When the phrase “cosmetic dentistry” is used, most people think of teeth whitening or invisible braces that give the mouth and the teeth a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. While it is true that these procedures can give a person a more pleasing appearance to the mouth such as a brighter smile, cosmetic dentistry also has functional benefits that help patients enjoy teeth and gums that work properly when it comes to chewing food. Let’s take a look at how aesthetic cosmetic dentistry and functional cosmetic dentistry treatments improve the overall appearance and function of the teeth and gums of a patient.
Aesthetic and Functional Cosmetic Dentistry Benefits for Patients
- Dental Bonding – The cosmetic dentistry technique known as tooth bonding is performed to fix any damage or defects in the tooth of a patient by placing a tooth-colored composite resin on one or more of the teeth. Tooth bonding can fix the damage caused by chipped teeth by restoring them to their original shape. In addition, tooth bonding is a good option for patients that want to fill-in gaps between their teeth or increase the length of the front teeth.
- Dentures – These are removable appliances that can replace teeth that are missing while also restoring the smile of a patient. Depending on the amount of teeth that need to be replaced, dentures are available as partial dentures or complete dentures and they can be removed, in necessary, by the patient.
- Bridges – The cosmetic dentistry solution known as bridges is used to fill-in a gap/to join two teeth that have a space located between them. The dental bridge is essentially a false tooth, which is known as a pontic; that is held in place by the abutment teeth that are located on either side of the gap in the teeth. In general, dental bridges are made from porcelain as the porcelain color blends in with the natural teeth that are still in the mouth.
- Composite Fillings – These fillings are created to resemble the natural color of the teeth of a patient. Composite fillings are an ideal option to restore teeth that are classified as being cracked or decayed. This cosmetic dentistry technique uses resin material to replace the damaged part of the tooth because this material is able to withstand the moderate pressure that results from chewing food on a regular basis.
- Dental Implants – This cosmetic dentistry technique involves the placement of titanium implants into the mouth and they work as roots inside the jawbone. The cosmetic dentist will need to wait for the area where the dental implants were placed to heal and for the implants to become one with the jawbone. Once the healing process is completed, an artificial tooth is placed on the implants to replace a damaged or missing tooth.
- Invisible Braces/Clear Aligners – Invisible braces are a popular alternative to traditional metal braces as they are mostly clear and not easily seen by others. Invisible braces are not permanently placed on the teeth like traditional braces. They are a series of trays that patients wear for around two weeks at a time. They are made of a clear plastic or acrylic material that fit tightly over the teeth. The only time they should be removed is for eating or when the patient brushes the teeth. Once the teeth have moved the desired amount while wearing one of the clear aligner trays, the person switches to a new tray that will continue moving the teeth into the desired final position.
- Dental Crowns – This is a cosmetic dentistry option that is used to cover the tooth of a patient. The dental crown makes the tooth stronger after tooth decay or damage to the tooth due to an accident. In addition, it also makes an improvement in the appearance of a tooth after the dental crown is attached with dental cement.
- Dental Veneers – Thin slices of porcelain ceramic are placed in the front surface of the tooth by the dentist in order to help restore a tooth that is broken or chipped. The cosmetic dentist will smooth any sharp edges that are located on the damaged tooth while still leaving the enamel on the tooth. The dental veneers are then applied to the surface of the teeth and bonded to each individual tooth using dental cement. In addition, veneers can help improve the aesthetics of any teeth that are suffering from discoloration or that are not aligned properly and present a less than ideal appearance to the teeth.
- Teeth Whitening – In addition to brightening the teeth, the process of teeth whitening can help to remove plaque that has built on the teeth and is hard to remove with regular techniques of brushing the teeth. Besides removing plaque or debris from the teeth, teeth whitening can also remove stains and blemishes from the teeth and even appear lighter than their natural shade. Teeth whitening starts with the application of a tooth whitening gel that contains hydrogen peroxide. A special heating lamp is then aimed at the teeth in intervals of 20-minutes. The heating lamp can be used multiple times during one appointment and the dentist might need to reapply the gel between treatments. A protective barrier is used to protect the lips, tongue and gums from the whitening gel so the gel will stay on the teeth.
Consult with a Board-Certified Cosmetic Dentist
Patients that are interested in undergoing any of the above treatments are advised to schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified cosmetic dentist that is experienced in performing the above cosmetic dentistry procedures. The dentist will examine the teeth and gums of the patient to determine the amount of current damage to the teeth as well as choose the ideal treatment option that will provide long-lasting functional cosmetic dentistry and aesthetic cosmetic dentistry results.