Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to your dentist do wonders for your oral health, but sometimes you need additional care to restore the appearance of your smile. Procedures designed to create a positive change in the appearance of your teeth fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry.
Cosmetic dentistry includes simple treatments like teeth whitening as well as more complicated procedures like dental implants. These techniques improve the physical appearance of your teeth. Additionally, they improve your self-esteem by correcting issues that may prevent you from sharing your smile.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic Dentistry includes a variety of treatments. Options range from quick, elective, and non-invasive to more involved surgical procedures that provide long-term restorative solutions. Below we will define and discuss several cosmetic dentistry options that Bass Dentistry in Gastonia, NC offers.
As we age, our teeth grow stained and worn due to food, drinks, smoking, or the use of some medications. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures, as it provides a relatively quick and easy solution for correcting discoloration resulting in a healthier-looking smile.
Talk to your dentist about the whitening option that’s best for you. You can use custom trays molded to your teeth to apply a gradual whitening treatment at home, but an in-office treatment may achieve faster and more noticeable results.
During an in-office teeth whitening procedure, the dentist will clean and polish your teeth before applying a highly concentrated peroxide-based bleaching gel. Your dentist uses retractors to keep your gums, tongue, and lips from interfering with the whitening agent. Peroxide gel is applied to the fronts of your teeth, where it sits for about 20 minutes before rinsing. Your teeth need three to five treatments for optimal whitening.
Dental crowns are a long-term cosmetic dentistry solution. They are most appropriate for patients who need to protect weakened teeth, hold a dental bridge in place, cover a dental implant, or restore a broken tooth. Crowns are essentially tooth-shaped caps. When cemented into place, they cover the entire visible portion of the tooth above the gum line.
It usually takes two dental visits to prepare your teeth for crowns. Expect x-rays, broken or decayed filling replacement, and re-shaping your tooth to receive the crown during the first visit. After re-shaping, the dentist makes an impression of your tooth. The impression becomes the model for the permanent crown that perfectly encases your damaged tooth. At the second visit, your dentist permanently cements the crown in place.
Dental veneers are a semi-permanent cosmetic dentistry solution that can last for a decade or more. Veneers adhere to the front of your teeth, forming a thin, tooth-colored shell. Most commonly made from porcelain, veneers can cover a single chipped tooth or create a more symmetrical appearance across multiple teeth.
Veneer application typically involves removing some surface tooth structure, making it easier for the veneer to adhere to your tooth. Your dentist makes an impression of your prepared teeth to serve as the model for your veneers. On your next visit, the dentist uses dental cement to adhere the veneers to your teeth. Ultraviolet light helps the cement dry quickly, forming a long-lasting bond.
Dental implants are screw-like titanium tooth roots. They are placed in your jaw to replace a missing tooth root and support artificial teeth or bridges. Once the implant is placed, the jaw bone needs time to heal tightly around the implanted screw. The entire process can take months to complete.
Implants may be right for you if you have one or more missing teeth, lack underlying health conditions that may impede healing, are a non-smoker, and can dedicate the time to the process. Dental implants are teeth replacements that don’t have to be removed and are treated just like normal teeth when brushing and flossing. They provide more natural support than other artificial teeth, such as removable partial dentures or bridges, since they are anchored in the bone like a normal tooth.
Dental Tooth Bonding
Bonding is one of the quickest and least expensive forms of cosmetic dentistry. Generally, bonding takes about 30 – 60 minutes to complete per tooth. It is often used to repair chipped, cracked, or decayed teeth, close spaces between teeth, or correct discolored teeth.
Your dentist applies tooth-colored putty-like resin, then shapes and smoothes it to mimic the natural appearance of your teeth. A special light hardens the material, and your dentist further smooths, shapes, and polishes to perfect the final product.
Inlays and Onlays
Dental inlays and onlays are restorative solutions that are stronger and more esthetic than traditional tooth fillings.
Inlays are pre-molded fillings fitted into the grooves of your teeth. Onlays also fit on the tooth but extend from the front or back surface onto the chewing surface to replace one or more cusps. Inlays can restore minor cavities that a traditional filling may not fix, while onlays can restore more extensive damage.
In both cases, your dentist drills away the damaged area of the tooth, casts an impression to create the inlay or onlay, and bonds it to your tooth at a subsequent visit.
Often seen as a rite of childhood, wire-based braces are a standard cosmetic dentistry treatment. However, some dental malalignments can be corrected using Invisalign, clear aligners placed over the teeth.
Invisalign aligners move teeth gradually and are changed out every week or two. Tweens, teens, and adults may prefer this method, as the aligners are less conspicuous than conventional braces. Although the application of small tooth-colored attachments is sometimes required, Invisalign allows the correction of tooth misalignment without metal brackets or wires.
The aligners are removable and easy to clean, making them a great alternative to braces that keep your smile looking fantastic even during orthodontic treatment!
Whatever your cosmetic dentistry needs, Bass Dentistry can help. We’re here to answer your questions and guide you through each procedure to improve the look of your smile.
Our thorough, comprehensive care ensures that we’ll be with you every step of the way, whether you need teeth whitening, crowns, veneers, implants, bonding, inlays, onlays, or Invisalign. Call us today to learn more about how cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile!
If dental health is important to you and your family, take steps to know how to keep your gums healthy. Gum health is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and overall good dental hygiene. Brush and floss multiple times per day, avoid tobacco products, and use a therapeutic mouthwash.
If you want to know more about maintaining a healthy smile, book an appointment today with Bass Dentistry.