If you are looking to improve your smile, you may be thinking of trying cosmetic dentistry. This type of dental work focuses on covering or treating certain issues to change the appearance of one's teeth, gums, or both. Most people have at least one complaint about their smile, ranging from missing, misshapen, and misaligned teeth…
What Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Should You Choose?
Do you find yourself keeping your mouth closed in pictures? Do you turn your head away or hold your hand up to block your teeth when you speak? Sometimes even the smallest issues in the mouth, such as discoloration, a crooked tooth, or a misaligned bite, can cause discomfort or self-consciousness. If you are not happy with how your smile looks, you may be wondering if you should try cosmetic dentistry. A dentist can perform a wide variety of cosmetic procedures that fix certain issues or imperfections that are interfering with your confidence level. You may be wondering which treatment you should get. A dentist will recommend one or more procedures based on what you want improved as well as your budget.
Types of common cosmetic dentistry procedures
Common complaints that people have about their teeth are that they are stained, crooked, chipped, or missing. The procedures available to improve the appearance of the teeth and gums vary from simple and inexpensive to more complex and costly. To improve someone's smile, a cosmetic dentist may recommend just one procedure, or he or she may recommend a combination of several to get the optimal desired results.
Teeth whitening is by far the most popular procedure in cosmetic dentistry. There are many over-the-counter products available for tooth whitening, but they frequently use harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your teeth, generally require multiple applications, and are usually only good for light staining. Whitening in the cosmetic dentist's office can be completed in approximately an hour. Professional treatments provide customized whitening with long-lasting results for even the most severely stained teeth. In addition, professional whitening treatments are safer than over-the-counter treatments, as an expert performs the procedure and monitors the entire process while protecting your tooth enamel and the sensitive tissue in your gums.
Many people complain about crooked teeth. Even adults who had braces during their younger years often find that their teeth have shifted, causing crooked teeth or misalignment in their bite. There are numerous straightening methods available, but a popular one for cosmetic purposes is clear aligners. These are almost invisible, and they can be taken out for eating and brushing. They are recommended for minor to moderate misalignments, and the average straightening time is about 12 months.
If you do not like the way your teeth are shaped, or if they look worn down, a cosmetic dentist can reshape them to the desired look. Some people also complain that their teeth look short because there is too much gum tissue. If this is the case, the dentist can recontour the gums to remove excess tissue and create a more even appearance.
One popular cosmetic dentistry option that corrects a number of issues is dental bonding. For this procedure, the dentist applies and hardens a tooth-colored resin to the front of the teeth and molds it to the desired look. Bonding takes around a half-hour to an hour per tooth to complete. Dentists generally recommend this procedure for small corrections or for areas of the mouth with low bite pressure. Patients opt for dental bonding for the following conditions:
- Spaces between teeth
- Teeth that appear too short
- Decayed teeth
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Exposed tooth roots
- Misshapen teeth
- Unwanted amalgam fillings
Veneers treat many of the same issues as dental bonding, including discoloration and cracks. With veneers, the dentist strategically applies a thin shell of porcelain to the front of the teeth to hide unwanted issues. Veneers tend to last longer than bonding, but the dentist must remove some of the tooth enamel to place them, so it is an irreversible procedure. When properly maintained, veneers can last for years.
Implants are commonly used to replace missing teeth. They are generally more stable and function more normally than other tooth-replacement methods because the implants are inserted directly into the jawbone. Implants take several visits to complete, but they usually last a lifetime.
For cosmetic purposes, composite fillings are a popular choice for cavities. Some people opt to use these natural-colored fillings instead of the traditional metal amalgam fillings. It is also an option to remove old amalgam fillings and replace them with tooth-colored material to make the fillings less noticeable, creating an attractive, natural-looking smile.
If you have complaints about your teeth or gums, cosmetic dentistry may be the answer. There are numerous procedures that can fix a wide variety of issues. Before making a decision, discuss your aesthetic goals as well as the pros and cons of each procedure with the dentist.
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