A beautiful smile is the omnipresent dream of many people. Not only does it allow you to confidently walk down the road, but it also acts as a precedent to better success in life. The problem is, not everyone possesses a perfect smile, despite the substantial efforts to take care of their teeth. For those who wish to improve their outer appearance, cosmetic dentistry provides a reliable solution.
These days, cosmetic dentistry is becoming more and more popular, with various treatments such as braces, teeth whitening, fillings, and implants. Just like any other cosmetic procedure, it is essential that you be aware of the potential benefits and risks before making a decision.
Learn the basics
What is Cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry refers to dental work that focuses on improving the appearance and/or functionality of the teeth and gums. Unlike general dentistry that mostly deals with health-related problems, cosmetic dentistry aims to enhance your dental aesthetics, including the teeth’s color, shape, and position.
Why do I need Cosmetic dentistry?
Patients who are unhappy with their teeth’s imperfect appearance may consider contacting a cosmetic dentist. With treatments such as whitening, braces, and veneers, the dentist can help reshape your teeth, as well as make them look whiter and brighter. In some cases, cosmetic dentistry is also performed for practical purposes (e.g: to improve the biting and chewing force).
The most common Cosmetic dentistry procedures
Those who have crowded, crooked teeth and/or biting problems may want to consider orthodontic treatment. This type of treatment will help you reposition your teeth and jaws, hence improving your eating ability and giving you a much more pleasant smile.
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there are 2 main methods: Braces and Invisalign. Braces are wire-based devices that are worn over the teeth. By applying pressure on them, braces help align the teeth and jaws, which then corrects your irregular bite and produces a better smile.
To place braces, the dentist first attaches brackets to the teeth’s outer side. The brackets can be made from ceramic or metal such as stainless steel. After that, wires are applied to connect the brackets together and fix the teeth’s position. In some cases, for cosmetic purposes, the orthodontist will attach braces to the teeth’s back instead of the front.
After the treatment, you may expect to feel uncomfortable for the next few days. While wearing braces, it is essential to practice good dental hygiene to prevent damage to your teeth.
Invisalign (or invisible braces) is a nice alternative to traditional braces – especially for those who are concerned about their outer appearance. The treatment involves the use of clear, removable plastic aligners, which can be taken out as you eat, brush and floss your teeth. As the aligners are pretty much “invisible”, other people are unlikely to be able to notice them.
Those who use Invisalign will need to visit the dentist every 2 weeks to have their aligners reshaped. Compared to braces, Invisalign is more expensive, but the benefits more than make up for that.
Teeth whitening (Bleaching)
Tooth discoloration is commonly found among many people. There are many reasons for this problem, including aging, smoking, drinking coffee, and taking certain medications. In that case, bleaching (or teeth whitening) will help remove the stain on your teeth, hence producing a much more alluring smile.
Normally, the whole treatment process takes about 1-2 hours. To perform it, the dentist will utilize a bleaching chemical solution. In addition, a mouthpiece is necessary to control the amount of solution being used.
Bleaching (teeth whitening) is a popular choice these days among both celebrities and ordinary people. At some dental clinics, treatment protocol involves the use of Lazer Zoom 2, which is currently one of the most advanced bleaching methods. The system can improve your teeth’s shade from 4-9 levels within 80 minutes without causing any discomfort.
Dental filling (Bonding)
Dental filling (bonding) is recommended for those who have chipped, cracked or stained teeth. To perform the treatment, the dentist will fill in the patient’s cavities with bonding materials to prevent further decaying. In addition, he/she will apply some etching liquid and tooth-colored materials to smooth out the teeth’s surface and improve the shade.
Compared to other restorative dentistry methods, bonding is generally cheaper, but not as long-lasting.
Veneers are porcelain/ plastic pieces attached to the teeth’s outer surface to change their shape and/or shade. Like bonding, veneers are meant to treat problems such as uneven, discolored and crooked teeth. However, the latter is much more desirable in terms of durability and aesthetics.
Before commencing the treatment, the dentist will need to take an impression of the patient’s teeth first. After that, he/she will buff the teeth a little bit before bonding veneers onto their surface. As the procedure is minimally invasive, it does not cause any pain, as well as does not affect your chewing function.
Contouring and Enamel shaping
Contouring and enamel shaping involves the removal of dental enamel, hence reshaping the teeth and improving their overall appearance. In many cases, the procedure is performed in combination with dental filling (bonding).
Overall, patients who have crooked, irregular teeth and/or biting issues may consider getting this treatment. Additionally, those with good oral health and enough bone between their teeth are also good candidates for enamel shaping. Most of the time, the procedure is painless and able to produce immediate effects.
Despite the high price, dental implants provide the ultimate solution to those whose teeth are lost/ damaged beyond repair. A dental implant is a metal cylindrical device that is placed into the jawbone. Over time, the device will fuse with your natural bone, hence providing a sturdy anchor for an artificial tooth/ crown/ bridge.
Compared to traditional methods such as dental crowns, bridges, and denture, Dental implant is preferable due to its efficiency and aesthetics. In addition, the treatment also boasts numerous other benefits, including better oral hygiene and long-term effects.
You may be interested in: 8 Reasons why you should choose Dental Implant
Also called partially fixed dentures, dental bridges are inserted into your jaw to provide a foundation for artificial teeth. They can be made from ceramic, porcelain, gold, or a combination of all three. Depending on each patient’s case, the bridge can be either fixed or removable.
Compared to dental implants, bridges offer a much more affordable option for those who have missing/ damaged teeth. However, its downside is that the dentist will need to remove the 2 adjacent teeth’s enamel to give room for the bridge. Besides, to maximize the success rate, patients need to properly take care of their teeth after treatment.
Where can I look for high-quality Cosmetic dentistry services?
Considering how important your outlook – especially the face – is, it is essential to make careful consideration before getting cosmetic dentistry treatments. To maximize the success rate, only choose high-end dental centers if possible.
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Improve Your Smile: Cosmetic Dentistry 101. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry#1. Accessed on September 5, 2019.
How Can My Dentist Improve My Smile? http://www.heavenly-dental.com/patient-education/improve-smile.html. Accessed on September 5, 2019.
Different Types of Cosmetic Dental Procedures. https://www.verywellhealth.com/different-types-of-cosmetic-dental-procedures-1059022. Accessed on September 5, 2019.