Beautiful Smiles: These 10 Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures Can Help Improve Your Smile
by Carolyn Lee Sep 4, 2023
A smile can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and boost your immune system. Smiling is also crucial to building trust and people’s perception of who you are. However, if you are not confident about your smile, cosmetic dentistry might help.
This area of dentistry focuses on dental procedures that can help improve the appearance of your smile. Typical cosmetic dental treatments include dental bonding, dental implants, and teeth whitening.
Is there a difference between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry?
A general dentist is a primary dental care provider offering preventative care and restorative dentistry treatments (cleaning, dental fillings, crowns, and bridges). However, cosmetic dentistry focuses on beautifying your smile while maintaining good oral health.
What are the benefits of cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry might be helpful if you have misaligned teeth, tooth discolouration and staining, chipped or cracked teeth, mishappen teeth or small gaps or spaces between your teeth.
Who can undergo cosmetic dentistry?
People with healthy gums and teeth can try cosmetic dental treatments. Before considering cosmetic treatment, your dentist must address any dental conditions you might have (gum disease, cavities).
Types of cosmetic dentistry.
Veneers: Veneers provide a conservative approach to changing the front teeth’ shape, size, colour, or length. They are custom-made thin shells bonded to the front teeth’ surface. Veneers can hide various cosmetic defects, including chips, discolouration, and cracks. There are many types of veneers. However, all veneers require some removal of natural enamel, which means they could be irreversible.
Teeth whitening: Coffee, berries, tea, and other dark-coloured food and drinks can stain teeth. However, professional teeth whitening can safely lighten the shade of teeth and brighten your smile. Teeth whitening is perfect for people with healthy, unrestored gums and teeth. Please speak to your dentist to learn more about the procedure.
Dental bonding: Bonding can close gaps, change the shape of teeth, repair cracked or chipped teeth, or as a cosmetic alternative to silver fillings. The dentist uses tooth-coloured composite resin to hide hairline cracks, discolouration, visible cracks, and other cosmetic problems. This procedure does not require the removal of natural tooth enamel, making it reversible.
Cosmetic dental crowns: A crown is a custom-made tooth-shaped “cap” placed over a damaged or weak tooth. In cosmetic dentistry, crowns can treat teeth that are decayed, broken, chipped, or poorly shaped. This procedure can also treat teeth with large fillings or cover spaces in between teeth. A cosmetic dental crown can improve a tooth’s size, shape, strength, or appearance.
Orthodontics (Braces): Braces can correct misaligned or crooked teeth, improving the appearance and health of your smile. Some braces include metal, clear, tooth coloured, multi-coloured, and invisible. With braces, steady pressure is applied over time to move teeth into alignment slowly. If you are considering braces, speak to your dentist about treatment options and allow them to refer you to a specialist (orthodontist).
Gum reshaping: Gum contouring (gingival sculpting, gingivoplasty, or gum reshaping) is used to reshape the gum line, reducing the appearance of a “gummy” smile. A gummy smile is one where excessive gum tissue is exposed when smiling, teeth might look too short, or the gum line appears uneven. A dental specialist does the procedure, reshaping or resculpting the gumline.
Composite fillings: Fillings can repair cracked or broken teeth, teeth worn down from nail-biting or tooth-grinding and fill an area with a cavity removed. Composite (tooth-coloured) fillings sometimes replace silver amalgam fillings for aesthetic purposes. Your dentist will discuss the type of fillings and the one best suited for your dental issue.
Dental implants: People lose their teeth for different reasons, and some might be interested in a cosmetic dental solution. Dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone where a tooth is missing. A dental implant acts as the tooth root and can anchor a bridge, crown, or denture. The titanium device provides a robust foundation for attaching permanent or artificial teeth.
Dentures: A denture is a removable replacement made of acrylic (plastic) or metal for missing teeth. Some people wear full dentures when all the teeth are missing. Others might choose a partial denture as some natural teeth remain. If you want dentures, your dentist will provide detailed information on the process, costs, and adjustment period.
Bridges: Dental bridges replace missing teeth and can enhance your appearance, improve oral health, and restore chewing function. Dentists can make custom bridges to match the shade of your natural teeth and “bridge the gap” in your smile. Some bridges include traditional, implant-supported, Maryland and Cantilever dental bridges.
What else should you know?
When consulting with your dentist, get relevant information on the procedure you wish to explore. Ask about the other options that might solve your problem, including the pros and cons. Some treatments are expensive or not covered by health insurance, so ask about the costs, payment options, and treatment duration. Also, ensure you know the expected results, what side effects or complications may occur, and possible resolutions.
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Sources: Cleveland Clinic, Verywell Health, WebMD, Healthline, Dental Health, and Better Health.