What is Cosmetic Dentistry ?
I have people ask me all the time: “ What is cosmetic dentistry ?”, so I figured it would be a great topic to write a blog on! Cosmetic dentistry is a lot like what it sounds. It deals more with the aesthetics of your smile rather than just the health of it. A lot of times, cosmetic dentistry procedures are optional, but that doesn’t mean that some of these treatments won’t also improve the health of your teeth.
Below, I have listed a few of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures so that you can get a good idea of what this term covers:
Indirect fillings, also sometimes referred to inlays and onlays, are created in a dental lab. They are made from from composite resin material and attached to the teeth with adhesive dental cement. They are used in two instances: when there is not enough tooth structure to support a filling or when a tooth has mild to moderate decay. If there is no damage to the tooth cusps, an inlay is placed directly onto the surface of the tooth. An onlay is used when the cusp or a greater portion of the tooth is damaged. In this case, it will cover the tooth’s entire surface. These fillings will provide support to strengthen teeth, restore their shape and avoid any further decay or deterioration.
Bonding, sometimes referred to as composite bonding, describes the repair of decayed, damaged or discolored teeth using material that resembles the color of tooth enamel. In this procedure, we drill out the tooth decay and apply the composite onto the tooth’s surface. Then we “sculpt” it into the right shape before curing it with a high-intensity light. This approach effectively covers the damage of the tooth and gives the appearance of an aesthetically-pleasing tooth in its place. One of the great things about bonding is that it is one of the least expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures available to patients with tooth decay, chipped or cracked teeth or worn-down edges.
Have you ever created or painted on a ceramic pot or bowl? Well, funnily enough, ceramic is the material used to create dental veneers. Typically manufactured from medical-grade ceramic, dental veneers are made individually to look like the patient’s natural teeth. They look incredibly real and can resolve numerous cosmetic issues, ranging from crooked teeth, to cracked or damaged enamel to noticeable gaps between two teeth. We apply the veneer to the front of each tooth using a dental adhesive.
Who doesn’t want white teeth? Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching is one of the most basic cosmetic dentistry procedures that can be performed at our office. Whitening should not take place until plaque, tartar and other debris are cleaned from the surface of each tooth, restoring their natural look. Teeth can also be bleached to achieve an even lighter shade than this original color.
Over the years, teeth can become stained and worn from food, drinks, medication and personal habits such as smoking. This procedure of coating your teeth can be done in the dental office or at home, but is typically more effective when done by a professional.
Implants are used to replace teeth following tooth loss. In this procedure, I insert a small titanium screw into the jaw at the site of the missing tooth, which is used as the support for a crown. These implants blend in well with the natural teeth, and once the bone and supporting tissue fuse to the implant, they are permanently secured into place. This procedure requires a lot of diligence and hard work from the patient during the implant placement period. They must be sure to clean plaque and food debris from the area.
Now, if someone asks you, “ What is cosmetic dentistry ?”, you can impress them with your knowledge. If you’re considering any cosmetic dentistry procedures, we recommend you come in and talk with us. We would love to help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of!