What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Your smile is one of the most important aspects of your appearance and having a perfect set of teeth can aid in boosting your confidence level. However, if your teeth are stained, crooked or otherwise flawed, you can use cosmetic dentistry to help create your perfect smile.

Fillings and crowns are considered restorative as well as cosmetic, but teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic treatment option. Most people experience staining from the food or drinks, and some have genetic components that alter tooth color. The less severe the stains, the better whitening treatment will work. If the staining is very deep, or you have problems with chips, cracks, or spacing, veneers and bonding come in as the next most popular treatment method. 

Because these are considered preferential treatments, many Insurance companies don’t cover the cost. Sometimes treatment for damages like chips and cracks can also be considered restorative, and thereby qualify for insurance coverage. Cosmetic treatments can also replace missing teeth, fill the gaps between teeth, make gums appear less prominent, and restore old silver fillings to new, more advanced material that looks more natural.  

Types of Cosmetic Treatments

Bite Reclamation: This treatment is done to repair damage from wear due to grinding or acid reflux.

Dental Bonding: 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 resin that is shaped and moulded, hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, and then buffed and polished. Bonding is a quick, easy treatment for economically treating mild damage or making slight corrections.

Orthodontics: Nowadays, both children and adults are benefiting from orthodontic treatment. Clear or metal Braces work by applying steady pressure to the teeth to reposition them gradually into alignment. This treatment can help improve bite issues, relieve jaw pain, and increase confidence. Orthodontic treatment lasts for about 1-3 years after which retainers replace the braces to hold the teeth in their new position.

Dental Bridges: Bridges are used to replace missing teeth or to close a gap between the teeth. The material used for artificial teeth can be gold, porcelain, alloys, or a combination of these materials. The procedure takes around two visits with an hour for each appointment. Bridges can last from 3-15 years when properly cared for.

Dental Crowns: Also known as caps, crowns are placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns or caps are made from ceramic, metal, resin, or porcelain-fused-to-metal and even zirconia for optimal aesthetics. With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, crowns can last from 5-15 years and sometimes longer.

Dentures: Dentures are removable artificial prosthetics that replace missing teeth and surrounding gum tissue. There are two types of dentures, complete and partial. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth are remaining, while complete dentures are used when all the teeth on either the top or bottom jaw need replacement.

Inlays/Onlays: Also known as indirect fillings, these are often made from porcelain or composite materials and used to fill areas where decay is removed. Unlike fillings which are created immediately during your office visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated 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 restoration is done on the biting surface, it is called an “onlay.”  

Gum Grafts: Sensitivity to hot and cold can begin with gum recession that exposes the root of the tooth. This condition makes the teeth appear longer and can increase the risk of decay or even bone loss. Gum grafts 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.

Dental Implants: Implants are a long-term solution to replace missing teeth and are among one of the most expensive cosmetic dentistry treatments. A titanium post is surgically placed in the jaw and topped with a crown, replacing a missing tooth completely.

Dental Veneers: Veneers are wafer-thin tooth-colored pieces of porcelain or resin bonded to the surfaces of the teeth. This treatment is done to change the color or shape of a tooth, or to repair chips, cracks, or gaps. Veneers are often used for the same issues as bonding and can sometimes be an alternative to crowns. Veneers can last 15-20 years if you take care of them and you don’t use your teeth as tools to open packages or break a string.

Teeth Whitening: Professional and over the counter whitening has become a popular method to remove stains and brighten teeth. This cosmetic treatment is one of the least expensive and simplest ways to enhance your smile and appearance. Products you get from your dentist are more effective and safer and should only be used if your overall oral health is stable.

Cosmetic dental treatments can help you feel more confident about your smile, leading you to share it more often and encourage everyone around you. Contact your dentist today and invest in yourself by improving the look and feel of your smile.  

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