Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Cosmetic dentistry’s goal is to improve the appearance of your mouth, teeth and smile. Although most cosmetic dentistry is a choice made to improve physical attraction, some treatment has restorative benefits that can correct damaged or missing teeth. Here is a list and explanation of the most common procedures in cosmetic dentistry.
Sometimes called bleaching, this is a fairly common form of cosmetic dentistry that has grown in popularity with the availability of “at-home” teeth whitening kits. Whether you decide to have your teeth professionally whitened or do it at home yourself, there are significant differences between the two that should be understood before spending your money.
At-Home Bleaching Kits
There are many choices when it comes to home kits including strips and gels, tray-based bleaching systems and even whitening toothpastes. These kits provide a cost-effective way to help whiten teeth but, like many things, you typically get what you pay for. Compared to professional whitening procedures, the bleaching solutions in the DIY kits are usually much weaker. Care must be taken as the chemicals can burn or temporarily bleach gums. Whitening can leave teeth temporarily sensitive and may not be for everyone, especially if you already have sensitivity issues. If you are planning to try an at-home bleaching kit, be sure to consult your dentist first.
Professional teeth whitening done by a dentist can get teeth brighter faster. Whitening solutions are typically much stronger than the average consumer has access to. Heat, special lighting or a combination of both may also be used to intensify the whitening process. For most professional procedures, patients can expect teeth to get three to eight shades brighter depending on the type of whitening used and the number of in-office visits.
Dental veneers are a thin piece of porcelain cemented to the front surface of your natural teeth. They provide a way to whiten your smile, fix minor cosmetic problems and fix issues like enamel abrasion or erosion. If your teeth are discolored from years of coffee or tea drinking, smoking or other reasons, regular teeth whitening may not be an option. Veneers can be a great option to brighten your smile since they can be made in any shade. Once the veneers are in place, they are mostly staining resistant so you will not have to worry about further discoloration or having them whitened in the future. Since veneers adhere to the front of your natural teeth, they feel natural.
Although veneers do not change the position of your teeth, they can cover up minor orthodontic issues like crooked teeth or gapped teeth.
Dental implants are used to replace lost teeth. A small root like abutment is placed where the missing tooth was. This is used to stabilize a tooth like crown. The crown is designed to look like a natural tooth. Once the bone and tissue fuse to the implant, the implants are permanently secured and indistinguishable from surrounding natural teeth.
Decayed, chipped, cracked or worn teeth can sometimes be rebuilt using a composite material that resembles the color of tooth enamel. A dentist may be able to drill or grind away tooth decay and use this composite to sculpt and recreate the original shape of the tooth. The composite is cured using a special high-intensity light. Once the damaged area is covered and the composite is cured, the tooth will have a healthy appearance.
With today’s dental advancements, there are now many options for anyone looking to improve their smile. Whether you are looking to improve your look or need restorative care, be sure to consult your dentist to discuss options.