Cosmetic Dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s mouth, teeth, and smile. Generally, it includes treatments or services that are desired or elective. However, cosmetic dentistry may also have restorative benefits such as filling a decayed tooth with porcelain or composite fillings that closely match the tooth’s natural color.
Technological advances in cosmetic dentistry such as the use of lasers and new techniques have expanded the options available to patients. Some common cosmetic dentistry treatments currently in use are outlined in the following sections.
Inlays/onlays are sometimes referred to as indirect fillings. They are made from composite or porcelain materials and provide a long-lasting and cosmetic way to fill teeth with tooth decay or structural damage. Inlays/onlays are created in a dental laboratory first and then are fitted and adhesively bonded into place by a dentist.
Composite bonding is a procedure used to correct the appearance of teeth that have been broken, chipped, discolored, or decayed. A dental composite material that looks like enamel and dentin is applied into the cavity or onto the surface of a tooth. It is then sculpted into shape, contoured and hardened with a high-intensity light. The composite material blends invisibly with the remainder of the surrounding tooth structure and creates a bright, healthy smile.
Dental veneers are used to correct and repair chips and cracks in teeth. They are also used to improve the appearance of teeth that are extremely discolored or worn. Dental veneers consist of porcelain or composite laminates that are adhesively bonded to the surface of a tooth. They may also be used for patients with gaps in their teeth or for patients who have not had success with teeth whitening.
Dental implants fall under the category of prosthetic dentistry. They are artificial replacements used to compensate for tooth loss. Replacing missing teeth with dental veneers can enhance a patient’s smile and give them a more youthful appearance.
Teeth whitening procedures involve bleaching teeth that are stained from smoking, drinking coffee, tea or red wine, or poor dental hygiene. It can greatly enhance a patient’s smile and is currently the most common cosmetic dental procedure in use.
Other more dramatic cosmetic dental procedures such as full mouth reconstruction and smile makeovers are also available. These procedures involve combining two or more of the options above to improve the appearance of a patient’s mouth, teeth or smile.
Cosmetic dentistry provides a host of options for patients who are currently unhappy with their smiles. If you are interested in getting more information about any of the cosmetic dental procedures discussed, please make an appointment with your dentist today.
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