People are judged more and more by appearances these days so it is important for anyone who wants to get on, either in business or their personal life, to have a nice-looking set of teeth which means they should be regular and of a pleasantly white colour. Stained or dark teeth, or a crooked smile, detract immeasurably from one’s appearance and hence adversely affect one’s dealings with others. Fortunately cosmetic dentistry has made tremendous strides over the last few decades and can offer more solutions to aesthetic problems than ever before. You don’t have to be rich to be able to afford some cosmetic dental treatments, either, because some, such as teeth whitening, are extremely effective yet fairly affordable. Teeth that are basically sound but just unsightly due to their dark colour, often due to a combination of age and drinking tea, coffee, or red wine, can be bleached in a straightforward non-invasive manner by a dentist to improve their colour dramatically. A common problem you find in a young person who engages in all types of physical activities like rugby, cricket, skateboarding or cycling, is the chipped front tooth. Until recently it was difficult to restore such a tooth in a convincing and lasting manner. White composite fillings can be bonded on to give back the original shape, but, although the colour may match well to begin with, it gradually darkens over time, and the restoration may well have to be redone from time to time. Traditionally the only alternative was to crown such a tooth but, although this can provide a fairly permanent solution it requires extensive reduction of the tooth to make room for the crown and the amount of drilling involved to enable this can damage the pulp of the tooth leading to further complications later. Nowadays, however, it is possible to provide a porcelain veneer by means of a much less invasive procedure that involves only removing a millimetre or so of tooth tissue from the front of the tooth, leaving it 99% untouched, so leaving the pulp unharmed and retaining the inherent strength of the natural tooth. The technique of porcelain veneering has become very sophisticated indeed and also affords solutions to problems such as the midline gap between upper front teeth that sometimes occurs, or the tooth that is rotated and looks ugly. A porcelain veneer can restore or alter the appearance of a tooth to suit. Some Hollywood celebrities resort to having all their front teeth veneered with porcelain to gain a white smile that never fades. Porcelain restorations like crowns and veneers resist staining very well and are easier to keep clean and bright than natural teeth. Even if you are unlucky enough to lose a tooth, from decay, an abscess or an accident, don’t think that you are necessarily committed to wearing a denture, which does the job of replacing one or more missing teeth but is somewhat irksome, because you could be a candidate for a bridge or an implant which is fixed in the mouth like natural teeth and cleaned in a similar way. A missing front tooth is an aesthetic disaster but a good bridge or implant can replace it in the most natural way. A fixed bridge is accomplished by crowning one or more other teeth and using the crowns to support the artificial tooth in the gap. An implant is an artificial tooth that is fixed to a post that inserts into an anchor placed within the jawbone, and is to all intents and purposes, just like a natural tooth. Anyone concerned about the appearance of their teeth should speak to their dentist as they might be pleasantly surprised by what can be achieved these days with the miracles of modern cosmetic dentistry.