Taking care of your teeth often isn’t just about keeping plaque away. There’s a specific type of dental practice called cosmetic dentistry, which works to make your smile look like you feel inside.
What Separates Cosmetic Dentistry From Normal Dentistry?
Your smile is part of how you communicate to the world. It’s a small miracle of the world: smiling more often improves your confidence, relieves stress, and can even boost your immune system.
In fact, smiling can add seven years to your life!
Cosmetic dentistry, as a practice, recognizes that the health, oral or in general, of the patient is part of their smile’s beauty. Therefore any sound cosmetic dentist, first and foremost, looks out for the strength and healthy functioning of your teeth.
But what else do they do? Cosmetic dentists train in a number of techniques not available in dental school general education.
The Techniques of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is known mostly for veneers, but there are many techniques that can be used to improve the aesthetics of your teeth. These include: bleaching, bonding, crowns, veneers, and teeth contouring and reshaping.
Bleaching is a chemical process to undo discoloring in the enamel. The process can be done at home, but any patient should go to their dentist for a custom mouthpiece to facilitate the bleaching process.
Bonding, meanwhile, is using material the same color as the teeth to fill in gaps. This is used for chipped or decayed teeth. Bonding can also be used to change a tooth’s shape by covering its entire outside surface.
Crowns are a porcelain replacement for the exterior portion of a tooth. They’re the most thorough of these procedures, functionally replacing a tooth that has had its external structure compromised. But they are also the most expensive.
Veneers are very similar to crowns, though not as extensive. They can be used for chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. An impression is made of the patient’s tooth, and a custom-made veneer is placed onto the tooth using cement. Then a light beam is used to harden the cement.
Contouring or reshaping also fixes crooked or chipped teeth. The shape of the tooth is altered by the dentist- this can also help with bite problems. Typically, contouring and bonding are two techniques used in conjunction with each other.
How Do I Know What Procedure I Need?
With so many procedures, you might not know which is correct for you. It all depends on what’s best for your oral health and what aesthetics you want to achieve.
For example, contouring and reshaping is a procedure best for individuals who already have a healthy set of teeth. Still, there are those with completely healthy teeth who decide they want to change some aspects of their smile.
When choosing between crowns and veneers, patients would typically decide based on the severity of the issue. While veneers are largely aesthetic in nature, crowns will replace the entire structure of the tooth. But because they are so expensive, they are closer to a last resort option.
Veneers and bonding solve many of the same problems, although bonding is also used specifically as a tooth-colored filling for cavities. The drawback to bonding is that it can chip more easily than other techniques of tooth restoration, as well as lose its color. Veneers, meanwhile, will tend to last longer and resist discoloration.
Always remember that there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ smile. Every individual has their own uniqueness to their smile, and responsible cosmetic dentistry augments each individual’s uniqueness rather than erases it.
Therefore, in choosing a procedure, you should talk to your dentist and have an in-depth discussion about what options are correct for you. If you want to know more call Natural Horizons Wellness Centers in Virginia for expert advice and a consultation.