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Cosmetic Dentistry 101 – Everything You Need to Know

The term ‘cosmetic’ is generally associated with enhancing or beautifying an individual’s appearance. Cosmetic dentistry mainly focuses on treatments that give users an attractive and healthy smile. Individuals choosing these treatments tend to choose them in order to have a renewed sense of confidence and a prettier smile. However, for someone who hasn’t heard of it before, the information available, online or otherwise, can be overwhelming. So, to simplify the term for you, here is a blog post with everything you need to know about cosmetic dentistry. Read on and get a glimpse of the most common treatments and why it might be a good idea for you to get one.

Cosmetic Dentistry to Enhance Your Smile

  1. What is cosmetic dentistry?

The term is used to describe a dental procedure that aims to improve the appearance and not the health of an individual’s teeth, smile and mouth. There are different ways to accomplish this and each depends on the unique oral structure and needs of the patient. Though most cosmetic procedures are not absolutely necessary, they offer a range of advantages, including reduction of bruxism and making daily cleaning easier.

Given that everyone’s mouth is different, recent technological advancements have made a range of cosmetic dentistry procedures and services readily available.

  1. Who needs the procedure?

While many may benefit from these procedures, not everyone will book an appointment. With root canals and fillings being primary dental concerns, it can feel like an indulgence to spend money for something that isn’t causing you any discomfort. Maybe think about how important it is to have a bright and shiny smile and how any insecurity related to it could be holding you back. That said, you should look for a cosmetic dentist if you suffer from:

  • Discoloured teeth
  • Gaps between your teeth
  • Stained teeth
  • Broken/chipped teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Misaligned teeth
  1. What types of procedures are available?

Cosmetic dentistry comprises several procedures which enhance the aesthetics of an individual’s teeth. Here are the most popular types explained.

Dental Veneers

Veneers are essentially a thin shell made using a composite material or porcelain. They are custom made to fit the wearer’s mouth and are cemented to the front side of teeth. This procedure treats discoloured, slightly chipped or crooked teeth and covers spaces between them.

Teeth Whitening

This is perhaps one of the most basic procedures and can be performed at the dentist’s office. However, it should only be performed once tartar, plaque and other types of debris have been completely cleaned out.

Dental Bonding

This is the most immediate and affordable treatment and treats different issues, from chipped teeth to discoloured ones. In this procedure, the dentist applies resin to provide a uniform smile. A heat lamp is used to cure the bond of the resin to the teeth. The procedure requires no lab work, can be completed within a single appointment and offers a natural smile that can last up to 10 years.

Crowns

This is perhaps the most natural cosmetic treatment when it comes to both comfort and the way it looks. Used to replace missing teeth and hide other imperfections, crowns need extensive reshaping of existing teeth to accommodate them. Your dentist will take impressions and make the crowns in a lab. However, it is a time-consuming procedure so your dentist may provide you with a temporary crown until the permanent ones are ready.

Inlays and Onlays

These are a cross between crowns and veneers. Inlays are mainly used on teeth with larger cavities towards their centre; onlays cover other areas of an affected tooth. They both need lab work and come in a wide range of materials such as gold, ceramic and porcelain. These are bonded to the teeth like veneers.

Dental Implants

An implant is a metal device specifically designed to replace one or more missing teeth. It is made using titanium and surgically placed into an individual’s jawbone where the teeth are missing. Unlike dental bridges, implants are permanent. They are intended to act as the root of a tooth and are made to anchor a false tooth such as a denture, crown or a bridge.

  1. How do you choose a dentist?

The experience and skills of the specialist you choose can significantly impact how your cosmetic dentistry looks and feels. While some specialists, such as periodontists and orthodontists, need to obtain special certifications and additional education to practice, cosmetic dentistry as a field has no such requirements. Dentists with a general degree can also perform these procedures. Most offering these services have likely taken up continuing courses on the procedures and treatments. To be certain that the dentist you have chosen is skilled enough, you can ask for:

  • Patient references
  • Proof of continuing education
  • Before and after pictures of previous patients

If you are thinking of getting a cosmetic dentistry procedure, find a dentist who offers the option that is best suited to you. Talk to your friends and family members for referrals to get the best treatment possible. Also, discuss with the dentist what you are looking to have changed or modified to make sure they suggest the option that best suits your needs.