Is there something you wish you could change about your smile?
Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just for celebrities.
Fortunately, there are an array of options for all budgets that put an improved smile within everyone’s reach.
Generally, orthodontic treatments focus mainly on malocclusion, dentofacial orthopedics, and jaw development. However, cosmetic dental procedures have other specialties from teeth whitening to crown placement.
Speaking of cosmetic dentistry, let’s take a look at some cosmetic procedures.
Tooth discoloration is often a result of the over-consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, and red wine. Discoloration can also occur from tobacco chewing, smoking, or poor oral care habits. Teeth can be whitened via two methods: in-office bleaching treatments and at-home whitening systems.
For the latter, a dentist can create custom-fit mouth trays for the patient to wear for a recommended duration where a whitening product will be daubed to ensure teeth contact. Although more convenient, the results of at-home whitening treatments are only noticeable after two to four weeks. On the other hand, in-office procedures, only necessitate one or several 1- to 2-hour sessions.
Understand that in order to prolong the benefits of teeth whitening, practicing good oral hygiene is vital. It is also important to avoid exposure to substances that are known to cause teeth discoloration.
Veneers are custom-fit shells usually made of porcelain and sometimes plastic. The purpose of veneers is to cover the lateral front of the teeth to modify its shape and/or color. With an extended usability period compared to bonding and a cheaper cost than crowns, veneers are a cost-effective cosmetic procedure.
Veneers address teeth that are:
- Worn or chipped
- Permanently stained
- Poorly shaped
- Overly spaced in terms of interproximal area
Like veneers, bonding is effective for both tooth structural restoration and for addressing excess gaps between teeth. Dentists apply an etching compound followed by composite resins to encapsulate an exposed tooth root or fill small cavities.
Also known as “caps,” crowns restore and preserve the normal appearance and shape of the teeth. Due to its hefty cost, dentists typically recommend crowns only if other treatments can’t produce the same results.
Made from porcelain fused to metal, resin, metal, or ceramic, crowns are used for many reasons:
- Protecting a weak tooth
- Concealing a dental implant
- Covering the surface of discolored or misshapen tooth
- Supporting a dental bridge
- Covering a tooth that underwent a root canal treatment
- Restoring a worn or broken tooth
- Protecting a tooth with a large filling.
With good oral hygiene and avoidance of hard foods, some crowns can last up to fifteen years. In some cases, crowns may even last a lifetime.
Compared to dentures and bridges, implants provide a long-term solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Removable dentures find support from the periodontal tissue, while bridges use the adjacent teeth as anchors. In contrast, implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone.
Installing dental implants includes:
- Physical assessment, X-rays, consultation, and treatment planning
- Implantation of the titanium screws through surgery
- Getting impressions of the lower and upper jaws
- Creating a model where the crowns and dentures will be molded
- Crown placement
- Follow-up checkups for progress monitoring
Another method of replacing missing teeth involves cementing an artificial tooth via bridge placement. Bridges are made of porcelain, base metal alloys, gold, or a combination. A dentist will install bridges onto the patient’s existing teeth after a crown is prepared. Generally, the success of the procedure is dependent on the stability of its foundation.
More of a facelift for the mouth, various periodontal plastic procedures can revamp the look of a smile. Using these treatments are relevant for eliminating:
- Exposed roots
- Teeth that appear too long or too short
- An uneven gum line
- Indentations in the jawbone or gums
Other Factors to Consider With Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic treatments are usually not covered by dental insurance policies. However, your dentist may offer payment plans that you can take advantage of. Here is the cost range of some of the treatments:
- Teeth whitening – $650 up (In-office), $100 to $400 (At-home)
- Veneers – $250 to $2,500
- Dental Implant – $900 to $3,000 for a single tooth; can reach as much as $24,000 to $96,000 for full-mouth reconstruction
- Bridges – $700 to $1,500
Choosing the Dentist:
Unlike dental specialists (e.g., periodontists), cosmetic dentists are not required to acquire special certifications or additional education to practice. However, rest assured that most cosmetic practitioners have extensive training in the procedures they offer.
Regardless, it is best to ask your cosmetic dentist for certificates and proof of education. Also, check if the dentist is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).
Planning and Consultation:
During an initial consultation, be sure to ask your dentist for a thorough explanation of the treatment options available to you. Also ask how long each procedure will take and how long the benefits will last. Don’t forget to also inquire about the affiliation of the dental assistant the dentist works with.
Additionally, ask for before and after photos of the proposed treatment. Asking for such can provide you can have a clearer perspective of what the end result will look like. Lastly and most importantly, be sure that your dentist will listen to your desires and concerns.
All in all, with a growing emphasis on appearance and youthfulness, cosmetic dentistry has become a go-to. Epitomized by celebrities, its treatments and procedures have gone mainstream. In response, everybody wants their teeth to have the same “star treatment” that celebrities enjoy.
- Coleman, N. (n.d.). The Complete Guide To Cosmetic Dentistry. Retrieved from Daily Mail UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-25286/The-complete-guide-cosmetic-dentistry.html
- Marsh, D. (n.d.). Is Cosmetic Dentistry Only For Celebrities And Rich People? Retrieved from Today’s Dentistry: https://www.todaysdentistry.com.au/did-you-know/is-cosmetic-dentistry-only-for-rich-people/
- Sheehan, J. (2007, October 8). All About Cosmetic Dentistry. Retrieved from Everyday Health: https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/cosmetic-dentistry.aspx