Dental Tips Blog


Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Services

Just as with other forms of “cosmetic” services, cosmetic dentistry is that which improves the appearance of a person’s teeth or bite, without actually improving their function. This can include the addition of dental material, such as bonding, veneers or crowns; the removal of tooth structure or gum; teeth whitening; gum depigmentation; straightening (braces) for the improvement of facial appearance; tooth reshaping or sculpting, to correct chips or cracks; dental bridges; and bite reclamation.

Porcelain veneers are wafer thin laminates that fit directly on the teeth and are used to cover gaps or discoloration. However, to apply a crown or cap to a tooth, the original tooth must first be filed down in order for the crown to fit over it. Bonding is composite material, much like enamel,  that is applied to the tooth and then shaped, before hardening and polishing. Dental bridges are false teeth fused between crowns to fill areas where teeth are missing. Bite reclamation restores an individual’s vertical dimension by opening up their bite, which had been reduced through excessive wear or acid reflux.

Due to some media attention and concern over the potential danger of mercury tooth fillings, many today are visiting their local dental professionals to ascertain their options for removal and replacement of those old silver (amalgam) fillings. Today’s fillings can be made of porcelain or composite materials that look similar to natural teeth in structure and color. At your next routine dental appointment, ask your dentist about new procedures and materials. Your personal dentist should be able to provide you with the latest services available, to meet your needs and your budget.



Correcting Tooth Irregularities with Bonding

Did you know that there is an easy way to change the appearance of teeth with slight irregularities? Perhaps you have a tooth with a small chip on the edge, or an area between your two front teeth that is wider than you would prefer. Dental bonding is frequently used in areas such as these to help correct the appearance of minor irregularities in your smile.

Bonding material comes in various shades and is carefully matched to the existing shade of your current tooth enamel. This allows the restoration to blend in naturally with your smile so that it goes unnoticed. The material of bondings is similar to that used in tooth colored fillings. It can be shaped and placed in just about any type of area that you can think of, although some areas may be a little more difficult to get it to stay in place than others.

Because bonding material does not change color, some people decide to whiten their teeth prior to having the cosmetic procedure performed. This allows the patient to have a restoration that matches a smile that is as white as they will ever want to have. If a patient decides to whiten later on, their bonded areas can simply be replaced and matched to the new shade of their teeth.

Areas of gum recession are also another area frequently treated with bonding. By placing the restoration over exposed root surfaces, sensitive teeth can be prevented. The pores in the root surface are no longer exposed, and hypersensitive nerve endings are calmed.

Affordable and one of the most versatile cosmetic dentistry procedures available, many people benefit from dental bonding as a fast and easy way to transform the way they smile.



Dental bonding is an affordable cosmetic dentistry procedure that improves the appearance of tooth discrepancies, like chipped teeth or spaces between the teeth. Bonding material is similar to tooth colored fillings, and is placed on the surface of the teeth to help re-shape the tooth’s appearance.

The resin material used for bonding is matched carefully to your natural tooth enamel. This allows the restoration to blend in appropriately with the rest of your teeth. Because bonding and other tooth colored filling material does not change color, you may want to whiten your teeth prior to having the bonding applied. You can always touch up your whitening if stain is build up over time.

To apply bonding, the tooth to be treated is gently conditioned (and shaped if needed). The bonding material is applied so that it bonds directly with the tooth. After being shaped, the bonding is cured using an ultraviolet light to harden the material.

Bonding may not be appropriate for all aesthetic dental needs. In areas where spaces are very large, bonding, rather than choosing orthodontic therapy, would result in an unnatural appearance. Discretion should be used when determining where to use bonding for aesthetic purposes.

Smile makeovers often use bonding as part of the comprehensive approach to enhancing the appearance of a patient’s smile. When combined with other treatments, bonding offers a minimally invasive option to improve the way individual teeth look and feel. Bonding may also be used in areas of gum recession or toothbrush abrasion in order to treat hypersensitivity in those areas. Similar to other types of fillings, bonding is a semi-permanent option that may require replacement after several years.


Advances in Cosmetic Dentistry

As cosmetic dentistry continues to increase in popularity, advances are constantly being made to provide new and improved methods and techniques for improving your smile.  If you have long wanted a brighter, straighter smile but have always thought that cosmetic dentistry was too expensive, took too long, or would interfere with your lifestyle, talk to your cosmetic dentist about some of the exciting new options for a smile makeover to whiten and straighten your teeth.

Orthodontics is one area where great strides have been made in the past few decades.  Most adults associate straightening crooked teeth with years of wire braces, but there are several new options for adults to straighten misaligned teeth in much shorter time and without unsightly traditional braces.

Invisible aligners such as the Invisalign system move teeth using a series of clear plastic removable aligners.  The aligners are almost unnoticeable and are removed for eating and brushing.  The Six Month Smiles system uses tooth colored bands and wires and focuses on moving just the front teeth.  As the name suggests, the treatment is usually completed in about six months and the bands and wires are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces.

Porcelain veneers can be used to correct mild misalignments without moving any teeth at all.  Veneers are thin, tooth colored wafers that are bonded to the front surface of the patient’s teeth.  In only two or three visits to the dentist’s office you can walk out with a straight, pearly white smile.

If your teeth are already straight but just a little dingy, cosmetic dentists can use new teeth whitening techniques to achieve amazing results in just one or two treatments.  These are safe, effective treatments for most patients and are very reasonably priced.


Components of a Smile Makeover

A smile makeover is an integrated plan of cosmetic dental procedures specifically developed for each patient to enhance the appearance of the patient’s smile.  A smile makeover usually incorporates several cosmetic dental procedures to achieve the desired results.  Depending on the needs of the patient, these procedures can include dental veneers, whitening or bleaching, crowns, implants, orthodontics, and bonding.

A proper smile makeover is more than just choosing a few cosmetic dental procedures.  It involves a comprehensive treatment plan developed after consultation and evaluation by a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry.  Your cosmetic dentist will take into account your facial characteristics to develop a plan that complements and enhances your features.

The evaluation will include the attributes of your teeth.  In addition to whitening and straightening your teeth, if your teeth are short or if you have a gummy smile your dentist may recommend reshaping or lengthening your front  teeth with veneers, bonding, or caps to provide a more youthful appearance.  Gummy smiles can be addressed by modifying the gum line which also makes your teeth appear longer.

Your smile line is the bottom edge of your front upper teeth from side to side.  This line should be an even, smooth curve that coincides with the curve of your lower lip when you smile.  Your cosmetic dentist will take your smile line into account when determining your tooth length.

Tooth proportion is another important consideration for an attractive smile.  Your teeth should have a pleasing height to width ratio and your front teeth should be properly proportioned in relation to the neighboring teeth.  Tooth shaping, bonding or veneers may be necessary to achieve the ideal proportion.


Modern Alternatives to Metal Braces

Many dental patients with crooked or misaligned teeth avoid getting braces because they don’t want to spend years with a mouth full of metal braces.  If you are one of these people who want an attractive smile but have avoided traditional metal braces, you should talk to your dentist about the many alternatives to traditional braces.

Ceramic tooth colored braces and “inside” braces that attach to the back of the patient’s teeth are excellent alternatives for many patients.  These braces are far less noticeable than metal braces and can be used to correct severely misaligned teeth and bite problems.

Invisible aligners are another modern alternative to metal braces.  Aligners use a series of custom made clear plastic “trays” that fit over the patient’s teeth and gently move them into position.  Each tray is worn for two to three weeks before moving on to the next tray.

If you don’t need to have bite problems addressed, then six month braces may be a good option.  Six month braces use tooth colored brackets and wires so they are much less noticeable than metal braces and focus on straightening the patient’ front teeth to create a more attractive smile.  Since they do not attempt to make changes to your bite, results can be achieved in just six months.

Finally, porcelain veneers are thin porcelain shells permanently bonded to the front surface of the patient’s teeth.  For many patients with moderately crooked teeth, porcelain veneers can achieve a straighter, more attractive smile in only a few office visits and without the hassle of braces.  Unlike braces, veneers result in a brighter, whiter smile and there is no need to wear a retainer for years after the treatment.

If you desire a more attractive smile but have been avoiding metal braces, talk to your dentist and find out which of these alternatives might be right for you.


Porcelain Veneers

One of the most publicized cosmetic dental procedures available today is that of porcelain veneers. Dental veneers allow smiles to be completely made over like the Hollywood movie stars that you see on television. There is no need for other treatments like braces or crowns. The veneer actually creates the appearance of whiter, straighter teeth.

Placed on the front surface of the tooth similar to an artificial nail, the shape and shade of the veneer transforms the entire appearance of the tooth. Normally several veneers are used in order to improve the overall smile, but single veneers may be used when there is just one tooth that may need cosmetic improvement. An example may be a rotated or discolored tooth.

Veneers often require little to no tooth preparation for them to be placed. Other types of treatment like crowns require tremendous amounts of tooth preparation. Porcelain veneers are minimally invasive so that if one were to ever come off there would not be a noticeable change in the tooth below it.

There is no need to whiten when you have veneers, because the all porcelain material holds the same shade for the entire life of the veneer. While it can gather some surface stain, your hygienist or dentist can easily polish this off.  Also, there is no metal base used in a veneer so that means there is no risk of a thin silver line around the gumline as is sometimes seen with certain types of crowns.

Not everyone is a candidate for veneers. If you have been thinking of a smile makeover but don’t want to endure lengthy orthodontic work, contact your dentist for a consultation about how dental veneers can change your smile completely.

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