While cosmetic dentistry does aim to improve appearance, it also focuses on the function of the teeth. Cosmetic dentists often perform certain procedures that help enhance the teeth, while also ensuring that the procedure will benefit the tooth's health and functionality.Inlays and onlays are two common types of fillings that work to improve appearance and…
Cosmetic Dental Services That Are Part of a Smile Makeover
Enhancing the smile is possible with cosmetic dental services. The appearance of teeth that are discolored, misshapen, crowded, broken, chipped, worn or that have gaps can be improved with a smile makeover. When any of these physical conditions exist, it is helpful to understand the procedures available.
Smile makeover procedures
According to a 2017 survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the most common cosmetic service is dental bonding at 43.4% of all procedures. This is followed by crowns at 31.4%. These are only two of the possible services. Here is a brief guide to six popular smile makeover techniques.
1. Dental bonding
In dental bonding, a durable plastic material called resin is placed on the tooth. A special light bonds the resin to the tooth, resulting in a smooth transition between the two. This technique is often used for chipped teeth or to change the shape of teeth by making them longer or filling in gaps.
While often used in non-cosmetic procedures, dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps or covers for the tooth. They can be made from many materials ranging from stainless steel to composite resin. For smile makeovers, porcelain is often used as it blends in with natural teeth. Crowns cover teeth that are misshapen and severely stained.
A tooth is comprised of a crown (the part that can be seen) and a root (the part under the gumline). A dental implant is a synthetic root made of a titanium or titanium alloy screw. This is embedded into the jaw and used to anchor dentures, a bridge or a crown. Implants are often an appropriate choice for patients with a missing tooth or teeth.
4. Inlays and onlays
Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are created outside of the mouth through the use of 3D imaging. Like crowns, they are made from a variety of materials, and porcelain is a common choice for cosmetic dental services. Unlike crowns, they only cover the damaged portion of a tooth. Inlays fill in an area of the tooth within the cusps, whereas outlays cover a larger area extending past the cusps. Both restore a natural look to damaged or decayed teeth.
Dental veneers are slim overlays that bond to the front surface of the tooth. They are generally made from porcelain. They improve the look of stained, chipped, and inconsistently-sized teeth.
In-office whitening is the most efficient way to whiten teeth. With in-office bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth and may be used with a laser, light or heat. This is often the most effective solution for stained teeth.
Benefits of cosmetic dentistry
A smile is often the first thing people notice. Cosmetic makeovers promote self-esteem and can give patients a more youthful appearance. Society looks kindly upon those with a nice smile. Therefore, patients may have increased opportunities socially and professionally. In addition, many of the cosmetic procedures also strengthen teeth and improve overall dental health.
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Surface dental concerns can have a negative impact on those who have them. However, cosmetic dental services can result in teeth that are whiter, straighter and well-shaped with many associated benefits.
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