Cosmetic Dentistry has seen dramatic improvements and demand in the past several years. We all want that healthy, white, beautiful smile – some even view it as their best appearance accessory! With the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, we are able to improve our teeth and smiles in a relatively quick time with painless and surprisingly affordable treatments.
Cosmetic dental treatments can:
- Change the size, shape and alignment of certain teeth
- Fill in spaces or gaps between teeth
- Improve or even correct bites
- Lighten and whiten the color of teeth
- Repair decayed, broken, cracked or chipped teeth
- Replace missing teeth
- Replace old dental treatments that have become unattractive
A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are the tooth colored they can be closely matched to your existing color of your tooth and are more aesthetically suited for front teeth and those that are more visible in your smile.
As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. However, they are durable and will last many years, giving you a long lasting beautiful smile.
Reasons for composite fillings:
- Chipped teeth.
- Closing space between two teeth.
- Cracked or broken teeth.
- Decayed teeth.
- Worn teeth.
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually place in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove any decay that is present and necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepped before the new filling is placed. If the decay is near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new filling.
A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.
Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crowns) are the most popular due to the fact they resemble you natural teeth. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color of your teeth giving you a natural long-lasting beautiful smile.
Reasons for a crown:
- Broken or fractured teeth.
- Cosmetic enhancement.
- Decayed teeth.
- Fractured fillings.
- Large fillings.
- Tooth has a root canal.
What does getting a crown involve?
A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (or molds) that will be used to create your custom crown. An impression will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.
While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once this is done, your temporary crown will be placed with a temporary cement. Finally the dentist will check your bite to ensure proper biting capability.
At your second appointment the temporary crown is removed and the tooth is cleaned. Your new permanent crown is then placed checking to make sure spacing and your bite are accurate.
You will be given instructions on how to properly care for your crown and are encouraged to maintain regular dental visits.
A Veneer is a thin piece of durable tooth shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental lab. They are bonded onto the front of teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.
Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile. They can often be an alternate to crowns and the ideal solution in treating many dental conditions.
As with most dental restorations, veneers are not permanent and may someday need replacement. They are very durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.
Reasons for porcelain veneers:
- Cosmetically to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.
- Crooked teeth.
- Misshapen teeth.
- Severely discolored or stained teeth.
- Teeth that are too small or too large.
- Unwanted or uneven spaces.
- Worn or chipped teeth.
What does getting porcelain veneers involve?
Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process, with little or no anesthesia required during the procedure. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. An impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and the dentist.
On the second visit the teeth will be cleansed with a special liquid to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer and a special curing light is used to harden and set the bond.
You will receive care instructions for veneers. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.
Porcelain Fixed Bridges:
A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.
The most popular type of bridge is the "traditional bridge" and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists of crowns that go over two or more anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) with the pontic (artificial teeth) in between, filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.
Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however, they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.
Reasons for a fixed bridge:
- Fill space of missing teeth.
- Maintain facial shape.
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
- Restore chewing and speaking ability.
- Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?
Getting a bridge usually requires two visits – one to prep the teeth and one to place the bridge. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of the enamel to allow for a crown. Next, an impression is made which will be sent to the dental lab where the permanent bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks in between the two appointments.
At the second appointment, your permanent bridge will be checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally the dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge to allow your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. In those instances the new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.
You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.
Tooth whitening, also referred to as bleaching, is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of your natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home tooth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.
Another word of caution – those people with sensitive teeth should avoid bleaching procedures. Tooth whitening could increase the sensitivity of your teeth. Some people even experience extreme pain when bleaching. If you have sensitive teeth but would still like to bleach your teeth, we recommend that you first correct the sensitivity problem.
Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed every several months especially if you smoke, or drink coffee, tea, or wine.
Reasons for tooth whitening:
- Fluorosis – excessive fluoridation during tooth development.
- Normal wear of outer tooth layer.
- Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.).
- Yellow or brown stained teeth.
What does tooth whitening involve?
The home kit our office provides usually requires two visits. At the first appointment impressions will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom clear plastic trays.
At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution (bleaching gel) either once a day or overnight for two weeks or longer depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have completed the bleaching process.
You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays. We also encourage you to visit and maintain your regular dental visits to ensure your beautiful healthy white smile.