What is a cosmetic dentist?
A cosmetic dentist is one who improves the appearance of a smile. There are a number of ways to do this, ranging from simple bleaching to minor surgery. Many cosmetic dentistry techniques can certainly be performed at a local dentist office. The amount of time, discomfort, and expense involved depends upon the procedure.
Cosmetic surgery can be broken down into two types. The first type improves upon the natural appearance of the smile by changing the color or shape of the teeth. The second type improves the overall appearance of the smile by improving tooth and bite health. This may or may not affect the color or shape of the teeth.
Examples of the first type of cosmetic dentistry include:
Teeth whitening is the simplest and least expensive of all the cosmetic procedures. It offers no oral health benefits. Whitening can be done at home, but a professional visit offers more rapid and uniform results. The whitening application has to be repeated in order to maintain a whiter smile. The frequency of this procedure depends on the patient’s tooth care habits and lifestyle.
Dental bonding involves the application of a resin to teeth to fill gaps, cracks, and pits and give the smile a more uniform appearance. Bonding has the added benefit of preventing wear of teeth and exposing their roots. Bonding resin generally has to be reapplied every several years.
Dental veneers are custom made plastic or porcelain shells that can change a tooth’s shape or color. This type of cosmetic dentistry generally requires a couple of visits. Depending on the material used and the habits of the patient, veneers can last anywhere from one to several decades.
Dental crowns are used for everything from altering the color or shape of a tooth to protecting a broken one to connecting dental work. Materials used in making crowns range from porcelain to metal. Crown work generally takes several visits and is among the most expensive of cosmetic dental procedures.
Cosmetic surgery that improves bite health includes:
Using wiring and brackets, braces are used to reposition and realign teeth. They may remain on teeth anywhere from several months to several years. Bridges are artificial teeth. They are affixed to prepared teeth and are worn with a crown or crowns. Only a dentist can remove a bridge. Implants are also artificial teeth, but they can be affixed to dentures and removed. Both of these procedures are not inexpensive and require more than one visit to the dentist. But if bridges and implants are cared for properly, they can last a long time.
Other cosmetic dentistry procedures include correcting uneven gum lines and abnormally sized teeth, and fixing indentations to the jawbone. Because of all the options afforded with cosmetic surgery, individuals are advised to contact their local dentist office for information and help in perfecting and protecting their smile.