The Complete Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry and Improving Your Smile

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Cosmetic dentistry means the dental work performed to improve the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums or bite. The primary focus of the procedure is on improving the color, position, shape, size and alignment of the teeth and improve the overall smile.

Cosmetic dentistry can include procedure that affects a small change to a big repair of the teeth to better the smile. There are several techniques to treat teeth that have lost color and shine, got broken, missing or misplaced. Through the surgery, your dentist can reshape and restore a worn-out teeth, bring back the color and impression as well as change the length of a tooth that looks odd and a misfit.

Today, cosmetic dentistry is not something which is confined to celebrities. Common people also go for this procedure to get a better and impressive smile. From the technological point of view as well, dentists today a wide variety of tools and techniques to choose from to conduct the surgery.

Types of cosmetic dentistry:

There are several types of the procedure cosmetic dentistry:

Teeth whitening: This is a basic form of cosmetic dentistry which involves whitening or bleaching of teeth. This procedure sees cleaning up of the teeth surface which gets stained by food particles, drinks and smoking and restoring their natural shine. Good-quality toothpastes can also be used to whiten the teeth.

Composite bonding: This technique sees using a material having the color of the tooth enamel to improve the looks of the teeth that have excess gap between them or have got broken or stained. Dentists also use the bonding tools to fill in small cavities or safeguard the exposed root of a tooth. Like teeth whitening, this oral procedure can also be done in a single sitting.

Veneers: These are typically made of medical-grade ceramic and used to cover the teeth’s front sides to change their color and shape. Dental veneers are used to improve conditions of the teeth that have big spaces between them, have been damaged, have got permanently stained or are slightly bent or crooked. Veneers have a better durability than bonding and are less expensive than crowns. The procedure to insert a veneer requires more than one sitting.

Braces: Braces are common among people of all ages. Besides improving the appearance of teeth that are crooked or overlapping, they can also rectify an irregular bite and joint disorders of the jaw. Braces work by applying pressure on the teeth. They are made of metal, plastic or ceramic and fitted against the teeth that need to the aligned. Sometimes, the dentist place the braces to the teeth’s back so that they cannot be seen. Maintaining oral hygiene is also key while wearing braces. People having allergies to metals may have problem wearing braces. Nowadays, a form of “invisible” braces have come up that are more comfortable to wear.

Using crowns: Crowns or caps are also used in another cosmetic dentistry technique whereby a tooth is covered to restore its normal shape and look.

A crown is generally used to cover a tooth which has lost its color, become weak or got worn out. They are also put on to hold a dental bridge, cover a dental implant or protect a tooth that had a root-canal treatment.

Shaping and contouring of enamel: This procedure involves removing or contouring the teeth enamel to improve the appearance of teeth. This technique, which the dentist may combine with bonding, can treat crooked or irregular teeth and correct minor bite problems.

Bridges: In another form of cosmetic dentistry, bridges are used to replace a missing tooth with an artificial one. Bridges can be made of various metals or in combination of all. They are fitted onto the surrounding teeth after getting them ready for caps. A false tooth connects to the caps of the surrounding teeth and the bridge is fixed onto the artificial tooth. This procedure serves those who maintain an oral hygiene perfectly well.

Dental implants: Implants are expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures but give a long-term solution to replacing a missing tooth. Alternative to dental bridges and removal dentures that rest on the gums, implants see the dental surgeon place teeth onto the jawbone. Those who have a bone loss problem because of gum ailments, the dental surgeon may first graft a bone before an implant.

Dental Orthodontics: This is a specialized branch of dental procedures which involves moving or realigning teeth to improve their appearance. This procedure is performed more in the younger years but nowadays, adults, too, are opting this.

There is more in cosmetic dentistry:

Cosmetic dentistry can be a rewarding exercise for both the patient and the doctor but since this is an elective treatment, there is every possibility of a dentist failing to meet the patient’s expectation. It is, thus, important that the patient and the dentist ensure certain things before beginning the procedure:

  • Both the patient and the doctor need to agree on the end result so that there is no post-procedure problem
  • The patient should be fully aware of all the treatment options that are available
  • The patient should have the knowledge about the potential complications that might accompany the procedure
  • Maintaining the records of the treatment

Risks and complications:

  • Like any other surgical procedures, cosmetic dentistry also may lead to complications of various types:
  • General complications like swellings, fatigue, discomfort following an extended period of dental anesthetics.
  • Tooth discomfort like toothache, tooth cracking or tooth sensitivity.
  • Gum complications like infection, recession.
  • Bite complications including discomfort in jaw.
  • Complications caused by the surgery like bleeding, infection and damage to nerve causing numbness.
  • Other kind of complications like discomfort in speaking

Steps to take before going for cosmetic dentistry:

It is always better to give it a second and third thought before making an appointment with the dentist to improve your smile. If you have already undergone the procedure, make sure that the post-surgical instructions are followed religiously. Take full oral care and go for periodical check-up.

Dental surveys have shown that an overwhelming number of people are aware of their teeth’s appearance and attach a lot of significance to the role the teeth play in improving one personality by bettering his/her smile. No wonder the popularity of cosmetic dentistry has picked up in recent years. But to those who want to go for it, judge each and every angle before settling for it.

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