Cosmetic dentistry Edinburgh

Cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is something that can have a profound impact on someone’s life.

There’s no doubt about it – if you are ashamed by your smile it can make you hide yourself from the public, and this can have serious consequences.

Fortunately, there are ways of achieving a fantastic smile without compromising the health of your teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry can give anyone a fantastic smile. It is however important to know where you want to be so that we can plan your perfect smile.

Cosmetic dentistry and dental veneers

In the 90s and early 2000s, cosmetic dentistry was largely based upon using new, dentine bonding processes to replace enamel with porcelain, and this approach was encouraged by organisations such as the BACD and by reality TV shows such as 10 Years Younger. While it is possible to give a fantastic smile by doing this, it is important to know that the enamel is like the seal on the tooth, and removing it opens the tooth up to decay. But, due to a poorly understood process, bonding porcelain to dentine results in a higher failure rate than bonding to enamel – and crucially, this occurs YEARS down the line, so at fit of veneers, everything may look fantastic, but in the longer term you may be left enamel-less and with broken and fractured veneers. The failure rate more than DOUBLES when bonded to dentine rather than enamel.

(For the dentists who read this blog, this is due to the activation of matrix metalloproteinases in the collagen hybrid layer. This can be minimised by using a non-acidic bonding agent, or a three step system. One-stage dentine bonding agents are dreadful and should be avoided – that 20 seconds you save will come back and bite you!)

Veneers have their place in dentistry, but as a profession we are moving away from them and towards making the best of the teeth that you have.

This means that we:


So firstly, we correct the position of teeth. Then we correct the colour. And finally we add on any part that have been worn.

And that’s it. The modern cosmetic approach, giving long lasting, beautiful smiles without taking away any of your tooth.

You don’t need any root canal treatments, or any drilling away of tooth with this approach. In fact, you don’t need any injections for this, it is a straightforward process and can normally be completed over 4-6 months.



Thankfully, the BACD is now promoting a much more conservative philosophy and avoiding the over-use of veneers that is still sadly so prevalent among dentists.

Some typical veneer preparations of questionable need:

Is this really what you want done to your teeth? Veneer preparations result in the loss of large amounts of tooth tissue

Is this really what you want done to your teeth? Veneer preparations result in the loss of large amounts of tooth tissue

Using the Inman Aligner for Align-Bleach-Bond

Using the Inman Aligner for Align-Bleach-Bond – no needless destruction, no anaesthetic, long lasting.


If you already have dental crowns and veneers

If you already have dental veneers or crowns, then I’m afraid the damage may already be done and the enamel may already have been removed. In that case, it is important to get the best possible fit for any cosmetic treatment. It is therefore important that you go to a dentist who uses high magnification so that the best possible result can be achieved.

If you already have a mix of materials in place, any replacements should be made from the same or similar materials. Modern materials can give fantastically strong crowns and veneers made of similar materials and giving a fantastic appearance.

Cost of cosmetic dentistry

Perhaps the most important thing here can be summarised by John Ruskin:

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When
you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all. When you pay
too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you
bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The
common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a
lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well
to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will
have enough to pay for something better.”

Obviously the cost of cosmetic dentistry varies depending upon what is needed. But if you choose to cut corners, it WILL cost more in the long term. And it may not actually save you any money by going down the quick-fix route – often, Align, Bleach, Bond works out much cheaper than the veneer approach. And it lasts a lot longer, and is easier to repair if there is a problem.

Typical costs for Align, Bleach, Bond treatment are £3,500, but it depends upon your circumstances.

Cosmetic dental veneers and crowns cost £350-£1,000 per tooth.

We can help you to arrange interest free finance for this through Dental Finance to spread the cost over up one year interest free of over up to 5 years with interest at 9.9%APR

The next step – know where you are going

In order to give you the best possible outcome, it is important to know where you are going from the start. If this is the Align Bleach Bond route, the first step is to have a computer simulation made to demonstrate where your teeth may be positioned. Cosmetic imaging may also be used.

For veneers and crowns the process is a little different. This involves a “wax-up” whereby technicians will assess what is possible and make a wax model to demonstrate. This can be used to make a “trial smile” which you can wear for a couple of days before deciding if cosmetic dentistry is right for you.

The cost for this first stage is typically £300, but it is a very important stage that is often overlooked to get quick results. It is worth repeating – quick results, where corners are cut, result in more failures.

If you have any questions about cosmetic dentistry, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0131 516 9080.