Are your teeth and gums healthy, but you still notice some slight imperfections, like slowly jagged edges on the ends of your front teeth?
Cosmetic dentistry may be what you're looking for.
Cosmetic dentistry is a specialized field of dentistry that is dedicated to purely enhancing a patient's smile. Because the purpose of cosmetic dentistry is aesthetics, it is usually not covered by dental insurance.
While restorative dentistry is dedicated to repairing dental health issues relating to the teeth and gums, cosmetic dentistry is composed of optional dental procedures that make a patient's smile better.
The most noticeable and thought-after benefit of cosmetic dentistry is an improved look. An often overlooked benefit of cosmetic dentistry is the improved functionality of one's teeth and gums.
Cosmetic dentistry can improve one's smile, boost one's self-esteem and confidence and strengthen one's teeth and gums to better prevent future dental issues.
What are cosmetic dental procedures?
When many people think of cosmetic dental procedures, they think of the beautiful, perfectly white smiles of celebrities. Most of the popular, most common cosmetic dental procedures are in fact chosen by the rich and famous to give them that iconic Hollywood smile.
Specifically, these cosmetic dental procedures include:
· Professional, in-office teeth whitening
· Onlays and inlays
· Dental bonding
· Dental implants
In-Office Teeth Whitening
Sure, you can buy a whitening kit and whiten your teeth at home, but whitening done at the dental office uses UV light and an extra potent bleaching agent. Often times, the patient's teeth are cleaned and buffed before the whitening is done, including a natural, longer-lasting whitening.
Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are placed over the front of teeth to correct their shape, smooth rough surface and give a whitened appearance to a tooth. Veneers are ideal for people with severely stained teeth, misshapen teeth, and teeth that are chipped or cracked.
While most veneers are made of porcelain, they can also be made with composite resin (lumineers). The veneers are affixed to the surface of teeth using a special dental bonding agent.
If properly cared for, veneers can last many years.
Inlays and Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are both ideal treatment options for patients with concentrated cavities (or tooth decay) where there is too much damage for fillings, but a crown would likely cause further damage to the tooth.
Inlays and onlays are very similar and are often mixed up. Inlays are only applied to the area of the teeth between the cusps (rounded portions). Onlays are applied to any other area of the tooth's biting surface.
Inlays and onlays can be made of resin, porcelain or gold and are similar to heavy-duty fillings. In fact, onlays are sometimes called "partial crowns" depending on the size.
Dental bonding is a tooth-colored resin material that is firmly attached to the surface of teeth using a curing light. Bonding is ideal for patients with discolored or chipped teeth. Dental bonding has recently become a popular alternative to silver or gold amalgam fillings.
Invisalign is composed of wearing a series of two clear, plastic trays that gradually shift the teeth into proper positioning and alignment. Invisalign is a popular alternative, especially among adults and older teens who would otherwise need to wear braces.
Invisalign provides a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing orthodontic treatment for patients with crooked teeth.
Because they are clear and are custom made to fit over the patient's teeth, they are almost invisible.
Dental implants are great, permanent ways to fix embarrassing bars in your smile from missing teeth. Implants are composed of three parts: a titanium post, an abutment and a tooth-like crown.
The titanium post is inserted into the gum. The crown is attached to the abutment which attaches it to the post.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available today to address a variety of dental imperfections. The most common cosmetic dental procedures include teeth whitening, veneers, onlays and inlays, dental bonding, dental implants and Invisalign.
It is important to learn more about cosmetic dentistry and speak to a cosmetic dentist to get an idea of what cosmetic dental procedure would best strengthen your smile.