Dental Care_Cover_web
More and more people in the UAE are looking to enhance their smile Image Credit: Shutterstock

You’ve always got to be ready for your close-up in this Instagram age. But why rely on a social media filter to whiten your teeth when you could look younger naturally with better dental work? The desire to appear younger — and the disposable income available to UAE residents — goes some way to explaining why cosmetic dental treatments are more popular than ever.

Although it’s not a booming economy, in my experience patients are spending more money to rebuild their smiles and to take care of worn out teeth than ever before.

- Dr Leila Hariri, a California-certified dentist

“More and more people in the UAE are looking to enhance their smile and rebuild worn-down teeth, therefore making themselves look years younger,” says Dr Leila Hariri, a California-certified dentist who has been practising in Dubai for the past 15 years, and now runs her own clinic.

“Although it’s not a booming economy, in my experience patients are spending more money to rebuild their smiles and to take care of worn out teeth than ever before.”

A friendly smile has an ability to create a great first impression, which is very important, both socially and professionally.

- Dr Radhika Kewalramani, Endodontist, Medstar

Our smiles are an important aspect of our personalities, dentists say. “A friendly smile has an ability to create a great first impression, which is very important, both socially and professionally,” says Dr Radhika Kewalramani, Endodontist, Medstar.

“Today’s technology makes it possible for people to customise their smile according to their gender, personality and age. An array of dental treatments, from teeth whitening, veneers and crowns to cosmetic jaw surgeries have made it possible for people to get their confidence back.”

Dr Kewalramani also stresses on the need to address worn out teeth not only for cosmetic reasons, but also for functionality. “Stress is inevitable these days and can result in teeth grinding, also known as clenching that can hasten the wearing off of teeth,” she says.

“This gives an aged appearance and also results in undue stress to temporomandibular joint and subsequently headaches and TMJ joint pain.”

Porcelain veneers are contact lens-thin tooth-coloured material that is placed on the front surface of teeth.

- Dr Tameeza Tejani, Specialist Prosthodontist/Cosmetic Dentist, Medstar

So which cosmetic dental treatments are most popular with people today? Porcelain veneers are the most popular among both young and old, says Dr Tameeza Tejani, Specialist Prosthodontist/Cosmetic Dentist, Medstar. “Porcelain veneers are contact lens-thin tooth=coloured material that is placed on the front surface of teeth,” she says.

“They help in correcting various dental concerns like discoloured teeth, chipped teeth and uneven, irregular teeth. We can change the length, the width and even the surface characteristics of teeth with this.”

Teeth are to stay for a lifetime. To retain one’s own teeth for a lifetime should be the aim of each individual and dentists are an integral part of that process

- Dr Shams Moopen, Specialist Orthodontist at Aster Clinic

However, it’s important to be aware of the long-term consequences of any dental work, experts say, and to ask your practitioner about the pros and cons of any process. “Teeth are to stay for a lifetime. To retain one’s own teeth for a lifetime should be the aim of each individual and dentists are an integral part of that process,” cautions Dr Shams Moopen, Specialist Orthodontist at Aster Clinic, Bur Dubai and Discovery Gardens.

Over the past few years, treatment costs have fallen as more clinics have opened and new technologies have become more affordable.

Cosmetic dental treatments are often discretionary, meaning that the patient really has to understand the planned treatment and how it will benefit them.

- Julian Callanan, Managing Director at Sinterex

The invisible trays known as aligners, for example, have dropped from Dh16,000 to Dh10,000 over the past year, says Julian Callanan, Managing Director at Sinterex, a Dubai-based specialist provider of 3D-printed healthcare products. “Cosmetic dental treatments are often discretionary, meaning that the patient really has to understand the planned treatment and how it will benefit them.

“But we find that 99 per cent of patients opt for treatments when they can hold the 3D-printed models in their hands and appreciate its impact.” In other words, social media is no match for the real world.

Five new trends in cosmetic dentistry

Dental professionals offered their take on the latest dental trends cutting across the UAE.

Cosmetic veneers

Veneers
Veneers Image Credit: Supplied

These thin, tooth-coloured porcelain layers are what Hollywood smiles are made of. They enhance colour, shape and size and make chipped, worn down, misaligned and discoloured teeth look beautiful, says Dubai-based dentist Dr Leila Hariri. “Creating natural looking veneers is a perfect combination of art and dentistry. Replacing discoloured, chipped and worn down tooth can make a person look and feel many years younger.”

Tie-less brackets

Braces
Braces Image Credit: Supplied

One growth area is adult orthodontics. “Fifteen years ago in Dubai less than 5 per cent of my adult patients opted for orthodontic work, but today over 30 per cent of our ortho patients are adults,” says Dr Hariri. Two different solutions are gaining popularity. Damon brackets are tie-less braces that don’t need to be tightened and are gentle to the teeth and tissues,” says Dr Shams Moopen, Specialist Orthodontist at Aster Clinic. “They use high technology, memory-shaped wires that quickly move teeth and require fewer adjustments. This is a clinically proven treatment approach that straightens teeth and enhances the smile and facial aesthetics.”

Dental Implants

Implant_web
Dental implants Image Credit: Supplied

The modern way to replace missing teeth, implants are fitted directly into the bone, usually under local anaesthetic, explains Dr Shams Moopen, Specialist Orthodontist at Aster Clinic. Once the implant is integrated to the bone, a post is attached, and a crowns placed over the post to replace the missing tooth. It can take between six to three months for the implant to fully integrate with the jawbone.

Tooth whitening

Whitening
Tooth whitening Image Credit: Supplied

The colour of each person’s teeth varies and tends to get darker as they grow older, or if the roots are damaged says Dr Moopen. “The colour of teeth can be lightened effectively with a bleaching agent. It is safe as long as it does not touch the gums,” he explains. However, the new colour is not permanent and has to be topped up from time to time, and the procedures only whiten the tooth enamel, not any crowns or fillings. A variety of approaches are available, all of which are noninvasive and do not require the removal of enamel.

Aesthetic alignment

Lumineers
Invisalign Image Credit: Supplied

In adult orthodontics, the use of easily removable invisible trays to gradually move the teeth and correct problems of over-crowding, space, and rotation has also caught on, because of their convenience. Sinterex’s 3D-printed Aqua Aligner product has been developed in the UAE for people who wanted cosmetic treatment but had limited budgets and didn’t want to wear braces, Callanan says. “We 3D print a model of the patients’ teeth today, then, using computer modelling software, develop a 3D-printed model of the patients teeth after treatment,” he explains.

Lumineers

It is a type of ultra-thin veneers that require minimal preparation, and are also gaining in popularity with people. They’re absolutely painless too!