Cosmetic dentistry, sometimes known as esthetic dentistry, is a type of dentistal practice that focuses on achieving positive results with the overall appearance of your teeth. A cosmetic dentist
creates beautiful smiles, by helping patients maintain the function, health and appearance of their teeth over their lifetime. There are many different procedures of cosmetic dentistry, each with a specific focus on what they do. In this article we’ll explore some of those types and what they can do to improve the appearance of your teeth.
Your cosmetic dentist
will work with you to develop a treatment plan that works with your budget and is of an appropriate timeline. Speak with your cosmetic dentist
at your next visit about what services they offer for improve the appearance of your teeth, or help restore damaged or missing teeth
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
Braces help a patient who has crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, like an overbite or underbite. There are a variety of treatments and types of braces and retainers which can help correct teeth alignment. It is also possible to need only a removable retainer to correct your smile.
Braces help improve the look of your smile, and help keep your teeth aligned so you don’t have slippage or uneven tooth wear from chewing. Braces are also custom build for each patient. They work by applying continuous pressure to your teeth to slowly change them in a specific direction by changing the alignment of the teeth anchored into the bone.
Most braces are made up of brackets that are bonded directly to the teeth with a dental adhesive. Brackets then hold arch wires that provide the tension to move the teeth. Brackets can be made from a variety of materials: stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic or plastic which can help hide the appearance of the bracers. New “mini-braces” may be an option for you, as they are much smaller than traditional braces. Brackets can also be cemented to the back of the teeth to help hide them from view. Talk with your cosmetic dentist
to see what option of bracers can help you get your perfect smile.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are used when to repair a tooth that has mild to moderate decay or when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling. The difference between the two is whether or not there is damage to the tooth cusps. If there is no damage, then an inlay is placed directly onto the tooth surface and shaped around the remainder of the tooth. If there is damage to the cusp, then an onlay is used to cover the entire tooth.
Inlays and onlays are generally made in a dental laboratory from a composite resin material, and attached with an adhesive dental cement. They are a great option for when you need to provide greater support to your teeth and restore their shape while avoiding further decay or deterioration.
Dental veneers are thin pieces of a strong material, made generally of medical-grade ceramic, that are applied directly to the front of the teeth by a cosmetic dentist
using a strong adhesive. Each set of veneers are made specifically for each patient and are made to resemble your natural smile. They have the advantage of looking extremely realistic, and are a permanent way to get a great smile.
Dental veneers can resolve a number of cosmetic issues, like crooked teeth with sizable gaps, or cracked or damaged teeth. But, because each veneer is custom made, they come with a significant cost that can range in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. Dental veneers are perfect for those who are looking for a perfect smile, or want to restore their smile to its natural beauty.
When preparing the tooth for the veneers, about half a millimeter of enamel is removed from the outer surface of the tooth. Then a mold of your tooth is taken. The mold is then used to create your custom veneer. It may take a number of weeks for the veneers to be developed in a dental laboratory. Once made, the dentist can bond the veneers to your teeth. After they are bonded to your teeth, a follow up visit may be necessary to check to see how your gums respond to the placement of the veneers.
Consider the type of material the veneer will be made out of, generally either resin or porcelain Porcelain veneers resist stains and reflect light better than resin. Talk with your cosmetic dentist
to see which kind veneers are a good option for you, and how they can help you get the smile you’re looking for.
After the teeth have been cleaned of plaque and tartar, teeth whitening
can be done to help restore their natural appearance. Teeth can become discolored and worn from food and drink, or from medication or personal habits like smoking. Teeth whitening
is one of the most basic and simplest of cosmetic dentistry procedures, you can even do it in your own home!
You can request that the dentist apply a teeth whitener after your six month cleanings, and it will often be combined with a flouride paste that they apply. Or, you can use whitestrips, teeth whitening
toothpaste, or washes to get the same effect at home. Generally, this is the cheapest way to get a better looking smile and works perfectly for people who just want to lighten up their smile.
Composite bonding refers to the repair of decayed, damaged, or discolored teeth with a substance that resembles the natural color of tooth enamel. Composite bonding is a great alternative to silver fillings, as they allow you to retain the original color of the tooth and repair the damage that might be present on the tooth.
A cosmetic dentist
will begin by removing the tooth decay before applying the composite to the tooth. Then they will sculpt it to the right shape before “curing” it with a high-intensity light. Each bonding session generally takes between thirty minutes to an hour, and can cost only a few hundred dollars
Composite bonding, or simply “bonding”, is one of the least expensive cosmetic procedures for patients with damage or decayed teeth. It is a great alternative to consider if you need a filling, but don’t want a silver filling.