Humans are known to be obsessed with perfection. This explains why a lot of people, especially celebrities, don’t waste time in fixing ‘flaws’ in their natural appearance. If they can improve upon it, they will always find a way to do just that.
Cosmetic dentistry is one of the many ways of improving upon a person’s appearance. As the name suggests, it refers to making positive changes to a person’s teeth to achieve a more attractive look.
However, it’s important to note that cosmetic dentistry has evolved so much over the years. Initially, the term was only used in reference to replacing and fixing teeth. This meant that a tooth had to have an issue (chip, breakage, etc) before cosmetic dentistry was considered.
This is no longer the case. Today, the practice includes a vast array of procedures, some usually carried out on perfectly normal teeth. In fact, today’s cosmetic dentistry extends beyond teeth to other areas of the face such as lips and the chin in a bid to improve the patient’s smile.
If used alongside other cosmetic procedures such as facial and eyebrow lift, this type of dentistry can leave the patient looking not only younger but also more attractive.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
We’ll round up seven of the most common cosmetic dental procedures, highlighting the benefits and applications of each.
Arguably the most common cosmetic dental procedure, teeth whitening is a quick way to give stained teeth a white, shiny appearance. This is because a wide variety of whitening agents are available over the counter, giving men and women with not-so-appealing teeth an opportunity to easily breathe new life into their teeth and improve their smiles.
But be careful not to confuse whitening with bleaching. While both refer to restoring the whiteness of a tooth, bleaching is only used where a product containing a bleaching agent is used. Whitening can be done even without bleaching agents.
Aside from lightly stained teeth, whitening can also be used to remove debris found between the teeth. For a prolonged effect, ongoing maintenance and ‘touch up’ is recommended.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are dental restorations which are only used by a handful of dentists. Also known as indirect fillings, the two offer a well-fitting, stronger, longer lasting solution to decayed teeth or teeth with similar damage.
They’re commonly used in place of traditional dental fillings to treat tooth decay. The difference is that whereas dental fillings are moulded into place within the mouth, inlays and onlays are fabricated in a dental lab before being bonded to the damaged area of the tooth.
The superior fit, compared to traditional fillings, preserves as much healthy tooth as possible. This makes inlays and Onlays a great option for securing and protecting weak teeth.
Composite bonding (direct and indirect)
The term ‘bonding’ in dentistry is used to describe the process of permanently attaching certain materials to the teeth using dental adhesives and a high-intensity curing light.
There are two broad categories of dental bonding; direct composite bonding and indirect (adhesive) composite bonding.
Direct composite bonding is the use of white or natural-looking materials found in the dentist’s office to fill cavities, repair chips, and close the gaps between the teeth. Adhesive bonding, meanwhile, refers to the use of an adhesive and a bonding agent to attach a restoration such as a veneer or crown to a tooth.
Dental veneers are a form of cosmetic dentistry in which a thin layer of tooth-coloured porcelain or composite is laid over the front part of the tooth to improve the appearance of the tooth. The front portion of the tooth may or may not be trimmed in preparation for the layering of the veneer.
Although the procedure falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry because it makes teeth appear whiter and more appealing, veneers also protect the surface of damaged teeth and may eliminate the need for additional dental treatments.
There are several advantages of the procedure over other cosmetic dental options such as whitening. For instance, veneers promise a more permanent whiteness that may not be achieved with whitening or bleaching.
Implants are artificial tooth roots used to support a restoration for a missing tooth or teeth. A person who has lost a tooth or teeth might feel too self-conscious to smile or talk. Biting can also become a problem, leading to selective eating and possibly health problems such as malnutrition.
Replacing the missing tooth/teeth with dental implants provides these people with the strength and stability required to eat any type of food. Additionally, it also gives them the confidence to speak and laugh in gatherings.
Implants are commonly used in people who’ve lost teeth through decay, root canal failure, gum disease, excessive wear and tear, and congenital defects among others.
A smile makeover is just that – an attempt to improve a person’s smile. Typically, it involves more than one cosmetic dental procedure, often combining teeth whitening, dental veneers, composite bonding, and tooth implants.
The patient will tell the dentist what it is about their smile they want to be improved. This could be tooth colour, alignment and spacing, missing tooth/teeth, harmony and balance, or even the lips or cheeks. With that information, the dentist can then identify treatments that are likely to fix that problem.
Since smile makeovers are more involving than other cosmetic dental procedures, a lot of factors are usually considered to determine the best solution for each case. These including the facial appearance, skin tone, hair colour, gum tissue, and lips of the patient.
Full mouth reconstruction
Finally, a full mouth reconstruction is almost similar to a smile makeover, the main difference being that reconstruction is something you need while a smile makeover is something you choose to have.
Also known as full mouth restoration or full mouth rehabilitation, the procedure involves rebuilding or simultaneously restoring all the teeth in both the lower and upper jaws. In some cases, aside from the dentist working on the teeth, other specialists such as a periodontist (gums) and the oral surgeon might be involved.
The procedure is most common where teeth have been lost due to decay or trauma or after an accident or injury. The reason it’s listed under cosmetic dentistry is that at some point, veneers, crowns, and implants might be needed to fully restore the mouth.
As you can see, each cosmetic dental procedure is only useful under certain conditions. Before you make a decision, discuss with your dentist to ensure you’re getting the right procedure & the final cosmetic dentistry procedure is undertaken. You can always consult with your Local Dentist for more details.
Source: Courtesy of SD