Achieving a perfect smile can be elusive for many of us. Some of us are born with it and others need help to achieve that Hollywood smile. Luckily for those who need help, cosmetic dentistry has evolved over time to allow dentists to give patients what they are looking for. A healthy, beautiful smile can give a boost to self esteem and self confidence socially and in business. In the past, dentists were limited to making minor changes or going to the extreme
using orthodontics. There really was no in between area for patients and the dentist. Today, modern cosmetic dentistry techniques and dental materials give the dentist the ability to alter smiles to their fullest potential.
Do you believe having a great looking smile can improve your appearance and enhance your social life?
Recent polls by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) showed that most believe enhancing one's smile will lead to improvements in their social lives. The survey showed almost 96% agreed that it can change their lives for the better. In that same study, almost 65% of those surveyed said they were unhappy with one or more aspects of their smiles. Cosmetic dentistry has the ability to change that.
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Cosmetic Dentistry procedures range from a one office visit for teeth whitening to a multiple visit complete Hollywood style smile makeover. The following are some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures available today:
-Reshaping Teeth. This is possibly the simplest and easiest cosmetic dentistry procedure of all. It is generally able to be completed without local anesthesia and can be as simple as filing down a tooth that appears longer or is slightly out of alignment with the teeth around it. Most patients are quite surprised at how such a small adjustment can enhance their smile.
-Gum re-contouring. Evening out the gum line can help teeth to look more evenly sized and can make short teeth appear longer and more cosmetic.
-Teeth Whitening. In the U.S., teeth whitening is the most common and popular cosmetic dentistry procedure performed by dentists and patients at home. Studies have proven time and again that people find a brighter, whiter smile to be more attractive to others. People tend to feel better about themselves when they are happy with their overall appearance (and that includes their teeth). Teeth whitening can be done at home or in the dentist office. Either procedure is generally quite successful, and can give patients a dramatic change to their smile with minimal cost and time invested.
-Dental Bonding. While dental bonding is also used to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay it can also be used as a composite veneer to change color or shape, fix chipped teeth, or close small gaps in your smile. Dental bonding is the dental procedure in which tooth colored dental materials are adhesively bonded to a tooth. This dental procedure is also a quicker fix and can usually be completed in a single visit easily enhancing your smile in as little as an hour or so.
-Replacing older, worn down restorations. Many of us have a few silver fillings. Replacing silver fillings with new tooth colored fillings or porcelain restorations (like porcelain onlays or porcelain inlays) can make your whole smile brighter and more aesthetic.
-Porcelain Veneers and Porcelain Crowns. As we age, our smiles are constantly changing. Teeth can get worn down, can shift, or maybe you were just born with an imperfect smile. Porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can be a great way to replace lost tooth structure and alter imperfect teeth. These cosmetic dentistry procedures tend to require multiple visits but the results will give you a dramatic enhancement resulting in a beautiful smile. Porcelain Veneers are custom fabricated, wafer thin, tooth colored shells that are adhesively bonded to the teeth. This allows the cosmetic dentist to not only alter color of your teeth, but shape and length as well. Porcelain veneers are often referred to as "instant orthodontics". This is because porcelain veneers can change the alignment of teeth if the alignment issues are not too extreme. Porcelain crowns can be used on teeth that either already have crowns or need more extensive work (having large restorations or tooth decay). Both porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns can be used in cosmetic dentistry to give the patient a flawless, more youthful and sexy smile.
-Dental Implants. Many people do not consider these to be cosmetic but they are. As the newest entry into cosmetic dentistry, they allow replacement of lost teeth as well as adding stability and security to denture wearers. Dental implants give cosmetic dentists another option in tooth replacement. Whether it is a single tooth or a full mouth restoration, dental implants can fix the tooth loss problem. Missing teeth has long been considered a sign of old age and poor health. Having a full set of bright, white teeth screams youth especially when they are bright, white, sparkling, and healthy. When a person is missing a tooth or several teeth, they have several options. There are partial and complete dentures (including the use of the all on 4 dental implants procedure), traditional bridges, and dental implants. A dental implant can look and feel just like a natural tooth. It is also easier to keep clean than a traditional bridge. Dental implants are placed directly into bone creating a solid foundation for a natural tooth restoration to be built upon.
-Bite Reclamation. Over time as we use our teeth and they get worn down, we tend to lose some height on our teeth (as the cusps wear down). This loss of height of height is also referred to as loss of vertical dimension. Some other factors that cause this loss include acid reflux or teeth grinding (bruxism). Reclaiming a person’s bite utilizing dental implants and porcelain crowns will increase vertical height. This will also allow the skin around the mouth to tighten as it stretches. This will have the added benefit of removing some of those unwanted wrinkles around the mouth. These wrinkles develop as our we age and our mouth’s sag from this loss of dimension. Cosmetic dentistry can make some improvement in this area. Sometimes this is done in conjunction with dermal fillers to give what is called a "dental face lift".
Cosmetic Dentistry Conclusion
Cosmetic Dentistry gives the dentist the ability to give patients the smiles they have always dreamed of. Not everyone wants a complete Hollywood style smile makeover and just want minor issues fixed that have always bothered them. Modern cosmetic dentistry allows for minor fixes, extreme ones, and fixes somewhere in between. Whichever cosmetic dentistry procedure you select, please be sure that you keep your teeth healthy by visiting your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings. This will ensure you have a happy, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.