In the Oxford dictionary,the word “cosmetic” is defined as relating to treatment intended to improve a person’s appearance.”Cosmetic Dentistry” then refers to branch of dentistry dealing with the apearance of teeth.

What exactly is cosmetic dentistry? This term has been made even more popular by the various reality TV shows with “Extreme Makeover” theme.A common scenario is where a person,usually a young working adult or a middle age woman,would tell me “I don’t like the appearance of my teeth” or “I feel ashamed to smile widely because I do not have nice teeth” or “I wish to have nicer looking teeth”.

I remembered many years ago,a lady in her 50s came to see me and in her hands she had a photo.She said,” I would like to have teeth like that” and she shoved the photo into my hands. It was a photo of Faye Wong,the Hong Kong artiste,fllashing her celebrity smile.I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry!!

I think it is perfectly fine to want a set of teeth that is pleasing to look at.

Asthetic is definitely a very important feature of dentistry. But what is more important to me is the foundation under that beautiful set of straight and sparkling white teeth.

I constantly remind my patients that if they do not have underlying healthy gums and teeth,whatever “cosmetic” job that is done will usually not last.

In the next part of this topic we will look at what aesthetic or cosmetic dentistry constitutes and what are the current trends in cosmetic dentistry