A Comprehensive Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry
Everyone loves to have a radiant smile, but that doesn’t always happen naturally. If you lack confidence in your dental aesthetics, quality cosmetic services can help you achieve your picture-perfect smile. Whether you are looking to replace an old, damaged restoration or want a complete smile makeover, finding the best procedure is key to optimizing your oral health and self-confidence.
Cosmetic Options Available
A beautiful smile can help you project health, youth, sincerity, and success. There are a variety of advanced techniques to shape and sculpt your smile until you’re delighted with the way it looks and feels.
Making your teeth straighter, whiter, and brighter may require several different cosmetic procedures depending on your specific needs and goals. Treatments you will want to consider include:
- Implant Treatment
- Porcelain Veneers
- In-Office and Take-Home Teeth Whitening
- Orthodontic Treatment
Cosmetic dentistry involves a variety of treatments designed to improve and restore the aesthetics of your smile. Having a more attractive smile can give you more confidence and improve essential oral health.
When your teeth are straight and free of decay, it is much easier to take care of them with a regular hygiene routine and periodic exams. The term cosmetic may imply that these services are a luxury, when, in fact, they are vital components of dental health that can positively impact your smile.
Choosing the Right Cosmetic Treatment
Choosing the right cosmetic treatment begins with a discussion about your goals and what kind of results you want. You may want a single treatment, like teeth whitening, or multiple services. Your dentist can review a complete list of options so that you can make an informed decision.
An initial evaluation of your oral health will allow your dentist to spot any underlying concerns that may obstruct or hinder your cosmetic procedure. If you’re ready to receive treatment, a custom treatment plan will include your budget, expected timeline, and aesthetic goals.
After your consultation, your dentist will create a digital model of your enhanced smile that visually represents your treatment goals. You can begin the process with your ultimate results already identified, and you can see for yourself how your smile will turn out.
Benefits of Dental Bonding
Bonding is a quick and inexpensive treatment that can give you a natural look without sacrificing your original tooth structure. To find out if bonding can help you reach your cosmetic goals, you will first need a consultation to find out if you are a candidate. If you are in good oral health and you only need minor repairs, bonding could provide the following benefits:
- Multi-Purpose: One of the benefits of dental bonding is its ability to address a multitude of cosmetic concerns. Bonding can restore discolored teeth and repair those that have suffered physical damage, such as chips. It can also provide a natural-looking alternative to metal fillings.
- Budget-Friendly: Bonding requires less time spent in the dental chair and uses less material, making it very cost-effective. Alternatives like crowns and veneers need to be custom-made from porcelain, so they take longer and can be more expensive.
- Quick: Dental bonding is a convenient procedure completed in one visit. The session can take less than an hour, and you should leave the office without any feelings of discomfort.
- Look Natural: The material used in dental bonding procedures matches the color of your natural teeth. If you have teeth with deep stains that do not respond to whitening treatments, bonding can improve their appearance.
- Minimally Invasive: Dental bonding requires minimal preparation on your natural teeth. A special gel roughens the tooth surface to help the bonding material adhere, and then it’s hardened with ultraviolet light. Shaping and polishing each area creates a natural-looking restoration that blends in with your whole smile.
Using Veneers to Transform Your Smile
Dental veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells designed to cover the front side of a tooth. Veneers offer a natural white look that is also very durable. Today’s technology allows you to achieve the smile of your dreams with veneers customized to the size, shape, and color you desire. These prosthetics are perfect for combatting a wide variety of problems.
On your first visit, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to craft your custom-made veneers. During your second visit, they will prepare your tooth by buffing and reshaping the front surface. Then a special bonding cement is used to attach the veneer onto your tooth. After receiving veneers, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene, avoid foods that cause stains, never use your teeth as tools, and visit your dentist regularly.
Teeth Whitening: A Great Way to Brighten Your Smile
Unless you strictly avoid food and drinks known to stain tooth enamel, your teeth will likely lose their white color over time. Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic treatment in America. It uses a professional-strength gel to remove or lighten stains and give your teeth back their bright, natural shine. Benefits of teeth whitening include:
- Removal of everyday wear and staining
- Elimination of brown and yellow stains caused by medications and smoking
- Renewal of the color of teeth affected by fluorosis
Although over-the-counter teeth whitening products such as strips are available, professional teeth whitening is much more effective. Whitening strips require frequent application, whereas professional whitening procedures are needed less often and deliver longer-lasting results.
With modern whitening treatments, your smile will look better and brighter than ever before. Along with hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth, the whitening gel also has potassium nitrate to strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity. This powerful combination allows for faster treatment times and less dehydration and sensitivity.
The Whitening Procedure:
- Treatment begins by making sure your teeth and gums are healthy enough for the procedure.
- After a thorough cleaning to remove debris, photographs will record the color of your teeth.
- A coating to protect your gums will be applied, followed by the first application of the whitening gel.
- After 15 minutes, the gel is removed, and your progress is checked, and then the gel is applied twice more at 15-minute intervals.
- Your mouth will then be rinsed and cleaned, then photographed to show the dramatic change in color.
The entire teeth whitening process usually takes no more than 90 minutes. To care for whitened teeth, avoid enamel-staining drinks such as teas, coffee, and wine and use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
You can also get dramatic, long-lasting whitening at home. Most professional formulas from a dentist contain special additives to dramatically reduce sensitivity, which can be very common with store-bought whitening solutions. To maintain your white, shiny results, you only need to repeat this treatment once or twice per year.
5 Habits to Maintain A Beautiful Smile
Avoiding bad habits and following a few simple rules will help you keep your smile beautiful and healthy for a lifetime.
- Brush twice per day and floss nightly: Brushing in the morning and before bedtime keeps plaque from turning into tartar, which will require professional cleaning to remove. Add an extra brushing after consuming foods high in sugar or carbohydrates. Avoid brushing immediately after drinking orange juice or soda, as the high acid content can be abrasive to tooth enamel. You can combat the development of cavities further by flossing every day.
- Visit your dental office twice per year: Regular dental visits are a vital part of maintaining a healthy smile. Scheduling and keeping these appointments allows your dentist to find early signs of decay and treat any issues quickly. You need regular cleanings to remove stubborn bacteria-containing tartar. Missed dental visits can lead to dental emergencies or complex problems that may require more invasive procedures to correct.
- Use a straw or brush more often: Wine, coffee, tea, and other darkly pigmented foods and drinks are notorious for staining teeth. Using a straw when possible or brush immediately after consuming them to help prevent this. (However, don’t use a straw for hot beverages, as this can burn your mouth.)
- Wear a mouthguard: Dental-related injuries are common if you are active in sports, and you can prevent them by protecting your teeth with a personalized mouthguard. A well-crafted, customized mouthguard is your best bet to avoid a dental injury.
- Consider orthodontics: Clear braces allow mature teens and adults to achieve correctly aligned teeth discreetly and effectively. At the end of treatment, ask the dentist for some professional strength take-home whitening gel to use with the final aligner tray.
A Straight Smile is a Healthy Smile
A straighter smile is easier to keep clean and can reduce the risk of decay, gum and bone loss, irregular wear of enamel, and TMJ/TMD pain (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). Clear aligners are a discreet but effective straightening system that can realign mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Treatments can cover problems ranging from crooked, misaligned teeth to gaps, and overcrowding.
While traditional braces are an excellent option for kids and those with severe bite issues, treatments with clear braces will work for most everyone else. For the best results, you need to wear the aligner trays for a minimum of 22 hours per day, taking them off only to eat and maintain oral hygiene.
The Benefits of Clear Aligners
Wearing these clear aligners all day is easy since they are designed to fit comfortably and are virtually undetectable. Your unique series of aligner trays are crafted from a detailed impression of your bite. What’s impressive about treatment with clear braces is the option to view a digital rendering of your progress from the first tray to the last even before you begin treatment.
Talk to a Professional
Whatever cosmetic dental treatments you are interested in, have a professional assess your individual needs and offer a clear plan. From improving one imperfection to revamping your whole smile, today’s dental technology can help you meet your goals and maintain optimal oral health. If you have any comments or tips on cosmetic dentistry, please share them below.