Cosmetic dentistry

By SARAH STACEY, You Magazine

Last updated at 18:10 30 May 2006

Cosmetic surgery is now widely accepted and it seems the next big thing is cosmetic dentistry. With the NHS reforms expected to result in thousands more private dentists, all dedicated to giving us Californian-babe-smiles as well as routine upkeep, it's vital that "the public is educated about the choices available", according to Dr Christopher Orr, President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD).

The BACD has just issued safety guidelines for people considering aesthetic dental treatments. It's essential to find an appropriately skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist then ask to look at their portfolio and talk to previous patients.

Jane Ninnim, 30, managing director of a beauty clinic in London, knows how important this advice is after a recent disastrous experience. "I had extensive dental surgery at a local clinic to give me a smile makeover before my wedding. It cost £5,000 for ten veneers. I should have shopped around but I made a rash decision, which caused me months of terrible pain."

Immediately the temporary caps were fitted, Jane suffered severe head, jaw, neck and sometimes back pain and had to take maximum strength painkillers. Two weeks later with the pain unabated, the veneers were fitted: "I was told everything would now be okay but it wasn't. I even had to stop work for a time."

Five months later, still in agony, Jane contacted Dr Justin Glaister, a BACD member with a particular interest in bite problems. "Your bite is the way that your top and bottom teeth come together," explains Dr Glaister. "About 70 per cent of people have a lack of harmony in this relationship, although not all will suffer symptoms."

Problems with your bite can affect the muscles of the head and neck, leading to headaches, neck and shoulder pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vertigo, tingling in fingertips and clicking, painful joints just in front of the ears (the tempero-mandibular joints, or TMJs).

Jane's previous dentist had not identified her underlying bite problem and, although she was not suffering symptoms beforehand, the adjustments involved in fitting her veneers had triggered the ongoing explosion of pain. "The muscles and the bite go to war with each other," explains Dr Glaister. "It's imperative that potential bite problems are treated before cosmetic dentistry is undertaken."

Dr Glaister uses gentle neuromuscular relaxation with a TENS machine, and patients wear an orthotic, an individually moulded plastic insert that is adjusted at fortnightly intervals until the jaw goes back to a natural position. The pain was relieved almost instantly, and Jane started sleeping well again. "The orthotic looks a bit strange – although you hardly see it when it's in your mouth – but the comfort is amazing," she says.

Contact Dr Justin Glaister at Umbrella Smiles, tel: 020 7612 9810, For BACD, visit

Simply the test

Chlamydia is the most common and widespread sexually transmitted infection in the UK, particularly affecting teenagers.

One reason it's spreading so rapidly is that around 75 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men have no outward signs or symptoms. Treatment is a simple course of antibiotics. If not treated, it can cause serious long term health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease in women (which may lead to infertility) and testicular inflammation in men.

Anyone who's sexually active, particularly with a number of partners, should consider be tested. Many GPs are now part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme and private tests are also available: chlamydia tests cost £30 at Marie Stopes centres (0845 300 0460) and results can be checked in complete privacy on a secure website at For more information on chlamydia, (put chlamydia in the Search box).

A cure for stress

I've just had an interesting email from a chronically stressed, insomniac business woman, who has found a holistic solution to her problems: "I've made the decision to be 'late' every day: instead of getting the train before 7am to get in before 8, I leave at 8 and get in at 9.15ish.

"My boss has now agreed that I work at home one day a week. I've stopped doing Sudoku in bed so my brain calms down and I sleep better. Plus I'm taking a mega-mega vitamin/mineral supplement based on green tea and herbs called StressAssist – which really does!"

StressAssist by Futurebiotics £15.95 for 60 Vegetarian Capsules (a months supply) from

Small change big difference

Calling everyone with diabetes: a specially designed keyring called Gluco-Carry, designed by diabetic Scott Saunders, 28, takes a vital supply of four glucose tabs. In four colours, with a neck lanyard, £7.99 plus postage from

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