Cosmetic dentistry is continually gaining popularity due to the widespread media coverage and social trends. While traditional dentistry relies on the basic tenet of oral hygiene through prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral complications, cosmetic dentistry is now a professional form of oral care focused on improving the aesthetic qualities of the mouth, smile, as well as teeth. Such improvements are justified because a person’s smile is the initial thing people notice about any face and a person’s appearance has the potential to determine success or failure in the competitive contemporary society. Consequently, enhancing one’s smile can profoundly improve one’s overall appearance, open opportunities, and potentially boost self-esteem and confidence. Further, even though cosmetic dentistry is classified as an elective as opposed to a medically essential procedure, there are cases where such treatment confers therapeutic benefits.
The array of procedures in cosmetic dentistry is diverse ranging from simple to complex procedures that need specialised care. The technological and knowledge advancements in the dentistry field have allowed people to perform different alterations such as colour correction, replacing missing teeth, and others. Dentists also now seek to use more conservative techniques to ensure that they leave as much of the natural tooth as intact as possible. In the past, some procedures had side effects. For example, some fillings left dark blemishes on teeth.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Veneers are particularly thin, custom-made shells designed using either porcelain or resin composite. They are a conservative approach to altering the shape and colour of a tooth and are used to coat the front surface of teeth. The veneers are adhesively bonded to the teeth’s surface. Typically, veneers are recommended for people who have gaps in their teeth or those whose teeth whitening has not been successful.
Usually, chipped, decayed, or discolored teeth can be corrected using a procedure known as composite bonding. The process is among the most affordable procedures that can be used to mitigate tooth decay, worn down edges, or chipped teeth. The primary material used in the procedure to restore the integrity of the teeth has a close semblance to the natural colour of tooth enamel.
In the procedure, the dentist will typically drill out areas where the teeth show decay and apply composite on the surface of the area of interest before sculpting and contouring the material into the ideal shape. Subsequently, the dentist then hardens the material using a high-intensity light. The product is a tooth that blends meticulously with the surrounding teeth. The procedure thus covers the damage of the tooth and gives the tooth a healthy appearance.
Crowns are caps designed to resemble the shape of teeth and are usually placed over damaged or weak teeth to enhance the appearance, strength, size, and shape of the teeth. On average, crowns usually last from five to 15 years and could be crafted from either ceramic, metal, or resin. The procedure initially involves filling the existing tooth and cementing the crown over it to fully encase the tooth.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and Onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are developed using porcelain or composite materials to provide a long-term and aesthetically pleasing way to fill damaged teeth or teeth that have decay. Unlike conventional dental fillings, where the fillings are molded on the teeth, inlays and onlays are developed in a dental lab before fitting and are then bonded into place by the dentist.
Enamel shaping, also referred to as enamel contouring is a fast and painless process used to enhance the appearance of teeth. The procedure is ideal for alleviating small perfections including uneven teeth or overcrowded teeth. Results are usually instantaneous, and the person can also combine the procedure with bonding, veneers, or whitening.
Gums that are too high make a person seem like they have long teeth while gums that are too low make one’s teeth look small. Therefore, some people opt to correct such gums via gum contouring. Gum contouring is a procedure used to reshape gums and thus improve the appearance of one’s smile. Dentists utilise lasers, radiosurgery, and scalpels to perform the procedure. Usually, the aim is to create a new gum line.
The teeth whitening process is among the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures. There are varying causes of teeth stains including poor oral hygiene, some foods, drinks such as coffee and red wine, or smoking. The teeth whitening procedure can improve the appearance of teeth and hence improve one’s smile.
Dental implants are ideal for people have had tooth loss because they serve as artificial replacements for tooth roots. Consequently, the individual acquires an enhanced smile. Also, dental implants prevent a person from looking old as a result of missing teeth.
Full Mouth Reconstruction
In the course of routine treatment, a dentist could determine the need for reconstruction if a person shows inherent problems with muscles, teeth, bite, as well as bone structure. In such cases, the person may need a full mouth reconstruction.
Considerations to Make
It is imperative to be cautious when one needs to have a procedure done. It is vital to select a dentist of good reputation to take you through any procedure. One of the ideal ways to find a reliable dentist is through referrals. Also, if one does not have referrals, it is always recommended to assess how long a dentist has been practising. Frequently, well-established and long-running practices are highly reliable.
What to Expect
The initial meeting is an opportunity for the dentist to delve into details about the procedure of choice and to listen to the client’s views. At this point, the dentist also divulges the possible realistic expectations of treatment. A thorough inspection is also done to determine how the procedure is to be done.
Most importantly, if you are not sure about the ideal procedure for you to improve your smile, then it is advisable to consult a dentist for comprehensive advice.