Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
WHAT IS COSMETIC DENTISTRY?
Cosmetic dentistry is a field of dentistry dedicated to the art and science of enhancing a person's smile, overall appearance, and oral health.
Cosmetic dentistry is an important part of overall dentistry. In some cases, people elect to have cosmetic dentistry performed in order to improve their smile and overall appearance. In others, cosmetic dentistry or cosmetic dental surgery are chosen in order to reverse or repair a defect that, while not harmful to overall health, has a negative impact on appearance. Moreover, some procedures can improve oral problems, such as a bite.
Many treatments are used to treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshaped, or missing. Cosmetic surgery can reshape teeth, close gaps, restore worn or short teeth, and even change the length of teeth.
Cosmetic dental techniques have advanced dramatically over the last decade. The quality of materials like porcelains and composite resins has improved, giving a more life-like appearance. And, where once gum tissue surgery and contouring was performed by traditional surgery with surgical scalpels, lasers are more readily used.
Cosmetic dentistry is one of the fastest growing areas of dentistry. Eighty-four percent of dentists now offer cosmetic procedures as part of their practices and half of these report a steady increase in the amount of cosmetic procedures performed over the last three years, according to an American Dental Association survey.
Types of cosmetic dental procedures
Cosmetic dentistry can help:
- People with discolored, chipped, broken, or lost teeth
- Seniors wanting a more youthful, healthier appearance
COSMETIC DENTISTRY INCLUDES APPLICATION OF:
- Cosmetic fillings -- Cosmetic fillings are mercury-free, plastic material matching natural tooth color used to replace missing parts of a tooth. Since they bond to the tooth, composite fillings restore most of the original strength and natural appearance of the tooth. It also helps to those people who are allergic to metal.
- Whitening/Bleaching -- Often, people with stained or discolored teeth may just need a whitening procedure in order to restore their smile. People with stained or dull teeth usually benefit from whitening, which is a safe and effective way to brighten stained, discolored or dull teeth.
- Veneers-- Teeth that are badly stained, shaped or crooked may be improved by a veneer placed on the surface of the affected teeth. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic cemented over the front of your teeth to change their color or shape.
- Bonding -- Bonding is a process in which an enamel-like material is applied to a tooth's surface, sculpted to an ideal shape, hardened, and then polished for an ideal smile. This procedure usually can be accomplished in a single visit.
- Cosmetic contouring and reshaping -- Cosmetic countouring and reshaping are procedures used to correct crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth or even overlapping teeth in a single session.
- Crowns -- Crowns are synthetic teeth-like coverings that are designed to make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. A crown is a restoration that covers, or "caps," a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size, strengthening and improving the appearance of a tooth.
- Crown lengthening -- Crown lengthening can be performed to improve a "gummy" smile because your teeth appear short. Crown lengthening involves reshaping excess gum and bone tissue to expose more of the natural tooth.
- Bridges -- Bridges are either fixed or removable dental appliances that replace lost teeth. If you're missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference in chewing and speaking. A bridge is one option that can help restore your smile.
- Specialty dentures -- A wide variety of denture appliances can be made, including over-dentures, which are removable dentures that fit over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture.
- Excessive or uneven gums-- Dental researchers have known for decades that some people are born with gums that grow abnormally over their teeth. Recent research identified a gene that, when altered, triggers hereditary gingival fibromatosis, or HGF, the most common of these rare, inherited gum conditions.
- Ridge augmentation -- Ridge augmentation involves recapturing the natural contour of your gums and jaw. A new tooth can then be created that is natural looking, easy-to-clean and beautiful.
- Grafts -- Soft tissue grafts are sometimes performed to treat gum disease, or correct other abnormalities. The procedure involves taking gum tissue from the palate or another donor source to cover an exposed root in order to even the gum line and reduce sensitivity.
- Replacement of lost gum tissue -- Soft tissue grafts can be used to cover roots or develop gum tissue where absent due to excessive gingival recession. During this procedure, healthy gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source to cover the exposed root.
- Implants -- Dentures are no longer the only way to restore a mouth that has little or no non-restorable teeth. Strategically placed support such as implants can now be used to support permanently cemented bridges, eliminating the need for a denture.
WHICH IS PROCEDURE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
We can help you evaluate which techniques should be used to improve your smile. Major factors taken into consideration include the overall health of your teeth and the final desired result you want. At your consultation visit, feel free to contact us with your questions.
What type of maintenance will be required? What should the changes look like? What can I expect through the course of treatment?