Cosmetic dentistry is a field of professional oral care that helps people improve the look of their teeth and smile. It’s different from restorative dentistry, which addresses issues like broken teeth and dental decay.
Cosmetic dentists have the skills and expertise to offer a wide range of treatments. Some cosmetic procedures are simple and others require more time to perform.
Cosmetic dentistry includes any form of dental work that intends to improve the physical appearance of your teeth and gums. However, it is important to note that this type of dental work is not necessary for every patient. In fact, some patients who have crooked teeth, uneven gum lines, or missing teeth may not benefit from these treatments.
A common cosmetic dentistry treatment is composite bonding, which involves applying tooth-colored resin material to the surface of the teeth to repair chips, cracks, discoloration, gaps, or other imperfections. This method is often done without the need for anesthetics, and it can help improve your smile’s overall appearance.
Aesthetic enhancements in cosmetic dentistry also include reshaping and whitening the teeth to give them a more natural, healthy appearance. This is a good option for patients who are not happy with their current dental look but do not want to undergo major cosmetic surgery. Aesthetic dentistry aims to solve problems such as a few missing teeth in a way that not only fixes the problem from a functional perspective but also helps patients feel confident when they smile.
Teeth whitening is probably the most widely known cosmetic dentistry treatment. Also known as ‘tooth bleaching,’ it removes the discoloration of teeth from food, drinks and smoking, and can be performed at home using trays with peroxide gel or at the dentist’s office in less than an hour.
Veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that the cosmetic dentist uses to fix the shape, length or color of your teeth. They can be applied to the front or the sides of your teeth, allowing you to have a brighter and more even smile.
Bonding is a composite material that the cosmetic dentist uses to repair chipped, decayed or misshapen teeth. They apply the material to the tooth, sculpt it into place and cure it with an ultraviolet light.
Dental implants are metal devices that the cosmetic dentist places in the jawbone to replace missing teeth. They may also be used for support after severe tooth decay or a root canal. They are a more permanent option than dentures. They are typically made of titanium and fuse with the bone in your jaw.
Dental veneers are wafer-thin porcelain or resin composite shells that cover the front of a tooth to change its shape, size, color or length. They’re popular for enhancing a smile by fixing chips, crooked teeth and discoloration. Porcelain veneers offer a more natural look and resist staining better than resin-based composite.
During the procedure, we’ll first administer a local anesthetic and minimally reshape your tooth’s surface. We’ll then take an impression of your teeth and send it to a lab where the veneers will be fabricated. At a subsequent appointment, we’ll test the color and fit of your veneers before permanently bonding them to your teeth.
Resin-based composite veneers are a less expensive alternative to porcelain and can fix the same issues in one dental visit. However, they don’t last as long and are more susceptible to damage. To protect your new veneers, don’t chew on hard objects like pens or bones and avoid using your teeth to open packages. Also, it’s a good idea to wear a mouth guard when playing sports. A splint or retainer may help if you grind or clench your teeth at night.
When a tooth is too damaged to be fixed with a filling or an onlay, it may need a dental crown. This is one of the more common restorative procedures in cosmetic dentistry. Crowns are made of ceramic, porcelain or dental composite and can last up to 30 years.
A dentist will evaluate the damage to a tooth before suggesting crowns. They will also look at the location of the tooth in the mouth. Teeth in the aesthetic zone, which are visible in the smile, generally have more cosmetic treatment options than teeth in the functional zone, which experience constant force from chewing and grinding.
A cosmetic dentist can use a dental crown to cover a misshapen tooth, hide discolored fillings and repair a broken or chipped tooth. They can also add support to a weakened tooth or an implant. They can even make your tooth appear larger for a more balanced smile. Dental crowns are custom made to fit a patient’s tooth and can be placed at a same-day appointment in some cases.
While many cosmetic procedures prioritize aesthetics over function, dental implants do not. They are a surgical procedure that replaces missing tooth roots and is considered a permanent solution to tooth loss. To the naked eye, dental implants look like your natural teeth and are a great way to improve your smile.
If you are considering dental implant surgery, it is important to consult with your oral surgeon or prosthodontist to determine if they are appropriate for your needs. Your dental professional will perform an exam, evaluate your gums and bone structure using X-rays or computer tomography scans and determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure.
Other popular cosmetic dentistry treatments include composite bonding, which is a method of fixing crooked teeth or chips and cracks by applying a material that resembles the color of your teeth to the damaged surface. Your dentist can also offer veneers, which are thin porcelain shells bonded to the front of your teeth to conceal their appearance. These procedures are usually performed under local anesthesia and can be used to correct misalignment causing pain or discomfort.