Cosmetic dentistry is the place where the art and science of dentistry meet personal aesthetics. The end goal of cosmetic dentistry is to improve dental health and natural tooth structure while improving the patient’s smile, appearance, self-confidence, and quality of life. There are a number of procedures which may fall under the heading of cosmetic dentistry, depending on the patient’s needs. So what are the various features of cosmetic dentistry and what can cosmetic dentistry do for you? Let’s take a look and learn a bit more.
It’s probably most helpful to start by exploring some of the most common procedures used in cosmetic dentistry and what they can do for the patients who need them. Some of them are fairly simple and easy to implement, others are more complex and may require surgery or more detailed care.
- Inlays and Onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are used when the tooth is too damaged or decayed to support a filling. If the dental cusp is relatively intact, an inlay may be used while if the cusp or a majority of the tooth’s surface is damaged, an onlay is applied. In either event, the indirect fillings are made of a composite resin material and attached to the tooth to provide strength, restore normal appearance, and prevent further damage or decay.
- Composite bonding makes use of bonding material to repair decayed, damaged, or discolored teeth by replacing the damaged portion of the tooth. Generally, when composite bonding is used, the dentist shapes the damaged tooth by drilling out damaged material and applying and shaping the bonding material to restore the tooth to its original shape. The composite material is then dried and set using a special light. Composite bonding gives a tooth a natural appearance and much of its original function.
- Dental veneers are also used to give teeth a healthy appearance by correcting crooked teeth, repairing cracked or damaged teeth, repairing gaps between teeth, or just fixing discoloration. A thin veneer made of ceramic, applied, and bonded to the front of the tooth with a dental adhesive, correcting appearance as needed.
- Teeth whitening is perhaps the most common cosmetic dental procedure and can be performed by most dentist offices. After a dental cleaning to remove tartar, plaque, and debris, teeth are bleached to improve their color and brighten their appearance. Teeth whitening is generally a simple and safe procedure with minimal time required and little patient discomfort.
- Dental implants are one of the most involved cosmetic dental procedures, in which a lost or missing natural tooth is replaced with an artificial implant. Typically, a small titanium mount is inserted into the jaw bone. Once that has healed into place, an artificial crown is attached to it which then functions as a natural tooth would. While more involved and more expensive than many other cosmetic dental procedures, dental implants restore the look and function of natural teeth and may last a lifetime with proper care.
The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
Despite what its name might suggest, cosmetic dentistry is not necessarily about vanity. Many cosmetic dental procedures are designed to restore and protect damaged teeth, improving a patient’s oral health in addition to their appearance. Likewise, it’s important to remember healthy and attractive teeth contribute to a patient’s overall health, self-confidence, and ability to enjoy life. Your smile is your greeting to the world and should last for a lifetime.
Hampstead Dental offers a range of cosmetic dental procedures, in addition to routine dental care. Regardless of your oral health needs, we’re here to help. Get in touch today and we’ll make an appointment as soon as possible.