Traditional dentistry deals more with proper oral hygiene and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases, whereas cosmetic dentistry concentrates more on the improvement of the appearance. It commonly solves issues like crooked or chipped teeth, discoloration, or missing teeth.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments:
This treatment is done to change the vertical dimension of people whose teeth have been subjected to years of wear because of too much grinding and acid reflux. After the treatment, patients have a closed and shorter appearance in their smile and face.
Bonding helps improve how the teeth look if they are chipped, broken, cracked, stained, or have excess space between them. The procedure involves the application of enamel-like composite resins to the tooth’s surface, molded into shape, hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, and then polished. The result blends naturally with the surrounding tooth structure and the rest of the teeth, improving the person’s smile.
This cosmetic dental procedure is the easiest of all and can be done with a single office visit. Dental bonding can also be used to fill small cavities or protect the exposed root of the tooth. Modern dentists also use bonding as a replacement for, or an alternative to, silver or amalgam fillings.
Nowadays, both children and adults are benefiting from dental braces. Braces not only correct crooked or misshapen teeth, but can also help improve irregular bite, jaw joint disorders, or the proper positioning of the jaw.
Dental braces work by applying steady pressure to the teeth to reposition them gradually into alignment. The dentist or orthodontist uses metal, ceramic, or porcelain brackets and bonds them to your teeth. Arch wires are threaded through the brackets to guide the teeth correctly into position. Orthodontic braces are usually worn for about 1-3 years after which retainers replace the braces to hold the teeth in their new position.
Bridges are also sometimes called fixed partial dentures and are used to replace missing teeth or to close a gap between the teeth. Material used for the artificial teeth are usually made of gold, porcelain, alloys, or a combination of these materials. The procedure takes 2 visits at one hour each appointment. Bridges can last from 3-15 years if proper oral hygiene is strictly followed.
Also known as caps, crowns are placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns or caps can be made from ceramic, metal, resin, or porcelain-fused-to-metal materials and are cosmetically used to improve broken or severely stained teeth. A costly procedure, crowns are recommended only by dentists when other procedures will not produce effective results. Crowns can last from 5-15 years.
Dentures are removable artificial teeth that replace missing teeth and surrounding tissues of the teeth. There are two types of dentures, complete and partial. Partial dentures are used when there are some natural teeth remaining, while complete dentures are applied when all teeth are gone on either the top or bottom row.
Enamel Contouring and Shaping
Also known as odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, sculpting, re-contouring, or contouring, this cosmetic dental procedure is applicable if you have healthy, normal teeth. It involves removing or contouring the dental enamel to change the length, position, or shape of the teeth to improve the appearance. It is used to correct minor imperfections of the teeth and the results can be seen immediately. This procedure is usually combined with bonding, teeth whitening, or veneers.
Also known as indirect fillings, these are often made from porcelain or composite materials that are used to fill tooth decay or other structural damage in the teeth. Unlike dental fillings which are molded into place immediately during your office visit, inlays and onlays have to be created in a dental laboratory first before your dentist can fit and bond them into place.
When the filling material is bonded in the center of a tooth, it is called an “inlay”; when the filling is done in one or more points in the tooth or includes the biting surface, it is called an “onlay”. This cosmetic dentistry procedure can be an alternative to crowns and can preserve healthy teeth for a long time.
Sensitivity to hot and cold might be caused by gum recession and exposure of the root of the tooth. This condition makes the teeth appear long and may subject the tooth root to decay or even bone loss. Gum grafts are a treatment that involves soft tissue grafts that can transfer healthy gum tissue to another part of the mouth to prevent or stop recession of the gums and bone loss in addition to improving the aesthetic look of the gum line.
Implants are a long-term solution to replace missing teeth and are among one of the most expensive cosmetic dentistry treatments. They are titanium artificial tooth root replacements that are inserted into the bone sockets of the missing teeth. These are a good alternative to bridges and removable dentures.
They are surgically implanted into the jawbone by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon. If bone loss occurred due to periodontal disease, the surgeon will probably have to graft a bone first to secure the implant.
There are three parts of a dental implant: titanium metal that is fused to the jawbone, an abutment that fits over the part of the implant that juts out from the gums, and a crown to provide a natural-looking appearance to the implanted tooth/teeth.
Veneers are wafer-thin tooth-colored pieces of porcelain or resin that are bonded to the surface of the teeth. This treatment is done to change the color or shape of the teeth, or to repair and correct broken, chipped, cracked, or gaps between the teeth. Veneers are also used to treat the same problems that bonding procedure addresses, and can be a least expensive alternative to crowns. This cosmetic dentistry procedure takes about 2 separate appointments. Veneers can last 15-20 years if proper care is followed.
Repairing crooked teeth
People who are possible candidate for teeth straightening are those with crooked, crowded, or tilted teeth which can trap bits of food that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Unlike orthodontic dentistry which uses braces to solve the problem, cosmetic teeth straightening involves giving local anesthetic to the patient, and then the dentist uses a surgical device (electrosurge unit) that utilizes heat to remove fragments of the gum. This will help shape the gum and adjust to the shape of the new veneers. The teeth are then drilled to be ready to receive the veneers, and the veneers are bonded to the tooth’s front. The surgery often takes an hour and often last between 2-5 years.
Also called bleaching, tooth whitening has become a popular chemical procedure that many individuals undergo to remove stains, or just simply to whiten their teeth. This cosmetic dentistry treatment is one of the least expensive and simplest ways to enhance your smile and appearance.
Over time discoloration of the t00th enamel occurs due to smoking, taking certain medications, aging, or constantly drinking beverages such as tea and coffee. Although various teeth whitening options are available these days like over-the-counter products and home kits, dentist-supervised treatment is still highly recommended for the safest and most effective whitening of stained teeth. However, teeth whitening treatment is not for everyone. It is only suitable for individuals with healthy and unrestored teeth and gums.
Which procedure is best for you?
The condition of your teeth and the expected result that you want will determine which cosmetic dentistry procedure is right for you. Your dentist can answer any questions for you like what to expect through the course of treatment, what changes will look like, and what type of maintenance is required if there are any.
Cost of Cosmetic Dentistry
The costs for cosmetic dentistry differ according to the type of procedure needed by the patient. Cosmetic dentistry is usually not covered by dental insurance, but there are some dental plans that might cover part of the expenses of other procedures like crowns. Knowing the cost of a cosmetic dentistry treatment that you wish to have is very important to know beforehand.
Cosmetic dentistry is becoming more and more popular these days to improve the appearance and smiles of many individuals. With the advent of new technology, a wide array of tools and techniques are readily available to dentists to help their patients achieve the desired results.
However, before undergoing any cosmetic dentistry treatment, an individual should know first the risks and advantages in addition to what to expect during and after the procedure. It is also important to know the credibility of your dentist to perform cosmetic dentistry treatment, how much the procedure will cost and if there is any special maintenance required after the treatment.