While traditional dentistry focuses on oral hygiene and preventing, diagnosing and treating oral disease, cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person’s teeth, mouth and smile. Cosmetic dentistry includes more elective procedures.
Cosmetic dentistry may also provide restorative benefits. Dental fillings are a great example. They are a common procedure used to treat decayed teeth. Previously, most dental fillings were composed primarily of gold, amalgam and other materials that left visible dark spots on the teeth.Modern fillings may fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, because you can select fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that closely match the color of your teeth giving your teeth a natural appearance. Many people may choose to have their older fillings replaced with newer, tooth-colored fillings.
Cosmetic dentists may also use lasers in order to perform some procedures in their own offices, without the need for referrals to specialists. This is convenient and often times less expensive.
Cosmetic dentistry treatments currently in use include:
• Composite Bonding: Broken, chipped discolored or decayed teeth may be repaired or have their appearance corrected using a procedure called composite bonding. A dental composite material with the look of enamel and dentin is applied into the cavity or onto the surface of a tooth, where it is then sculpted into shape, contoured and hardened with a high-intensity light. The result is a restoration that blends invisibly with the remainder of the surrounding tooth structure and the rest of your natural teeth to create a healthy, bright smile.
• Smile Makeover: Smile makeovers involve an assessment of your smile esthetics in order to improve its appearanceoverall. Typically one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as dental veneers, dental implants, gingival sculpting and teeth whitening, will be required for several teeth in both the upper and lower arches in order to achieve the desired results.
• Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening is probably the most commonly recommended cosmetic dentistry procedure. Teeth are often stained from smoking, food, drink such as coffee or poor oral hygiene. Bleaching the teeth can enhance the appearance of your smile.
• Dental Veneers: Composite or porcelain laminates that are adhesively bonded to the surface of a tooth to correct and repair chips and cracks will improve a worn appearance or severe tooth discoloration. Veneers may also be recommended if you have gaps in your teeth or if you have not had success with teeth whitening. Evaluate porcelain veneers cost and determine whether dental insurance may offset the cost.
• Dental Implants: Dental implants are artificial tooth root replacements that are used as a part of prosthetic dentistry in order to compensate for tooth loss. Often the result is not only a better smile, but can make you look younger, since missing teeth cause the face to collapse, making you look older.