums. A discoloured tooth could hide nerve damage which could be painful if left untreated. Usually, by undergoing one or more of these so called cosmetic treatments, it can make a huge difference to how you feel about your smile, whilst treating the dental problem at the same time.

Here at Budleigh Salterton Dental Practice we provide Aesthetic Dentistry, this provides the opportunity to have your teeth restored to a natural and healthy state once any underlying general dental problem has been resolved. Every case is different and needs to be treated on an individual basis. We will conduct a thorough examination and discuss our findings in full, together with the appropriate treatment options available to you.

Crowns, Bridges and Dentures

Badly decayed or heavily filled teeth may require a crown to restore and protect the remains of the tooth. The tooth is trimmed both circumferentially and on top to allow the fabricated crown to slide in place. After taking impressions, these are custom made from a variety of materials such as porcelain, ceramic, gold and are fitted over the entire surface. Sometimes it is necessary to build up the surface as there is insufficient tooth left for the crown to adhere to; this is known as a either a core build up or post and core (where extra retention is required. Crowns can also be used to improve the appearance of a tooth or to hold a bridge or denture in place.

Bridges are artificial teeth held together at each end by crowns. They are a quick solution to filling the gaps left by missing natural teeth. They are custom made, typically of a metal base, to ensure their strength. Nowadays with the onset of stronger ceramics, ‘all ceramic’ bridges can replace the metal based bridges in most cases. These have a far superior aesthetic result especially in the front of the mouth and are orally more compatible.

Dentures are a quick solution to replace several missing teeth. However, the traditional denture is not always an ideal solution as they can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Often denture wearers find normal speech difficult and that their sense of taste is lessened. Dentures are also known to cause more retention of plaque and food debris and as a result become more uncomfortable over a period of time and cause further deterioration of the natural teeth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants have revolutionised the replacement of missing teeth and can completely transform a person’s lifestyle. Essentially, a dental implant is an artificial tooth root which, after placement into the jaw bone, can support a crown, bridge or denture. Where teeth have been lost in the visible ‘smile’ region, dental implants offer a permanent solution to securing natural looking replacements. For denture wearers; just by placing two dental implants, it is possible to secure a denture so that it will not move or slip out of place. Dental implants offer a permanent solution to missing teeth and in the modern, up to date world of dentistry should definitely be a treatment option to seriously consider.

Below is an example of how dental implants can transform the appearance of your smile where teeth have been previously lost.



These are made from a thin layer of porcelain which is then bonded to the front of your tooth. Veneers make teeth look natural and healthy and because they are very thin, little preparation of the tooth is required. They are individually made to match the size and shape of your tooth and can transform the appearance of your teeth. A precise shade of porcelain can be chosen to give the desired colour to improve a discoloured or stained tooth or teeth. Veneers can also be used to close small gaps, change the shape of “crooked” tooth/teeth or sometimes to bring one tooth into line with the others.

Teeth Whitening

This is by way of a simple ‘at home’ treatment programme and can be used to whiten either your upper or lower set of teeth or both sets. A set of trays, similar to mouth guards, are made from impressions taken of your mouth on a dental visit. When the trays have been made they are then taken home along with the tooth whitening gel. The trays are filled with the gel and placed over the teeth for the night. This is then repeated for between 2-5 nights, depending upon the results required. The shade of your teeth can be increased by up to 5 times, (measured against the Vita shade guide) and lasts for up to 12 months, depending upon diet and care of your teeth.

Oral Reconstruction

Where several teeth are missing, damaged or aesthetically unappealing, oral reconstruction can transform not only your smile but also your facial profile. When teeth have been missing for several years the gum and bone, (where the teeth were), remodel themselves and eventually the amount of bone reduces and causes the gum to shrink away in that region. A combination of tooth and perio, (gums), restoration treatment would be carried out dependant upon an individual’s requirements.

Soft tissue grafting and bone regeneration can restore your gum-line. If desired, Perio-plastic surgery can be carried out to improve the appearance of your gums and give you a more attractive smile line. Dental implants have revolutionised the possibilities for oral reconstruction and together with soft tissue and/or bone regeneration techniques the results can be truly amazing, with both function and aesthetics being restored.

Perio Plastic Surgery

This technique is used to restore gum recession, whereby the gum margins have receded considerably often revealing an unsightly tooth or exposing part of the root resulting in nerve sensitivity. This gum recession can be progressive becoming worse with time. It can also be used to reshape the gum line. Provided there is no periodontitis, (gum disease), present, this involves a surgical procedure to raise the gum, place some soft tissue underneath and replace your original gum back to where it should be. The procedure takes a couple of hours and is carried out in the dental chair under strict sterile conditions. It can take up to 6 months to see the full results of the procedure but will make a world of difference. Post- operative instructions, on how to look after the area, are given and the progress monitored for a couple of months, until all has healed well.

Below you will find photos of before and after to illustrate this procedure. You will note that the canine tooth has gum recession and has a rather an elongated appearance. This recession can also cause temperature sensitivity. By performing the surgery all this is eliminated.