Cosmetic dentistry is a method of professional oral care that focuses on improving the appearance of your mouth, teeth and smile. Although cosmetic dentistry procedures are usually elective, rather than essential, some cases of treatment also provide restorative benefits.
If your teeth are stained, discolored, worn, chipped, broken, misaligned, misshapen, or have gaps between them, modern cosmetic dentistry can give you a better smile.
A few types of cosmetic dentistry are – teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental bonding, dental crown, inlay and onlays, and dental implants.
Teeth whitening is when your teeth can be bleached with in-office products in your dentist’s office, or you can buy a mold and gels from your dentist to bleach your teeth at home. Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored porcelain or resin that cover the front surface of the teeth. In dental bonding, a tooth-colored, putty-like resin, which is a durable plastic material, is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. A dental crown, also called a cap, fits over and replaces the entire decayed or damaged tooth above the gum line, restoring its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Inlays and onlays, also called indirect fillings, are made from gold, porcelain, composite materials and fill decayed or damaged teeth. Dental implants are titanium tooth roots inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth.
A smile makeover is the process of improving the appearance of the smile through one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as dental veneers, composite bonding, tooth implants, and teeth whitening. Smile makeovers are performed for many reasons and customized according to your unique considerations. A cosmetic dentist will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan designed to achieve exactly what you want from your makeover.
Problems that a smile makeover can address are: discoloration of the teeth, cracked or chipped teeth, eroded, misshapen, or disproportionately sized teeth, gaps between teeth, slightly crooked teeth, gummy smiles, and an uneven gum line. Cosmetic dentistry procedures require oral hygiene care and may require maintenance over time. For example, teeth whitening must be repeated on occasion in order to maintain brightness. Porcelain veneers may chip or break off and need replacement. Permanent composite bonding may stain and require enhancement or replacement. Dental crowns typically require replacement after 10 to 15 years.
A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel. Veneers are a less intrusive option than crowns or braces. Veneers can be used to close gaps or correct small misalignments. Patients also choose veneers as a cosmetic solution to enhance brightness of their teeth and to straighten their smile, correcting issues like discoloration, fractures, or chips. The most commonly used material for veneers are the conventional porcelain veneer and Lumineers, and composite resin veneers. The process of veneers typically takes one to two appointments. If the veneer is prefabricated it usually takes one appointment and if the laboratory is creating the veneers it takes two appointments.
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. Dentures take some getting used to, but will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth. There two main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist usually chooses the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced. Full dentures are a flesh-colored acrylic base that fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the roof of your mouth, while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue. Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth.
A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. Implants fuse to your jawbone, so they provide stable support for artificial teeth. Dentures mounted to implants won’t slip or shift in your mouth especially when eating or speaking. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place. In order to receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.
There are two types of implants: endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants. Endosteal implants are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. The artificial tooth or teeth is then attached to the post-individually, or grouped on a denture. Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Artificial teeth are then mounted to posts that are attached to the frame.
Teeth bonding is the application of a tooth-colored resin material using adhesives and a high intensity curing light. This procedure involves materials bonded to the tooth. Bonding is typically used for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth. It is also used to close spaces between teeth, to make teeth look longer or to change the shape, or color of teeth. Dental bonding takes little to no preparation. With dental bonding your dentist matches the shade of your existing teeth to select a composite resin color that will closely match the color of your tooth.
There are two forms of dental bonding: direct composite bonding and adhesive bonding. Direct composite bonding is the process where dentists use tooth-colored composites that they have in their offices to fill cavities, repair chips or cracks, close gaps between teeth and build up the worn-down edges of teeth. Adhesive bonding as opposed to direct composite bonding is the process of attaching a restoration to a tooth.
Dental crowns are a secure way to fill gaps and help restore your smile if you have missing or damaged teeth. A crown can also help you bite and chew better. A crown is a cover or cap your dentist can put on a tooth. The crown restores the tooth to its normal shape, size and function. The purpose of a crown is to make the tooth stronger or improve the way it looks. A few reasons for needing a crown are: having a cavity that is too large for a filing, having a missing tooth and needing a bridge, needing to cover a dental implant, having a tooth that is cracked, worn down or otherwise weakened, if you had a root canal treatment, and if you want to cover a discolored or badly shaped tooth.
Crowns are made from several types of materials: metal alloys, ceramics, porcelain, composite resin, or a combination of these materials. In the process of making a crown, the material is colored to blend in with your natural teeth.
Dental bridges are cemented or fixed in the mouth, and involve at least three crowns connected together to fill the space of the missing tooth. There are four types of dental bridges: traditional dental bridges, cantilever bridges, Maryland bridges, and implant-supported bridges. Traditional bridges consist of one or more fake teeth and are held in place by dental crowns. Traditional bridges can be used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by your missing tooth. Cantilever bridges are similar to traditional dental bridges, but the fake teeth are supported by an abutment on only one side, rather than on both sides. Maryland bridges are considered a conservative alternative to traditional bridges. Maryland bridges consist of fake teeth that are held in place by a metal or porcelain framework. This framework is bonded onto the backs of the two teeth adjacent to the missing tooth. Implant-supported bridges can be used when you have more than one tooth missing. Instead of being supported by crown or frameworks, these bridges are supported by dental implants.
Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. Whitening is not a one-time procedure; it will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter color. The out layer of a tooth is called the enamel. The color of natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combines with the color of the dentin under it. Aging makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker. The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are: using tobacco, drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine, and not taking good care of your teeth.
Invisalign treatment is the process of wearing a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth. They are clear aligners made of flexible plastic. Invisaligns are thin, clear and fit snugly over your teeth, making them virtually invisible. Your dentist will create a unique, digital treatment plan that maps out the exact movements of your teeth. Your Invisalign clear aligners are then designed to apply the right amount of force to the right place at the right time based on your plan. Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible. You can remove them to eat and drink, to brush and floss, or for special occasions. Invisalign aligners are also trimmed based on your gum line for comfort and appearance.