Your smile is the first thing someone notices about you, and people often make a judgment about your personality based on your smile. Thanks to the growing field of cosmetic dentistry and professionals dedicated to appearance related dental care, people no longer have to live with the smile they were born with. A great smile is not just for celebrities and Hollywood actors, anyone these days can get the smile they’ve always dreamed of with the help of an experienced and trained dentist.
Dentistry is no longer just a case of filling and extracting teeth, as it was for many years. Nowadays, many people turn to cosmetic dentistry, or “aesthetic dentistry“, as a way of improving their appearance, much as they would use cosmetic surgery or even a new hairstyle. The treatments can be used to straighten, lighten, reshape and repair teeth. Cosmetic treatments include veneers, crowns, bridges and tooth-colored fillings.
Cosmetic Dentistry is general dentistry with an added dimension – besides all the functional requirements, the dentist must pay close attention to the appearance of the dental work. Tooth-colored materials in dentistry have progressed to the point where they can now be used confidently in almost every restorative situation, enabling dentists to provide durable and beautiful dental work to every patient. But it requires considerable extra training to use these materials effectively.
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Things your dentist can do to improve your smile include
- Bleaching to make teeth whiter
- Repairing chips or rough spots with fillings that match your teeth
- Filling cavities with tooth-colored materials
- Reshaping teeth that don’t match the others
- Closing gaps between teeth
- Covering broken teeth with porcelain crowns
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
We all know how important a good smile can be. It could make all the difference the next time you are considered for a raise, go out on a hot date, or get pulled over for a speeding ticket. As insignificant as it seems, a good appearance says so much about you. Not everyone has enough time to get to know you personally, so all they really have to go on is how you appear to be. Cosmetic dentistry is a branch of cosmetic surgery that aims solely to enhance the look of your teeth.
There are three main types of cosmetic dental procedures. Whitening focuses on the color of the teeth, bonding aims to fix chips and deformations, and veneers do a bit of both. All of these procedures are meant to increase you self-confidence through a brighter and more beautiful smile.
Things like coffee and cigarettes accelerate the natural coloring of your teeth. Everyone wants the brilliant white teeth of childhood but the truth is that adult teeth are naturally more yellow and will become progressively more so with time.
The term “whitening” is a bit of a misnomer. That”s because white is not the natural color of teeth. However, it”s just a broad term to describe processes by which stains and natural coloring can be significantly hidden. There are two main kinds of whitening available in cosmetic dentistry. Surface whiteners found in gums and toothpastes only act on surface staining. Bleachers physically change the color of your teeth.
The only way to effectively fix the appearance of a chipped tooth is through bonding. A tooth doesn’t grow back by itself, so it”s necessary to replace any missing portions of a tooth with a composite resin. These resins are a paste to begin with, so they can be shaped and colored to look like the rest of the tooth. Once exposed to a certain wavelength of light, the resin hardens into a permanent plastic. Bonding is an excellent way to repair chipped teeth or fill in large gaps between teeth.
Veneers are another approach to enhancing the look of your teeth. They are a thin shell made of acrylic or porcelain that is cemented to the front of the tooth. A veneer can cover up stains, chips, and large gaps. They tend to look more natural than a bonded tooth.
Enamel shaping involves modifying teeth to improve their appearance by removing or contouring enamel. The process, which often is combined with bonding, usually is quick and comfortable and the results can be seen immediately.
Braces are not just for kids. Orthodontics may be needed if teeth are crooked, crowded or do not meet properly. If your dentist thinks you should see a specialist for treatment, he or she will refer you to an orthodontist.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cosmetic Dentistry
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind while making your decision:
It can be expensive. For example, the application of porcelain tooth veneers may cost between $400 and $1,500 per tooth. Most cosmetic procedures aren’t covered by insurance.
Materials aren’t indestructible. Crowns, inlays and veneers are stronger and more durable than they used to be, but they won’t last forever. They may crack or chip or the cement may weaken. If you’re 70 years old, there’s a good chance that the restorations will last longer than you will. Younger people, however, may have to repeat the procedures in 10 to 15 years.
It’s important to be realistic. Dentists who specialize in cosmetic procedures are enhancers. They can manipulate, shape and polish materials in an infinite variety of ways to create smiles that are truly dazzling. What they can’t do is change the shape of your mouth, the color of your skin or your overall appearance. In order for tooth restorations to truly look natural, they have to work for you. Cosmetic dentistry can improve your appearance; it won’t completely transform it.
One of the benefits of cosmetic dentistry is that the final results are easy to predict. Whether you decide to have a gap filled, a chip repaired or a stain concealed, you’re unlikely to have unpleasant surprises later. Dentists have many methods for repairing, restoring or otherwise changing the appearance of the teeth.
Cosmetic Dentistry is a combination of the art and science of creating an attractive smile. This is accomplished by using state of the art aesthetic materials and techniques in order to achieve the best smile possible for a single individual.