3 Popular Cosmetic Dental Treatments
A great smile can change your life. The state of a person’s teeth can greatly impact their confidence, self-perception, and personal happiness. Of course, no one should be ashamed of their teeth. But for those who often feel inhibited by having a less-than-ideal smile, cosmetic dentistry is a perfect solution.
As the name implies, cosmetic dentistry focuses primarily on improving the aesthetic qualities of teeth, gums, and bite. This includes improvements to the shape, color, size, and alignment of teeth, as well the contouring or reshaping of gums.
This article covers three of the most common cosmetic dental treatments, and what to expect from each.
1. Teeth Whitening
There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening products available, but for a professional teeth whitening that is sure to lighten the appearance of your teeth, you’ll need to start by scheduling a consultation with your doctor.
During the consultation, your doctor will likely examine your teeth before telling you whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for the procedure. The following are a few common factors that might lead your dentist to advise against teeth whitening:
- Crowns or Fillings: While the chemical used for teeth-whitening works on natural teeth, it does not have the same effect on the synthetic material used in crowns or fillings. This means that your teeth will become whiter– but your fillings and crowns won’t, resulting in an awkward, mismatched appearance.
- Coloration: Whitening works best on teeth that are yellow in hue. Teeth that are gray or brown don’t make great candidates for teeth whitening.
The Teeth whitening procedure begins with the doctor inserting a plastic lip retractor into your mouth to move the lips out of the way. They will then coat the gums with a gel before hardening it under a high-powered light. This gel protects the gums from the whitening chemical.
Once the gel hardens, the doctor applies the whitening gel to the teeth. This gel contains hydrogen peroxide to help penetrate the outer layer of the teeth and oxidize those staining compounds that over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions can’t reach.
Depending on the type of gel used, the doctor may apply a high-powered light. The entire procedure should take around 40 minutes.
Once complete, your teeth could be between four to six shades whiter!
Veneers are tooth-colored shells made out of synthetic material affixed to the front of teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers are commonly made of porcelain or composite material. Often people with cracked, chipped, or small teeth choose to get veneers to restore their smile to a like-new condition.
As with most dental procedures, a consultation with your doctor is required before getting dental veneers.
During the initial consultation, your doctor will take an impression of your teeth. This impression is then sent off to a lab, where technicians will use it to create a mold. The mold is used to create the veneers out of your chosen material. Once the veneers are shipped back to the dentist’s office, your doctor will contact you to set up your procedure.
The doctor begins the procedure by evaluating your teeth to ensure that the veneers are the correct color, size, and shape.
Then, the doctor thoroughly cleans your teeth. This ensures that no bacteria or food particles will become trapped between the veneers and the surface of the teeth.
Once the teeth are clean, the doctor uses a dental tool to create a rough texture on the surface of the teeth receiving the veneers. This helps the veneers adhere to the teeth.
Next, dental cement is applied to the teeth and the veneers are pressed into place. Ultraviolet light is used to harden the bond so that the veneers stay in place. The entire procedure should take no more than two hours.
3. Dental Implants
A dental implant is a false root made of metal alloy that is implanted in the jaw bone to support a synthetic tooth crown. People missing one or two teeth opt for dental implants due to their strength and natural appearance.
Before the procedure, you will need to schedule a consultation with your doctor to determine if dental implants are right for you. The doctor will take an impression of your teeth which will be used to create a mold for the false tooth crown. Once the mold is complete, the doctor will call you to schedule your procedure.
The procedure begins with your doctor injecting a local anesthetic into the area of your mouth that will receive the implant. Once the area is numb, the doctor makes a small incision in the gum to access the jawbone.
Using a surgical drill, the doctor drills a small hole into the bone before inserting the metal post which acts as a false root. Once finished, the first stage of the procedure is complete. You will then be given time to recover while the gum tissue heals, and the jawbone fuses to the metal post. This may take anywhere from two weeks to several months.
Once you’ve recovered, the doctor schedules one last appointment for mounting the false tooth crown.