Cosmetic Dentistry Options

cosmetic dentistry

For those unfamiliar with the term, “cosmetic dentistry” refers to dental procedures that improve the appearance and function of a person’s teeth.  While you may not have heard of that specific title, you probably are already familiar with some form of cosmetic dentistry, such as teeth whitening.  Cosmetic dentistry is growing at an unprecedented rate, which is unsurprising considering that so many people care about their teeth (or at least do not want to be seen with gnarled, decaying teeth). The following are some examples of popular cosmetic dental procedures performed by dentists:

Cosmetic Fillings – While many patients are content with traditional silver fillings, some patients would prefer a filling that blends in better with the teeth.  This is now a reality thanks to cosmetic fillings.  Cosmetic fillings imitate the look and color of enamel, making them appear less conspicuous than amalgam (silver) fillings.

There are three common types of cosmetic fillings:  “composite,” ionomers,” and “porcelain.”  These fillings are made from a variety of materials to mimic the look of real enamel.  The porcelain fillings are typically used for crowns, veneers, onlays, and inlays.  The ionomer fillings are usually only placed near the gum line or tooth root where biting pressure will not be a problem.  Composite fillings are used everywhere else.

It should be noted that these cosmetic fillings are truly cosmetic.  If you want the strongest possible fillings, the standard silver amalgam cannot be beaten.  Cosmetic fillings are intended to be placed in highly visible spots where you do not want silver fillings to be visible.

Veneers – In dental veneers are becoming particularly popular.  Veneers have become a standard method of hiding stains, gaps, or discoloration of the teeth.  Veneers are special thin laminates that fix cracked, chipped, stained, misshapen, or discolored teeth.  Cosmetic dentists also use veneers to cover large gaps between teeth.  All veneers are permanent since a layer of enamel must be removed.  However, some veneers will require replacement while others will not.

Cosmetic Contouring – Dental reshaping and contouring is a procedure for correcting crooked, chipped, cracked, or overlapping teeth.  The procedure is usually done to change the length, shape, or position of teeth, often with good results.  For example, a crooked tooth could be corrected by removing a little bit of enamel to fix the alignment.

  • Cosmetic contouring is a simple procedure that can fix the problem in just one session.
  • In some cases, dental contouring can be used as a substitute for braces.

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