Cosmetic dentistry has come to mean different things to different people. A big reason for this is because there are so many procedures performed in and out of the dentist’s office that have been put into this category.
Of course, all cosmetic dentistry procedures must be carefully planned with expected outcomes clearly discussed, but it can be a procedure as relatively simple as reshaping a few teeth.
In the past few years, one of the most requested “cosmetic dentistry” procedures is tooth whitening. It’s literally taken America by storm. Tooth whitening can be approached in a number of different ways. It simply depends on your budget and what type of results you desire.
The most cost-effective method is purchasing over-the-counter products, which will normally produce “acceptable” results to systems using trays made from impressions of your teeth. The trays are created in a dentist’s office and are used with one some whitening (bleaching) agents. For those who want a one-shot approach, there are also a few different in-office systems that usually employ a very bright light to enhance the speed and efficacy after whitening.
Something to keep in mind is that if you are someone with dark-colored or excessively gray teeth whitening may not be as effective as you would have hoped. Of course, if your teeth are like this your dentist should discuss this beforehand. In addition, if you’ve had a high number of fillings, crowns, or other dental procedures of this type on your teeth then bleaching may not be the right option for you either. Tooth-colored bonded resin fillings and bonded porcelain fillings and crowns on the back teeth would certainly fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry.
Colored resin that matches the color of your teeth is a material that can often be bonded to areas of the front teeth. This resin can be shaped and sculpted to repair fractures of the front teeth, close spaces, and reshape teeth. There are a number of advantages to this procedure. First, it can usually be done in one visit. Two, it’s conservative. Three, it can look very nice, and four, it’s less expensive than some other options. A few disadvantages would include the life expectancy of this process is somewhat limited (usually five to seven years). Plus, staining and discoloration occur over time, strength is much less than with porcelain, and resin bonding has aesthetic limitations depending upon the size of the case.
The gold standard in restoring a beautiful smile is bonding porcelain veneers or laminates directly to teeth. Under the direction of a skilled dentist and staff (including ceramist), porcelain veneers can create incredibly beautiful and natural smiles. The advantages are unsurpassed beauty, longevity, and strength. On the other hand, two disadvantages cost (can be very expensive) and that some minimal tooth structure needs to be removed.
There are many other cosmetic dentistry options available that should be discussed with your cosmetic dentist. Of course, one of the most important elements for you is to find a dentist that has the skill, experience, and aesthetic eye to give you a beautiful smile.
A great smile is an under-appreciated asset. First impressions are important in all aspects of life (personal and business) and one of the first things people see and judge when they meet someone is their eyes and smile.
Studies by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) have shown that people with attractive smiles get better jobs, are held in higher regard, normally make a better impression, and in many instances make more money. But another less obvious benefit is the increase in esteem and confidence that comes with a smile you can be proud of.
It is such a freeing experience for someone who hides their smile to start smiling big and confidently.