Do you have unsightly stained teeth or teeth that are damaged? Is your smile interrupted by crooked or missing teeth? Are you ashamed to smile in public? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then cosmetic dentistry may be right for you.
Cosmetic dentistry is similar to restorative dentistry in that it restores your teeth to their previous, healthy state. However, cosmetic dentistry also enhances the appearance of your teeth while restoring them. In this way, cosmetic dentistry helps you to have a healthy and attractive smile. Cosmetic dentistry has many benefits. To learn more about these benefits, see “How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Change Your Life”.
There are many different cosmetic dental treatments available that can treat a range of cosmetic concerns. When deciding which cosmetic dental treatment is best, you will need to consider what your cosmetic concerns are, how long you are willing to devote to treatment, and what your budget is. To get the process started, here are five of the top cosmetic dental treatments:
A dental veneer, sometimes called laminates, is a thin shell that is placed on the front surface of the teeth. Porcelain veneers are the most common, however veneers can also be made from composite. Veneers are highly versatile and are used to improve the color, size, shape, alignment, and spacing of teeth. However, they do require the removal of some enamel for their placement. Once the veneers are adhered in place, they can last 5-15 years, depending on their material and your oral habits.
A dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed in the jawbone to act as an artificial tooth root. Once it fuses with the surrounding bone, it becomes strong enough to anchor a dental prosthetic. However this requires a 3-6 month healing period between the placement of the dental implant and the placement of the dental prosthetic. Depending on the number of missing teeth, dental prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, or dentures may be used. Dental implants are highly popular because they have a natural appearance, are very strong, and can last about 10-15 years. For more information about dental implants see “Things You Didn’t Know About Dental Implants.”
A dental crown, also commonly referred to as a dental cap, fits entirely over the visible portion of your tooth. It offers protection to the underlying tooth structure in cases where the natural tooth is severely damaged or decayed. Dental crowns are also used to repair improperly shaped or severely stained teeth. They can also be used in association with a dental implants to restore missing teeth. Dental crowns are relatively easy to place and can be placed in 1-2 dental appointments. First the tooth will need to be properly shaped to accommodate the dental crown. If any decayed tissue is present, this will need to be removed prior to the crown placement as well. Once the permanent crown has been placed, they can last from about 5-15 years.
Composite fillings are used to restore teeth affected by dental cavities in an aesthetic way. They are made from composite resin, which can be matched to the shade of natural teeth. Their placement is quite easy and consists of first removing the decayed tissue and then applying the composite. The composite is applied in layers and each layer is hardened before the next layer is placed. The final layer will be shaped to match the tooth’s structure. Composite fillings have a lifespan of about 5-7 years.
Teeth whitening treatments use a whitening agent to penetrate the enamel and dentin layers in order to remove stains. Teeth whitening treatments only take about 30-60 minutes and can lighten smiles by 5-10 shades. During a teeth whitening treatment, your teeth are cleaned and then a whitening agent is brushed onto your teeth. Some treatments may also have you wear trays or may require an activation light. Once the treatment is complete, the whitening agent is removed, but will keep working for the next 24 hours. Depending on your oral and eating habits, the effects from teeth whitening generally last about a year.