The World of Cosmetic Dentistry
One of the most rapidly growing fields of dentistry is cosmetic. Cosmetic dentistry, unlike preventive or restorative, is concerned with the appearance of the teeth instead of the function. While a cosmetic dentist will never recommend procedures that affect bite or function, they can help patients achieve the smile they desire through minor physical changes. In modern times, over half of the population has received some form of this practice, even if it was basic tooth whitening.
What Are Cosmetic Dental Procedures?
A cosmetic procedure can have a restorative function, but is focused on reshaping or changing the appearance of the teeth to be straighter, whiter, and more even. Patients often experience numerous self-confidence and esteem issues because of real or perceived problems with their teeth, and cosmetic dentistry is the answer.
These treatments do not damage the teeth or affect oral health and wellness in any way, but still offer recognizable results that are great for boosting self-confidence and putting the smile on display. Although individual mouths vary, cosmetic procedures themselves are simple and straightforward. Some of the most common ones include:
- Dental Veneers
- Tooth or Teeth Whitening
- Dental Crowns
- Composite Bonding
A dental veneer is a thin shell of composite resin or porcelain placed over the teeth. The shell is customized to make the appearance whiter, brighter, or more even than the existing teeth underneath. The shell is cemented or bonded to the teeth and is expected to last for twenty years when well cared for, meaning patients can create the permanent smile they desire.
Veneers can be used to fix minor issues such as:,
- Teeth that are longer or shorter than the rest,
- Teeth that are worn or cracked,
- Minor gaps between individual teeth,
- Permanent stains or discoloration,
- Minor chips,
Tooth or Teeth Whitening
This is perhaps the most common procedure. Thanks to the influx of media consumed by the average individual, more and more people desire to have gleaming, white teeth. However, most teeth are not naturally bright white, instead being off-white, yellow, or even gray. Whitening uses a hydrogen peroxide solution to bleach away surface stains and penetrate the enamel, creating healthy teeth that are up to eight shades whiter than before.
Sometimes a tooth becomes damaged. When the damage is localized to the crown, or upper part, of the tooth, it can be repaired with a procedure that is cosmetic and restorative. The dental crown is a ‘cap’ for the tooth that sits on an enamel base and replaces the exterior with a false tooth made of composite resin. The crown is durable and not prone to decay, helping to fix severe tooth decay or cover severe chips or root canals.
Composite bonding is a simple and easy process used to fix chips, cracks, and other minor issues with the teeth. The dentist mixes together a composite resin in the color of a patient’s teeth and applies it as a putty. The resin is then shaped to match the tooth and fill in any gaps or make a tooth longer or more even. The resin is then hardened and makes the tooth look complete in less than an hour.
The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
Some procedures, such as the application of crowns, restore the teeth in addition to changing the overall appearance. However, the primary benefit of this field is in the confidence boost it gives patients who are otherwise uncomfortable with their teeth or smile. Some procedures are covered by insurance while others are not, so it’s important to always consult a provider before scheduling an appointment for one of these options.
Where to Find Cosmetic Dentistry
Although it is not an official specialty mandated by the American Dental Association (ADA), many dentists market themselves as cosmetic ones because they have years of experience with these types of treatments and procedures. To find cosmetic dentistry or even basic dental bonding near you, consider contacting Vesna Arezina, DDS. This dental office offers cosmetic dentistry in Houston, TX and currently has appointments available for consultations.