When we think of cosmetic dentistry, we think of using techniques that result in a more beautiful smile. While this is oftentimes the primary outcome of cosmetic dentistry, it is typically much more. Teeth that have lost their structural integrity and / or alignment aren’t providing the desired chewing support or function. By replacing, recontouring or realigning these teeth, not only does your smile become more attractive, but you reap the benefits of fully functional teeth that will allow you to enjoy a good meal without pain and potentially with less likelihood of future dental issues.
Cosmetic dentistry techniques have become increasingly commonplace as more and more Americans look for a healthier, prettier smile. In recent years, advanced technologies and decreasing cost has helped make treatment affordable for a diverse range of budgets.
Deeply discolored teeth may be the most common problem corrected by cosmetic dentistry. Over time, teeth can become discolored from consuming drinks like red wine and coffee. Discoloration can also happen from medication, aging, smoking cigarettes, or chewing tobacco.
When you lose a tooth, you lose more than a smile. If it is not replaced quickly, bite functionality decreases and the jawbone will begin to shrink away from disuse, causing a sunken look in the face that makes an individual appear much older.
Even without pain or obvious problems, a cracked or broken tooth should be taken seriously. These areas make the tooth susceptible to decay and the tooth is more likely to crack or break further. You risk losing your tooth completely (whether naturally or via extraction).
Tooth gaps can trap food particles, which may cause plaque and tartar to easily form in those cracks. Filling in problematic gaps in your teeth can help you improve your oral health, and in cases where a gap is unwanted, it will also improve your smile.
The quickest route to a beautiful smile is fixing crooked teeth. Crooked teeth are hard to keep clean, leading to many problems. Teeth misalignment may occur naturally, or as a result of not wearing a retainer prescribed by your dentist.
303 Dental Group offers a full line of cosmetic dentistry options to improve your smile’s appearance and function:
Veneers are thin shells directly bonded to the front of the tooth, designed to cover a variety of dental obstructions. Veneers tend to last longer than bonding, so consider a veneer if your bonding needs ongoing maintenance. Veneers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so be sure to ask your dentist about which material will benefit you the most:
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain adhered to the outer surface of the tooth that mimic the light-reflecting properties of natural teeth. They are both stain-resistant and gum-tolerant. Once bonded to a healthy tooth, porcelain is extremely durable.
Composite veneers are veneers that are not quite as durable as porcelain but are more easily replaced and repaired. The resin is added to your teeth as a liquid before being cured and polished. While porcelain veneers are not reversible, composite veneers are.
If damage to a tooth is minor, you may be able to fix it with cosmetic bonding. A simpler form of cosmetic dentistry, dental bonding is often performed without the use of an anesthetic (except for a filling procedure) and usually requires only one visit to a dentist.
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Here is a helpful glossary of terms related to cosmetic dentistry.
Aesthetics: Also, esthetics. Having to do with a beautiful appearance. Refers to cosmetic dentistry.
Bonding: Using composite resin material to remedy chips or cracks in a tooth.
Braces: Generally composed of wires and brackets that use tension to realign permanent teeth for better occlusion, esthetics, and/or spacing. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign® are increasingly popular alternatives.
Composite Resin: Dental material containing small glass or ceramic particles used in bonding and veneers, typically applied as a liquid and cured with a light or chemical catalyst.
Crown: Can mean two things: one being the portion of a tooth that extends above the gum line, while also referring to a lab-made restoration known as a cap or a false tooth placed on a dental implant.
Enamel: A white, hard protective tissue making up the outer layer of the tooth that extends above the gum line.
Laminate: Lab-made veneer (usually porcelain) bonded to the front of a tooth, typically used in Lumineers.
Porcelain: A ceramic material made by heating clay-like materials to high temperatures. In dentistry, porcelain is commonly used in dental veneers.
Smile Makeover: A treatment plan that includes various cosmetic and esthetic restorative procedures to improve a smile’s appearance.
Teeth Whitening: Bleaching teeth with chemicals. Can be done in an hour with a light, or in two weeks with daily worn trays.
Veneer: Cosmetic dental treatment involving porcelain, laminate, or plastic wafers bonded to front teeth to mask imperfections.
To find more information on choosing the right cosmetic dentistry treatment for you, call 303 Dental Group at 303-536-7039.