While many seek cosmetic dentistry techniques to improve the look of their smile, the reality is that cosmetic dentistry helps to improve the overall health of your mouth and your comfort. It’s a win-win, where not only do you enjoy the benefits of a more balanced and confident smile, but it helps to prevent future complications and restore the health of your teeth.
There are a number of procedures and techniques for improving your smile ranging from teeth whitening to bonding to bridges. Here’s a look at seven of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures with some insight into what you can expect from each.
Over time it is common for our teeth to discolor, darken and become stained, especially for those who often drink fluids that stain the teeth like coffee or tea. Teeth whitening helps to restore your smile and brighten your teeth. However, the impact of these treatments is not permanent and must be coupled with regular dental cleanings, daily brushing, flossing and moderating foods and drinks that led to the discoloration in the first place.
Typically, you’ll have various teeth whitening options including a professional, in-office treatment, or your dentist can recommend and provide an at-home teeth whitening option. Whatever you decide, first meet with your dentist to make sure your teeth and mouth are healthy enough for a whitening treatment.
One of the most common ways dentists treat chipped, stained or cracked teeth is via dental bonding. Dental bonding is typically a painless procedure that doesn’t usually require anesthesia. Reason being, dental bonding is often used on areas of the teeth that have very little sensitivity.
The procedure is fairly straightforward and, depending on the case, can be performed quickly by your dentist. The process of bonding is simply the act of adding a resin that is intended to match the color of your teeth and then this resin is shaped to match the contours of the teeth. Minor chips are almost always treated with bonding to restore the shape of the affected tooth.
Porcelain veneers are a more permanent solution aimed at improving the color, appearance and function of your teeth. Veneers recreate the natural appearance of your teeth while also providing the best strength and flexibility possible, comparable to your natural tooth enamel.
At our dental office in Monroe, MI, we utilize veneers to reshape teeth, improve the aesthetics, close gaps, and fix chipped crooked or broken teeth as well. Porcelain veneers are custom-made to fit over your natural teeth. However, the foundation of your natural teeth must be strong and healthy in order to be a candidate. The benefit of veneers is that the results are instant and they are also more resistive to stains from coffees, teas and smoking.
If teeth whitening hasn’t worked for you in the past, dental veneers might be your best option.
Dental crowns are used to renew the appearance and function of teeth when they begin to weaken and become more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks or discoloration. A crown isn’t limited to just replacing the original tooth, but can be designed to create an even better aesthetic appearance than you had before.
The most common reason your dentist will recommend a crown is:
- To protect a weak tooth from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left.
- To cover severely discolored teeth.
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down.
Also, crowns are often used in conjunction with root canal therapy, dental implants or as an anchor for a bridge. Crowns are typically made from porcelain in order to maintain strength and a natural appearance. Your dentist will be able to guide you in determining if a crown is right for you.
Bridges, or “fixed parital dentures” are simply used to replace missing teeth with artificial ones. This is commonly how to treat permanent teeth that have been knocked out or removed. The success of a bridge is largely a function of the foundation and keeping a healthy mouth and gums is critical for bridges to have a long-lasting impact on your teeth.
Most common procedures require your dentist to anchor the bridge onto surrounding teeth after preparing them for crowns. From there an artificial tooth is joined to the crown and the bridge gets cemented on the neighboring teeth. After getting a bridge it is critical to maintain your mouth health with good dental hygiene.
Implants are a more permanent solution for missing teeth, but a far more involved and expensive procedure. There a single tooth implants as well as multiple tooth implants all of which require a titanium metal anchor that must be fused into the jawbone.
Often implants are a last resort given the extensiveness and expense of the procedure, but your dentist will be able to guide you and provide direction on if it is the best solution for your particular case.
All in all, it is critical to discuss these various options with your dentist and allow them to guide you in the best treatment plan for your particular situation. Whatever the case, the utilization of cosmetic dentistry is critical for improving your smile/confidence, but also your comfort and overall mouth health. For a consultation, schedule an appointment with us today.