Cosmetic dentistry is big business, but if you’re like many people, you might be confused as to what procedures are included in this line of dental work.
If you suffer from crooked teeth, chips, cracks, discolorations, cavities, and missing or otherwise damaged teeth, you might be an excellent candidate for cosmetic dentistry. In contrast to general dentistry, a cosmetic dentist is specially trained in aesthetic procedures that can help you achieve a perfect smile. Consider just a few of the top cosmetic treatments currently available.
Zoom Teeth Whitening
The easiest and quickest way to brighten your smile is with Zoom laser teeth whitening. This simple procedure uses blue LED light-accelerated technology together with a hydrogen peroxide-based gel to whiten and brighten your natural teeth.
If you have mildly discolored teeth from food and coffee or you simply want a brighter smile, teeth whitening could be all you need. This procedure is typically inexpensive and takes around 30 minutes in the dentist’s office, followed by ongoing maintenance with take-home aligner trays.
The next dental treatment is a process known as cosmetic bonding. This is another quick and painless procedure that can improve your visual appearance in very little time.
Using the same composite resin that is used to fill dental cavities, dental bonding can be used to fill chips, cracks, or lengthen short teeth in a cost-effective — albeit temporary — way. If you would prefer a more long-lasting solution, it could be worth considering porcelain veneers.
Invented by the dentist Charles Pincus in 1928 for Hollywood actors, porcelain veneers can create a perfect smile by covering the front of your natural teeth. Made from a thin shell of porcelain, dental veneers cover such imperfections as:
Stains and discolorations
Slightly crooked teeth
Wide spaces between teeth
Veneers can be applied to a single tooth, the eight most visible front teeth, or all of your natural teeth. Porcelain veneers are custom-made based on an impression of your teeth and last for at least 10-15 years on average, sometimes longer.
In general, there are three appointments involved. The initial appointment is for your consultation and examination (the first appointment). After the exam, the doctor will prep the tooth and take any necessary impressions (the second appointment). Then the veneers are applied (the third appointment).
Porcelain Crowns and Bridges
Porcelain crowns and bridges have figured among the top cosmetic dentistry procedures since Dr. Charles Land perfected the procedure in 1903. Made from the same material as veneers, crowns fit over existing teeth like a cap, completing their form if broken or chipped and filling in large spaces between teeth.
If several teeth in a row need crowns, a bridge can be used rather than individual crowns to simplify the process and reduce the cost. When applied by an experienced dentist and treated with care, crowns and bridges can last for at least 5-10 years — restoring a confident, natural smile and protecting the natural teeth underneath.
Porcelain Inlays and Onlays
Similar to a filling, a porcelain inlay or onlay restores decayed teeth by filling the space with a tooth-like material. However, in contrast to a filling made from composite resin, a porcelain inlay or onlay can be matched to the natural color of the tooth and is much more resistant to staining.
For either of these top cosmetic dentistry procedures, the dentist will begin by numbing the area and cleaning out the decayed portion of the tooth with a drill. They will then fill the gap with porcelain restoration material, lined with another special protective material if the cavity is particularly deep.
Getting braces isn’t just for kids. In fact, over 30% of orthodontic patients today are adults, and with more recent advancements in dentistry, we expect to see that percentage grow. As one of the top cosmetic dentistry procedures today, Invisalign works to straighten the teeth with a graduated series of clear aligners that are non-invasive and practically invisible. They can straighten teeth in less than a year and — on average — carry a similar price tag to traditional braces, making them among the more affordable options for significant tooth realignment.
Reasons for investing in a procedure like Invisalign include:
Fixing crowded or widely spaced teeth
Correcting an overbite, underbite, or crossbite
Making it easier to keep your teeth clean
Improving your natural appearance
91% of patients who have completed the Invisalign process say that it was worth it, and countless adults who would not have opted for traditional braces have been able to improve their smile. While Invisalign is a cosmetic procedure, remember that a straight smile also benefits your health — it allows you to take better care of your teeth and can resolve headaches that stem from a less-than-ideal bite.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Is It Right for You?
While biannual checkups and cleanings are essential for everyone’s oral health, the top cosmetic dental procedures could be right for you in the following situations:
You need a beautiful smile for work.
Your teeth are affecting your self-esteem.
You have cavities that you’d like to stop in their tracks.
You have one or more teeth missing and worry about jaw-bone loss.
You have crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean.
A less-than-ideal bite is giving you headaches.
You would simply like a Hollywood smile!
If any of these personal or dental issues apply to you, consider cosmetic dentistry. Having these procedures performed by an experienced professional really can transform your smile — and your life — for the best.