It can be estimated that almost half of the $32 billion annual revenues of dentistry comes from the practice's cosmetic branch, says a book author and professor at a medical college in Georgia. As stated by the president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the cosmetic work that dentists do has tripled compared to 5 years ago. The birth of the state of the art materials have pulled the demand up.
Most notable among them are porcelain laminates, thin porcelain veneers that are slipped over existing teeth and bonded into place. Chipping is something to be prevented and so patients are advised to stop nail biting or gnawing on spareribs. It is not so difficult to maintain and the laminates are durable and still resemble the original teeth. The use of porcelain laminates is generating up to $250,000 a year in revenues for dentists who average 10 treatments a month.
Another treatment that is gaining popularity is the bleaching procedure which is a chemical method of whitening the teeth that can be availed at $100 to $200. Majority of the customers availing of this are the entertainers and politicians. People not in the public eye are also coming around, men, in particular. Men now comprise 40 percent of cosmetic clients, which is a 20 percent leap from a few years ago.
For decades, dentists have been using porcelain, but it was only recently that porcelain veneers have been further refined to ultimately be used in bonding procedures to existing teeth. The sale for this year will most likely exceed 300,000 porcelain laminates, and that will be about $20 million. Even if porcelain is most favored technique for now, researchers of dentistry are always on the lookout, testing and baking to find the next better bond. One dentist utilizes ceramic particles in a sealing wax to create caps and bridges. The caps are baked in an oven for seven minutes after being formed in the mouth. The resultant cap will be two times stronger than the porcelain laminates and at almost half the price.
Baked bonding can be done in the clinic provided that the dentist who will perform it has a specially designed oven which costs about $1000. A New York dentist, meanwhile, has been utilizing silk in the bonding process that also increase strength three times. The only drawback is the additional cost compared to the ordinary bonding. An ADA official affirms the claim of the baking technique in strengthening composite materials, but the improvement is not as notable.
Another new process is eliminating the need for bonding in certain cases. In order to whiten them, they just need a certain amount of hydrogen peroxide. There is yet to be any ill effect reported but occasionally, the discoloration recurs over time. There are patients who go back because they are having difficulties visualizing the effect of their cosmetic procedure and this becomes a problem for dentists because the cosmetic dentists cannot clearly be told of the actual problem.
A university professor in Southern California constructed a computer system in his office that will give his patients a visual understanding of how they will most probably look like after the dental cosmetic procedure. A video camera, an electronic pen, and an electronic writing pad are all part of the system which are hooked to a computer with screen. The purpose of the camera is to capture the pre procedure smile which eventually will be displayed on the color monitor. He can illustrate cosmetic alterations onscreen by making the teeth whiter, closing gaps, or leveling rough surfaces, and this is by using the automated pen and pad.
Individuals are mostly shocked to see how their teeth look like in extreme close up. The minor change and its great effect it has on their overall look always amaze the people.