Cosmetic Dentistry. What options are out there for you?
First things first.
Cosmetic Dentistry is a fairly expansive subject which encompasses an array of various treatments designed to enhance or help perfect your smile. Dentistry procedures exist today which can turn your smile into that “Perfect Smile”, that you have possibly wanted for a long time, in a matter of weeks. Procedures range anywhere from slapping on some tooth-colored filling material to a tooth to cover a gap, to the more advanced end of porcelain veneers and crowns.
What to discuss with your dentist.
When you come in (usually for a free consult, depending on the dental office), feel free to tell the dentist exactly what you want to get done to fix your smile, anywhere from tooth color, shape, position of teeth etc. and ask questions on the various options you have available. For instance, if you are just trying to fill a small gap in your teeth, perhaps getting the much more expensive veneer option would not be what you need, or, say there was a tooth missing, what can be done for that? Even missing teeth have various dental solutions connected with them.
So, what ARE the options?
There are several things that can be done in Cosmetic Dentistry to enhance the aesthetics of your teeth and of your smile.
Teeth whitening. This is a simple in-office procedure that can have a great impact on giving you that bright white smile you’ve been wanting, and it doesn’t take very long either. Whitening procedures differ from office to office, but, generally, it is possible to whiten your teeth several shades.
Composite filling material (tooth colored filling). There are a couple of ways this tooth colored filling material is used in cosmetic dentistry, and can be used to enhance the appearance of your teeth and smile in just one visit to the dental office. For instance, given it’s a small enough gap, it is possible to fill the gap with this composite material and that material be shaped and filed down to look just like a natural tooth that’s always been there. Tooth colored fillings can also be used to repair a small chip, or replace unsightly chalky or stained areas of your teeth. They remove that small part of the surface of the tooth that has the stain or discoloration and fill it with the tooth colored filling material, which is then polished down to a seamless finish. This same type of material can also be used to fill cavities, and replace old metal fillings that have worn down. Nice, less expensive alternative to veneers, that is, if just using composite will remedy what is needed.
Porcelain veneers. A veneer is a thin porcelain cover placed over a tooth. Sometimes the tooth has to be prepared in order to receive the veneer, though, in some cases there is no prep work needed, and the dentist can just take an impression, have the veneer made and fit it over your existing, unprepared tooth. It’s used in cosmetic dentistry for a host of cosmetic issues. Anywhere from extremely discolored teeth to filling spaces in a person’s front teeth. They’ve been used to make teeth appear longer or larger for when an individual doesn’t like the shape or size of their teeth. There are also porcelain crowns (or caps) that can be put on the canine teeth, and the back teeth. All look and feel just like natural teeth.
Invisalign© or braces. Invisalign© or braces are also used for cosmetic dentistry. They are used to align the teeth, to move teeth back where they need to be, to un-twist them, and for several other reasons. Invisalign© aren’t braces in the traditional sense, they are clear, plastic aligners. You get several over the course of your treatment, and when done with the treatment you get retainers so they stay corrected and don’t shift after treatment.
I’ve only listed a few of the options that are available to make over your smile. In the end it is your choice what you get done. The consultation with the doctor will be the time you weigh the various options, ask questions, and finally, make a decision on which method of Cosmetic Dentistry is right for you.
A person’s smile is extremely unique, and how you want your smile to look is, well, how it SHOULD look. Some recent studies have shown how heavily society reacts to the smile of an individual. From the business world to the dating scene, we care a lot about what other people think of our teeth, and other people also consider your smile one of your most attractive assets. In fact the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry actually did a survey exactly along those lines (linked here) giving exact statistics.
Stay healthy my friends!