Cosmetic dentistry offers patients the chance to enhance their smile’s appearance so that they can flash a grin with great pride. This area of dental practice involves interventions such as dental crowns, dental implant restoration, teeth whitening and porcelain veneers. The treatments can be completed individually or combined as part of a smile makeover, depending on the patient’s goals. A successful cosmetic dental treatment plan begins with an initial consultation to determine the patient’s needs.
A dental crown is a natural looking, tooth-shaped cap that is placed on top of a biological tooth to repair damage done by extensive decay or for other cosmetic purposes. Dental crowns are also placed on teeth to support dental bridges, and a patient might also receive a crown after getting a root canal in order to strengthen the tooth. When maintained properly, these restorations can stay in place for many years.
Dental crowns can be made from a number of different materials, including metal, composite and porcelain. Tooth-colored dental crowns can be tailored to match the shade of the patient’s teeth so that the restoration blends in with the rest of the smile.
A patient will attend two appointments in order to get a dental crown. At the first appointment, the dentist will collect the information needed to design the crown. The tooth will be prepped for crown placement by removing a thin layer of enamel and a dental impression will be taken to determine the shape of the crown, which is then crafted in a dental laboratory. When the dental crown is ready, the patient returns to the office to have it bonded to the tooth.
Veneers are thin, tooth-shaped shells that are bonded on top of the patient’s biological teeth to conceal aesthetic flaws ranging from chips to cracks to deep stains. Veneers can also be placed on slightly crooked teeth to create the illusion of proper alignment or to make an unusually small tooth look like it is in the correct proportion with the rest of the smile.
Veneers are often made of porcelain, although they can be made of composite materials as well. These devices are custom-designed to blend in with a patient’s smile. Their shade and shape can be adjusted and altered at any time before they are bonded to the tooth.
Like dental crowns, porcelain veneers are designed and placed over the course of at least two appointments. Dental impressions are taken at the first session, and the dentist may also prepare the teeth for veneer placement depending on the thickness of the veneer. When the veneers have been created by the dental lab, the patient returns to the office to have them permanently bonded to the teeth.
After the porcelain veneer is bonded to the tooth, it becomes quite strong. In fact, porcelain veneers can stay in place for up to a decade when patients take good care of them and practice good oral hygiene.
Cosmetic dentistry can use specialized interventions to improve the shade, shape or alignment of the teeth. It can also restore tooth material that has been damaged by decay or injury. Cosmetic dentistry may also address missing teeth, replacing them with devices such as dental implants. Many cosmetic dental treatments can be completed in a matter of weeks and sometimes even less than that, so that patients can dramatically enhance their smiles in a rather short time frame with minimal disruption to their daily routines.
Teeth whitening treatments can leave your teeth up to 10 shades whiter thanks to bleaching gels that penetrate the tooth’s surface and release any stains or discoloration due to age. The bleaching gel must be applied for a certain period of time in order to do its work.
While over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments are available, the bleaching gels available from your dentist have a stronger formulation and produce more consistent and noticeable results.
The results of teeth whitening treatments are temporary so the patient must complete periodic touch-up treatments in order to keep their smile as white and bright as possible.
A dental implant is a small titanium cylinder that replaces a missing tooth’s root and can be used to support a single crown, dental bridge or denture. After the dentist surgically inserts the dental implant, the surrounding bone slowly forms a bond with the implant. This osseointegration process takes several months to complete. After the implant has been fully osseointegrated, the patient can be fitted with a permanent restoration.
Dental implants are structurally complete tooth replacements, consisting of both a root and a crown. This quality offers several advantages in comparison to conventional tooth replacement methods. Patients who choose dental implants are able to chew more effectively and maintain their oral hygiene using typical techniques. Dental implants also feel more like biological teeth.