Cosmetic dentistry can transform an embarrassing smile into something that is beautiful, straight, and strong. Patients who want an improved appearance have a number of options for addressing teeth that are crooked, discolored, cracked, or out-of-line. Cosmetic options vary by individual and desired results, but there are several options available for transforming your smile.
Cosmetic dentistry solutions
A consult with a dentist can reveal the primary options for addressing smile concerns. The options vary according to tooth placement, color, or damage, but the following are among the more common restoration solutions.
1. Clear aligners
If crooked teeth are causing embarrassment, clear aligner trays could be a solution. Rather than going the traditional route of metal brackets and wires, the trays are custom made to fit over the teeth to encourage the teeth to shift into the desired position without significant discomfort. The aligners are considered nearly invisible, leaving patients without the additional embarrassment of a highly visible cosmetic solution. The trays can be removed for normal eating, drinking, and oral hygiene.
2. Teeth whitening
Many people hide a smile that is marked by stained or discolored teeth. Regular consumption of drinks or foods that are highly acidic can lead to a breakdown in the enamel and accelerate discoloration. Tooth staining can also occur over time if coffee, red wine, tea, soda, or smoking are a part of your regular routine. Teeth whitening products are available over-the-counter, but it is highly recommended to pursue this cosmetic fix from a dental health provider for a more effective, longer-lasting result.
3. Cosmetic bonding
Teeth that are chipped or that have small fractures can be addressed with dental bonding. This process uses putty similar to the natural color of the teeth to fill in small holes or cracks. When the putty is hardened, it creates a strong protective seal over the cosmetic blemish. This is a quick, non-invasive procedure that could take as little as 30 minutes to provide results. Bonding needs to be done before a tooth whitening process takes place, though it is common to have bonding and whitening as joint treatments in a smile makeover plan.
4. Dental veneers
Veneers work to improve the appearance of the smile because of the placement over the front surface of the teeth. These are extremely thin shells of porcelain that are custom-made to match the color of teeth. The shells are applied to teeth in order to change the size, shape, length, or color. Veneers are not used to fix teeth that are severely crooked or crowded.
5. Dental implants
Patients who have severely damaged teeth or who are missing several teeth have a few options for restoring a uniform smile full of teeth. This is one of the lengthier cosmetic procedures but well worth the effort when considering the long-lasting nature of the results. Dental implants are artificial teeth that are permanently attached to the jaw. The durable construction and placement cause them to function like natural teeth. Normal chewing, grinding, speaking, and jawbone stimulation all occur.
In this process, a titanium post is implanted into the jawbone. After the post is fused to the jawbone, a connector called an abutment is put in place which will hold the artificial tooth. These teeth are custom-made to match the rest of the mouth and require the same oral hygiene as the other teeth in order to maintain natural coloring.
6. Dental crowns
Sometimes referred to as caps, crowns help with the look of a smile by treating teeth that have been damaged. Crowns are sometimes recommended when a tooth has experienced significant decay from a large cavity. Crowns will cover and protect the decayed area and help restore a normal shape to the tooth. Crowns are typically adhered to the tooth using dental cement and can last for decades. Good oral hygiene can preserve the look of a crown.
7. Inlays and onlays
As another smile makeover solution, inlays and onlays can help fill in teeth that have been decayed or damaged. These fillings can be constructed from porcelain, gold, or composite material. The filling is molded in a laboratory but bonded to the teeth during a dental visit. These are considered an alternative to crowns and preserve as much of a healthy tooth as possible.
Cosmetic dentistry treatments are available for a wide range of dental needs. Choose an option that addresses the functionality you require and the appearance you desire.
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