As the name suggests, cosmetic dentistry consists of several medical procedures to improve your appearance. It is also suitable for fixing certain orthodontic problems and other dental issues that may be negatively affecting your overall health.
Stained and crooked teeth, gaps between teeth and bleeding gums are a few of the conditions that may make you smile less and lose self-confidence. With the latest advances in cosmetic dentistry, these and many other problems can be solved so you can be proud of your teeth and smile with confidence.
Research has shown that problems with teeth may be connected to other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. Even if you don’t think you need cosmetic dentistry, it may be very beneficial for your health.
The Main Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
Good oral health and a bright, straight youthful smile are the main benefits you can get when you have your teeth treated with cosmetic dentistry. Other benefits include:
- Long-term effects – some treatments may last the rest of your life such as dental implants, others may last for more than 10 years. This means improving your appearance is a good long-term investment.
- Quick recovery time – for most of the procedures the recovery time is short or non-existent. For example, porcelain veneers have no recovery time.
- The latest anesthesia practices may mean you feel no pain – sedation dentistry allows our cosmetic dentist to perform several procedures in one appointment.
- The natural aging process may be reversed – as we age, our teeth naturally get darker from years of drinking coffee, tea or red wine and eating other foods and the gums may recede. You may have taken care of your skin and had procedures that reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but when you smile, your teeth tell another story. Cosmetic dentistry can turn back time for whiter, younger-looking teeth.
What Does Cosmetic Dentistry Include?
Cosmetic dentistry may involve adding to your teeth with porcelain veneer laminates, bonding, crowns or gum grafts or removing parts of a tooth or gums. It includes several methods of tooth whitening and gum depigmentation. Orthodontics is also part of cosmetic dentistry and includes many treatments to improve your bite so your upper and lower teeth meet properly, straightening and overall oral health. When your teeth are overcrowded or crooked, it may be more difficult to keep them clean. This can lead to stained teeth and bleeding gums.
Tooth whitening is the most common procedure of cosmetic dentistry in the U.S. It may consist of tooth bleaching or laser whitening. After our specialist has examined your teeth to determine if you are a good candidate for tooth whitening a procedure will be recommended.
Tooth bleaching involves the use of a safe, whitening chemical that is applied to your teeth. While several tooth whitening agents can be bought over-the-counter, they may not contain enough of the active ingredient to do much good. Without professional guidance, you may use a product that is not suitable for your teeth.
Most dentists recommend that you have your teeth professionally cleaned before the whitening agent is applied. This means the plaque and tartar that forms between your teeth and on your gums is removed. You cannot remove all the plaque by brushing and once tartar forms, it can only be removed by a dentist. Plaque turns into tartar over time.
Laser tooth whitening is considered the most effective and is only done professionally. A strong bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and a laser is used to generate heat to enhance the bleach’s effectiveness. It is a much quicker process than chemical bleaching alone and gives dramatic results. To protect the other tissue in the mouth from this procedure we use a special soft rubber to cover the gums and lips as well as cheek retractors.
Dental implants are considered one of the best treatments in cosmetic dentistry to replace missing teeth or fill gaps between teeth. A dental implant consists of an artificial root that is implanted into the jawbone. The root is usually a screw post or plate made of titanium. After a few weeks, the bone is stimulated to grow around the post holding it tightly in place like it does natural tooth roots. A crown or artificial tooth is attached to the top of the post.
Dental implants are very strong, never decay and last for years. They look and function like natural teeth and require the same brushing and flossing as well as regular checkups.
There are two types of dental implants. The type mentioned above is called endosteal implants as it is surgically implanted into the jawbone. The other is called subperiosteal implants. These have a metal frame that bonds with the bone on the top just under the gum. The crown is attached to the frame.
Dental implants can also be used to anchor dentures. With just four implants two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw, the dentures can be anchored in the mouth so they don’t shift or make a clicking sound when you eat or speak.
One of the most important benefits of dental implants is maintaining the integrity of the jawbone. The bone needs exercise just like any other bone in the body and it usually gets it from chewing. Where there is no tooth root, the bone doesn’t get exercise and gradually deteriorates. This can make you look older than you are because the cheek may sink or sag where the bone has disintegrated.
Bridges provide an artificial tooth that is supported by the teeth on either side of the gap. For some conditions, a bridge may be a good solution. There are fixed and removable bridges. The important thing to remember about oral hygiene with a bridge is to floss under the bridge. There are specially made tools to make this process easier.
Dental veneers are a great remedy for chipped or cracked teeth. They consist of a thin shell of medical-grade ceramic that fits perfectly over the affected tooth. The root isn’t touched, but the tooth looks fresh and new. The shell is bonded to the tooth with a dental adhesive.
Dental veneers may also be used to change the shape of a tooth so it has a better appearance. Veneers can also be used to change the color of a tooth or its angle and spacing.
Another way to reshape a tooth or improve its appearance is composite veneers. It is different than shell veneers that are custom made to fit over your tooth. Composite veneers are done in one visit. The tooth-colored resin is sculpted to resemble one or more teeth. It is a good treatment for one or two chipped or cracked teeth when you don’t need major treatment. This procedure does not usually require any anesthesia unless the tooth has decay and a cavity to fill.
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that deals with straightening teeth and correcting malocclusion or a bad bite. The way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth is called your bite. If it is not correct, it can cause your teeth to wear down quickly and unevenly or headaches, earaches and jaw joint pain. Moving the teeth into the correct position with braces is the best way to fix these issues.
Most people get their teeth fixed when they are teenagers, but many don’t get the help they need at an early age and would like to have an attractive smile when they are adults. This is the reason many adults opt for braces. If they would like to correct problems but don’t want a mouth full of metal for at least two years, they look to more discrete methods such as ceramic braces, lingual braces and invisible plastic aligners.
Ceramic braces work just like metal braces but the brackets and wires are clear or tooth-colored. They are difficult to see from a distance and don’t show up in photographs.
Lingual braces are also like traditional metal braces but they are put on the back of the teeth where the tongue is, hence the name. They cannot be seen at all from the front.
Clear plastic aligners may be the most discreet of all as they are virtually invisible. No one will know you are wearing them unless they look very closely or you tell them. This type of orthodontic treatment is easier than braces in one way because you take the aligner out when you eat or clean your teeth. That is why you have no dietary restrictions. With traditional braces you need to be careful not to eat hard, sticky or chewy items as these can break brackets or wires.
People who wear braces must take extra care to clean their teeth. It requires devoting time to the process. If food is left stuck in the braces it could cause decay or white spots on the enamel. This isn’t a problem for clear plastic aligners, but they do need to be cleaned every time you put them in and must be removed when you eat or drink anything but water.
For good oral hygiene, brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is just the beginning. Regular professional cleaning at least once a year is also necessary for healthy gums. Cosmetic dentistry can provide many treatments to make your teeth straight, white and attractive. This may enhance your self-esteem and give you the confidence to smile more. For anyone, it is an advantage to have attractive teeth but it is especially important for people who work with the public and meet a lot of people.
Feel free to visit Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry to learn more about your options for cosmetic dentistry. We are conveniently located in Winter Haven and Champions Gate. We also serve residents throughout Celebration. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!