It's no secret that when you look good, you feel good -- and sometimes a minor change is all it takes to help you feel your best. That's why so many people are turning to cosmetic dentistry for a smile lift. Studies have shown that an attractive smile contributes to overall attractiveness -- and a simple cosmetic dental procedure can take years off your teeth and may even save you thousands of dollars on unnecessary plastic surgery procedures. Overall, the positive impact cosmetic dentistry can have on your life is priceless!
The growing interest in aesthetics is blurring the line between restorative and cosmetic dental treatment. Cosmetic dentistry has become so popular that restorative treatments are now adopting cosmetic elements into their procedures. For instance, a tooth filling or crown can be designed to match the natural shape and color of your tooth, hiding the fact that you've had any "work done." Cosmetic dentistry can also be used as a preventive measure -- chipped, crooked and missing teeth are not only embarassing, but they could cause more serious dental problems in the future. Using cosmetic dentistry to correct these problems will not only improve your smile but could also help improve your dental health!
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
From minor improvements to a full smile makeover, cosmetic dentistry centers offer a wide range of dental treatments to fit your individual needs and budget. Many cosmetic dentists offer the following cosmetic dental procedures:
Teeth Whitening -- Teeth whitening is the most common type of cosmetic dentistry and can remove tooth stains or lighten overall tooth discoloration. Professional teeth whitening consists of custom-fit take-home trays worn daily for several weeks to whiten teeth four to six shades. Several over-the-counter teeth whitening products are also available, including whitening strips, whitening pens and whitening toothpastes, all of which have varied results.
Laser Teeth Whitening -- For those who can't wait for results, laser teeth whitening offers the convenience of whitening your teeth in just one day! Laser teeth whitening is performed right in your dental office -- a dental laser or lamp activates the whitening gel, resulting in teeth up to 10 shades whiter in about an hour.
Composite Fillings -- While amalgam fillings have been safely and effectively restoring cavities for over 150 years, they're not pretty. Composite resin is a tooth-colored filling material that can be structured to resemble the shape of your tooth.
Dental Veneers -- Veneers are an excellent option for anyone looking to achieve a total smile makeover. Dental veneers are thin, porcelain shells that completely cover your front teeth. Dental veneers are used to fix a plethora of dental problems, including chipped, cracked, and crooked teeth.
Dental Bonding -- A less expensive alternative to dental veneers, dental bonding is used to fix minor tooth imperfections. Composite resin material is placed over the tooth, shaped and hardened to cover chips, cracks and gaps in teeth.
Enamel Shaping -- Similar to dental bonding, enamel shaping is a simple procedure used to correct rough, misshapen or uneven teeth. A portion of the tooth is removed or restructured to change its appearance and is often used to shorten teeth that appear too long.
Gum Contouring -- Gum contouring is a gum disease treatment used to fix a "gummy smile" or gums that appear overgrown. Gum contouring removes excess tissue from the gums to lengthen teeth. Consider laser gum surgery for increased comfort and faster healing.
Dental Crowns and Bridges -- A dental crown is used to restore and protect a damaged tooth, while a dental bridge replaces missing teeth. Dental crowns and bridges can now be made with porcelain to resemble your natural tooth color.
Dental Implants -- Dental implants are used to restore missing teeth. But unlike dentures, they are a permanent solution for tooth loss. While restoration is the primary focus of dental implants, they look and feel like real teeth.
Invisalign® -- Invisalign consists of a series of clear dental aligners that straighten your teeth without wires or brackets. Several other types of dental braces are also available to meet your aesthetic needs, including porcelain braces and lingual braces.
Cosmetic Dentistry Made Easy
Don't let fear get in the way of improving your smile. If necessary, your cosmetic dentist will use local anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain during your procedure. If you suffer from dental anxiety, ask your dentist about your sedation dentistry options. Many cosmetic dentists are trained to administer conscious sedation -- nitrous oxide and oral sedation are commonly used to relieve dental fear and are considered safe when used correctly.
Many state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry centers also use the latest dental technology to make your appointments easier. You can plan your treatment with computer imaging, which provides a preview of your results. If time is of the essence, same-day dental restorations offer the convenience of having dental veneers and crowns made in just one dental visit. Laser dentistry is also being incorporated into many cosmetic dentistry treatments for increased comfort, shorter dental appointments and better results.
Your Cosmetic Dentist
It's important to note that cosmetic dentistry is not a dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. Cosmetic dentists are general dentists with training in cosmetic dental procedures. While cosmetic dentistry is a science, it's also an art form -- and a good cosmetic dentist has both excellent clinical skills and a good eye. A good cosmetic dentist is also one you're comfortable with -- many cosmetic dentists can provide you with examples of their work to help you make your decision.
Cosmetic dentistry isn't a quick fix for bad oral habits. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are still needed to keep your smile looking beautiful. Once you're ready, a cosmetic dentist can help you decide on the right treatment for you.