Cosmetic dentistry involves combining science with art to provide people with a way to improve their smiles. “At some point, almost everyone experiences some type of problem with their teeth that impacts their appearance”, says Dr. Irina Kellerman-Volk, a cosmetic dentist at 3V Dental Associates in Port Washington, New York. “Severe tooth decay can cause discolorations and visible cavities. Teeth can get fractured during accidents, and even a preference for dark-colored drinks can cause stains over time, Dr. Kellerman-Volk adds.
When you notice that your smile isn’t as bright or as beautiful as it once was, then knowing about these potential options can help you love how you look in the mirror again.
Also known as teeth bleaching, this is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures today. The enamel on your teeth is porous. Over time, eating and drinking certain foods can deposit pigments into these pores that make teeth turn darker. Tea, red wine, and dark-colored sodas are especially known for staining teeth.
Teeth whitening procedures can be done in your dentist’s office or at home. Although you can find teeth whitening products over the counter, your dentist has professional solutions that can help you achieve lighter shades. Most teeth whitening procedures can be done in under an hour, and you’ll leave the office with a noticeably whiter smile.
Veneers are custom-made thin shells that fit over the surface of your teeth. They are usually made from composite or porcelain materials, and your cosmetic dentist will make sure that they match the rest of your smile. If you’ve ever wondered how movie stars get their perfect smiles, then you’ve likely seen veneers in action on the big screen. They work great for covering up visible surface imperfections such as severe stains and chipped teeth. They can also be made slightly larger on the sides to help fill in gaps between your teeth.
Cosmetic Dental Implants
Dental implants have been around for decades, and they have revolutionized the field of cosmetic dentistry. Gone are the days when you had to accept ill-fitting dentures. Instead of resting on the surface of your gums, a dental implant has a post that bonds with your jawbone.
Once an implant is placed, it functions much like a natural tooth. In fact, you shouldn’t notice a difference in how the implant feels, and most people can’t tell it apart from your natural teeth. Dental implants have the added advantage of preventing the loss of bone mass in your jaw. This helps to preserve your facial structure over time, and it can prevent the adjacent teeth from getting loose.
A dental crown is a restoration that fits over the entire surface of your tooth. You might need a dental crown if your tooth is severely broken. Teeth that have large fillings or have undergone multiple treatments may also lack enough tooth structure to maintain their strength. Dentists frequently recommend getting a crown after a root canal to prevent breakage.
During the initial process of getting a crown, your dentist will take measurements and make an impression of your tooth that helps to make sure the restoration looks much like your natural smile. They can also help you pick out the perfect shade to match your other teeth.
You’re already likely familiar with dental bonding as the white fillings that your dentist uses to treat cavities. Composite resin is a material that can also be used to enhance the appearance of your teeth. Your cosmetic dentist can build up areas where your teeth have small chips so that they look more uniform. The tooth-colored material also works well for covering up larger areas on the surface of your teeth that have deep stains that won’t lift with traditional whitening treatments. This is a common treatment for intrinsic stains that might have developed when you were a child or from exposure to certain chemicals. For example, people who undergo chemotherapy or radiation can sometimes develop intrinsic stains that can be covered with dental bonding.
Stains aren’t the only thing that can cause you to dislike your smile. You may also be upset to see that your teeth aren’t perfectly straight. Crooked teeth are fairly common, and they are often first noticed when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. By the teen years, a mouth full of crooked teeth can lower a child’s self-esteem. As an adult, you might have always wished that you had straighter teeth, or you might have noticed your teeth slowly shifting out of place due to other dental issues such as the loss of a tooth.
Invisalign is a less invasive form of orthodontic treatment compared to traditional metal braces. The clear plastic aligners are made to slowly move your teeth into their proper positions. People tend to prefer this teeth straightening method because the clear aligners are nearly undetectable to other people. They can also be removed for eating or taking photographs, which makes them perfect for teens and adults with high aesthetic needs.
Mouth Reconstruction and Restoration
Just about any of the previously discussed cosmetic dental procedures can be used for a whole mouth reconstruction. This treatment typically requires fixing each tooth in some way. Full mouth dental implants are commonly used when it is not possible to save any of your teeth. If the damage to your mouth is extensive, we may also use bone grafting to rebuild your jaw bone. Alternatively, you might be able to use a combination of implants and bridges to restore your whole mouth. Since everyone’s needs are different, you’ll work closely with your cosmetic dentist to find the right solution for restoring the functionality and appearance of your smile.
Although cosmetic dentistry is designed to make your smile look more beautiful, it is important to know that each procedure has benefits that go far beyond the tooth’s surface. Restoring damaged or misaligned teeth make a difference in how well you eat and speak. In many cases, replacing a missing tooth or covering it with a crown prevents future dental problems. As you plan for your upcoming teeth improvements, remember to take in all of the factors for how a cosmetic dentistry procedure will impact your life. Being able to enjoy your favorite foods again or speak in public with confidence is always something worth smiling about.
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