Cosmetic Dentistry

Introduction

Your smile can be one of the most eye-catching and memorable features of your face. Accordingly, it comes as no surprise that people want their teeth to be perfectly uniform, sparkling white, and free of chips or other flaws. Sadly, time usually takes its toll and over the years our teeth may get chipped, cracked, or stained. Even with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleanings, exposure to tobacco, coffee, and tea can eventually discolor what was once a naturally white, beautiful smile.

Thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry (Learn More: The Evolution of Cosmetic Dentistry) we can all aspire to have the smile of our dreams with teeth that fight discoloration and are nearly as durable as their natural counterparts. The fact is cosmetic dentistry materials and methods are more advanced than ever before and are continuously being refined. That is why today, people who want a more attractive and younger-looking smile are investing in cosmetic dental treatments.

Our practice offers a number of effective solutions to improve your smile. From minor alterations to comprehensive oral restoration, our team is dedicated to providing patients state-of-the-art treatments to enhance teeth that are crooked, damaged, stained, or unattractive (Learn More: Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment). We can contour teeth that are misaligned, fill gaps, alter tooth length, restore damaged teeth, and much more. Some cosmetic dentistry treatments we may recommend to you include: Bonding, Comprehensive Oral Restoration™, Inlays/Onlays, Dental Implants, Reshaping (a.k.a. Contouring), Smile Makeovers, Tooth Whitening, and Veneers.

Furthermore, some cosmetic dental treatments may also have benefits that go beyond esthetic enhancement. These benefits may include (i) jaw and muscle pain relief, (ii) TMJ pain relief, (iii) headache relief, and (iv) the restoration of oral functioning by improving bite, bone and jaw structure, and mouth musculature.

Modern cosmetic dentistry can help enhance your visual appeal, improve your self-esteem, and boost confidence. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation. It’s the first step towards a more attractive smile and healthier teeth.

The Evolution of Cosmetic Dentistry

Today, cosmetic dentistry allows patients to benefit from the constant evolution in dental techniques and technology. In the past, composite materials used to fix a damaged tooth were more susceptible to getting chipped or discolored. Modern-day composites are stronger and more dependable which tends to give patients a positive outcome with greater longevity. In addition, current dental materials are designed to more closely emulate actual teeth. This development helps your dentist deliver cosmetic results that are more natural in appearance.

Long ago, when a patient had a chipped or cracked tooth they had the option to either live with the defect or have their dentist place a cap over the tooth called a “crown”. Thanks to the development of state-of-the-art dental methods and tools, your dentist is now able to repair teeth that are broken, chipped, or cracked with bonding. During bonding, composite material is placed on the surface of a damaged tooth and then sculpted and polished until its appearance closely matches the adjacent teeth.

These new composites can also be used to fill cavities and small gaps between teeth. There are key benefits that composite fillings (a.k.a. “tooth-colored fillings” or “white composite fillings”) provide when compared to silver amalgam fillings. First, some consider the mercury in amalgam fillings to be potentially toxic. Furthermore, composite fillings that are directly bonded to the decayed tooth can reinforce the tooth and return some of its original durability. In contrast, silver amalgam fillings can decrease the integrity of the tooth making it more susceptible to future cracks. Composite fillings are also white-colored and more natural-looking. This factor is especially relevant when fillings are required in the frontal teeth because most us do not want our smile to expose a “metallic mouth”.

Technological advances have also produced much stronger dental adhesives. In the past, to firmly affix a filling, dentists would need to remove a bigger portion of the decayed tooth. Today, these stronger adhesives can keep a filling securely in place without the need to take out as much of the original tooth.

Laser energy is another powerful tool that has been harnessed by the dental community to provide improved dental treatments to patients. Some of the advantages of laser-assisted dentistry include the following:

  1. Enhanced healing with a reduction in pain and recovery time.
  2. Improved sterilization of the treatment area due to laser’s ability to kill bacteria.
  3. Laser energy helps decrease bleeding by helping close off damaged vessels.
  4. Soft-tissue procedures with lasers can sometimes reduce or eliminate the need for sutures.

Imagine being able to review digitally rendered before and after images of your smile before undergoing any cosmetic dental procedure. Today a state-of-the-art technology called Computer Generated Previs™ (CGP™) allows your dentist to virtually show you what cosmetic dental procedures can do to improve your smile. While you observe, your dentist can use a computer to “pre-visualize” the outcomes of the treatments you are considering. This, of course helps you make a more informed decision about your care.

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment

From minor improvements to comprehensive restorations, our dental office can provide you with a variety of solutions to enhance your smile. Some common cosmetic dental procedures that may be recommended include:

Bonding: Bonding is a technique that can be used to fix or improve the appearance of teeth that are broken, chipped, cracked, or discolored. It is called bonding because the procedure involves permanently attaching or bonding a composite material to the tooth’s enamel or dentin. This material can also be used to fill cavities, fill small gaps between teeth, or make teeth look longer. The composite material comes in numerous colors that can be closely matched to your original teeth. The composite is applied to the damaged tooth and then shaped and sculpted. After the appropriate shape has been achieved the composite material is exposed to high-intensity light energy which causes it to quickly hardened. The end result of bonding should be a restored tooth whose appearance is consistent with the rest of your natural teeth.

Whitening: Whitening is one of the most commonly requested dental procedures because a shiny, white smile is considered desirable across most demographics and this treatment can noticeably enhance your visual appeal. Some of the factors that contribute to yellow or stained teeth include aging, chewing tobacco, cigarette smoking, coffee, tea, specific medicines, inadequate oral hygiene, and genetics. Whitening is an effective cosmetic solution which can help reverse tooth discoloration and restore your smile’s luster. People who received this treatment typically observe at least a moderate improvement in the color and sheen of their teeth. Furthermore, a brighter, more attractive smile can boost confidence and self-esteem. There are a variety of whitening solutions available, each catering to different budgets and mindsets. The types of whitening solutions include dentist supervised in-office treatments, dentist dispensed at-home kits, and over-the-counter whiteners used without professional control or input. Regardless of what type of whitening treatment you choose, to maintain the results achieved by whitening you may need to periodically receive additional treatments.

If you have a dental condition and are unsure whether a particular cosmetic dentistry treatment would be appropriate for you, discuss your concerns with your dentist.


Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments:

Bonding:

Bonding can improve the appearance of teeth which are broken, chipped, cracked, or discolored. During bonding, a tooth-colored material is applied and bonded to the surface of the enamel. This tooth-colored material can also be used to fill cavities, close gaps between teeth, and refine the color and shape of a tooth. Typically performed during a single office visit, bonding can last several years.

Contouring/Enamel Reshaping:

Contouring (a.k.a. tooth reshaping or odontoplasty) involves improving the appearance of teeth by sculpting their enamel. During the procedure small amounts of enamel are removed to alter the length or shape of a tooth. This process can fix chipped, crooked, or asymmetrically shaped teeth in a single session. Contouring can even help correct minor problems with bite. Contouring is usually a short, relatively painless procedure which can deliver immediately results.

Gum Sculpting:

Gum sculpting (a.k.a. gum contouring, gum reshaping, or gingivoplasty) is a procedure which can be used to enhance the appearance of a person’s gums or gum line. This treatment can be used to improve a “gummy smile,” a condition in which a smile is associated with an excessive display of gum tissue. With a gummy smile, gingival tissue covers too much of the teeth, causing them to look too short. This condition can negatively impact the esthetics of a smile, a person’s general desire to smile, and self-confidence. Gum sculpting can be used to trim the excess gingival tissue overlying the teeth, and help unleash a fuller, bolder smile.

Smile Makeovers:

A smile makeover is the use of one or more cosmetic dental procedures to improve the esthetics of your smile. During a smile makeover your dental professional carefully analyzes factors such as your facial appearance, complexion, hair, teeth, gums, and lips. Then a treatment plan is developed which may involve a combination of procedures like bonding, contouring, veneers, and whitening. The goals of a smile makeover can vary greatly from person to person. For example, one patient may want the “perfect” celebrity smile while the next may want simple improvements such as whiter teeth or the replacement of amalgam fillings with tooth-colored composites. Regardless of individual goals, the end result of a smile makeover should be a smile you are proud to display.

Tooth Whitening:

Whitening can brighten teeth that have become discolored or stained. Teeth can become yellow or stained from exposure to specific substances such as coffee, tea, tobacco, and other foods or drinks. There are several types of whitening solutions, each intended to help reverse the effects of these substances. Some of the more effective whitening methods include: dentist supervised in-office treatments and take home whitening kits dispensed by your dentist.

Veneers:

Veneers are thin custom-made “shells” designed to cover the front of teeth. Manufactured from tooth-colored materials, Veneers are adhesively bonded to the front surface of the tooth and are used to repair cosmetic defects or improve bite mechanics (the way that teeth come together when you bite-down). More specifically, this procedure can be used to correct teeth that are chipped, crooked, unattractively shaped, worn, or discolored with stains that are resistant to whitening treatments. Veneers can also be used to close gaps between teeth, giving you a more uniform smile.

Zoom Teeth Whitening:

Zoom is a bleaching process widely used throughout the country and around the world to lighten discoloration of enamel and dentin. Tooth discoloration may result from drinking coffee, tea, soda and red wine; or from smoking. The aging process also can stain and darken your teeth. The Zoom procedure uses the Zoom Advanced Power Chairside Lamp to accelerate the bleaching process – to activate the 25 percent hydrogen peroxide whitening. As the hydrogen peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentin to bleach the stained substances, leaving the structure of the tooth unchanged. The complete procedure takes less than an hour, but a regular teeth cleaning is recommended prior to the actual Zoom teeth whitening session. The procedure begins with a short preparation to cover the lips and gums, leaving the teeth exposed. We will then apply the Zoom hydrogen peroxide whitening gel together with the Zoom light to penetrate the teeth and break up the stains and discoloration. The gel remains in place for 15 minutes while the light is activated.The gel is applied for three 15-minute sessions of light activation, for a total treatment time of 45 minutes.