Cosmetic dentistry procedures
Cosmetic dentistry consists of professional dental procedures that focus on aesthetics, with the aim of bettering the appearance of your teeth and your smile. While their primary focus is cosmetic, and the majority of cosmetic dental procedures are therefore considered elective, many types of cosmetic dental treatment also provide mechanical or medical benefits, protecting the teeth and restoring the patient’s oral health. Many cosmetic dental procedures are very simple, though some are more complex and require longer-term specialized treatment.
Teeth whitening, or teeth bleaching, is among the most basic cosmetic dentistry procedures that can be performed in a dentist’s office. After the teeth are thoroughly professionally cleaned and free of plaque and tartar, your dentist can use simple chemical processes to whiten your teeth in-office. In cases of severe staining or significant discoloration, your dentist can also bleach your teeth, brightening them to a shade that’s even lighter than their original hue. Teeth can become stained for a variety of reasons, including lifestyle choices, such as smoking, or certain foods, drinks, or medications. Whitening procedures involve coating the teeth with a whitening agent, using one of a variety of methods usually over the period of a few weeks. Some professional whitening procedures can even be done at home.
Inlays and onlays are used in cases of moderate dental decay when there is not enough remaining tooth to support a traditional filling. If there is enough remaining tooth surface to serve as a scaffold for the filling, your dentist may use a dental inlay, which is placed onto the surface of the tooth. If the tooth has deteriorated too significantly to apply an inlay, the dentist may use a dental onlay, which covers the entire damaged tooth. Technicians in dental laboratories make inlays and onlays, which are also called indirect fillings, from a composite resin material; dentists affix them to a patient’s teeth using dental adhesive. They support the structure of the teeth, restoring their shape and appearance and helping to prevent any further decay or degradation. Composite bonding is also used to repair decayed or damaged teeth, and can also be a treatment for discolored teeth. Dentists use a composite material that is the same color as your tooth enamel to sculpt a new tooth surface. In cases of decay, your dentist will first drill out the decayed area before sculpting the composite material, which is then cured with an ultraviolet or high-intensity light. Composite bonding covers the damaged area of the tooth while giving the appearance of a healthy tooth and is one of the most affordable and common cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Dental veneers are another common cosmetic dental procedure, though they are more costly than some of the other options. Dental veneers are made in a dental laboratory out of medical-grade ceramic or porcelain and are custom-made to look just like a patient’s natural teeth. Dental veneers can be used to fix many cosmetic problems, including damaged enamel and gaps between the teeth. The process of being fitted for dental veneers and having them installed is more time-consuming, and somewhat more invasive, than some other aesthetic solutions, yielding positive and pleasing results. Dental implants are also somewhat more invasive, as they require a dentist to insert a titanium screw into the jaw bone, but implants allow dentists to replace missing or completely decayed teeth with dental crowns. These dental crowns are supported by the installed screw and are nearly indistinguishable in appearance from surrounding teeth. Once the bone and gum tissue have healed around the implanted screw, dental implants are permanently secured and mimic the natural tooth in appearance and function. If you’re displeased with the appearance of your teeth or of your smile, talk to a reputable cosmetic dentist to see if any of these procedures are appropriate for you. You deserve to smile with confidence, and cosmetic dentistry can be a helpful investment in your self-esteem.
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