Yara Zakharia, Esq.
According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 90% of Americans view a smile as a valuable social asset. For the vast majority of those surveyed, a smile's attractiveness or lack thereof influences an individual's appeal and his or her success in the workplace. Surprisingly, only half of U.S. adults are content with their smile. The field of cosmetic dentistry focuses on correcting structural and cosmetic flaws in a patient's teeth and enhancing the appearance of his or her smile.
Breakthroughs in cosmetic dentistry have made it possible to fix all types of imperfections, ranging from chipped, stained, discolored, protruding, or decayed teeth to missing, cracked, unevenly-spaced, or gap teeth. With the help of aesthetic dentistry procedures, which have grown in popularity over the years, men and women can now reclaim a radiant, natural-looking, straight, uniform, healthy-looking smile with lustrous, pearly whites.
Prospective patients will find an array of treatment options in cosmetic dentistry, including the following:
A number of factors, such as smoking, aging, and regular tea or coffee consumption, contribute to the discoloration of teeth. To add radiance to the pigmentation of their teeth and eliminate tooth stains, consumers may opt for the safe and proven technique of teeth whitening performed by a dental professional. Substances in the enamel are dissolved with a peroxide-based agent. The procedure can only be performed on patients with a sufficient layer of enamel.
The most popular and effective method of teeth whitening involves the utilization of laser, which provides maximum power and speed during the application of a bleaching agent to a patient's teeth. After only one session, teeth look significantly whiter. Complications are rare and usually not serious in nature. By scheduling regular cleanings at their dentist, patients will ensure that the transforming results of their teeth whitening procedure lasts a long time. Learn more about teeth whitening products and procedures.
These small wafers, which are bonded to a person's teeth, can change the configuration, alignment, spacing, size, color, and/or shape of the teeth in a dramatic fashion. Pain-free and quick to attach, porcelain veneers are translucent and strikingly resemble tooth enamel. Dental veneers are also excellent substitutes for orthodontic treatment, as they can repair crooked, chipped, and stained teeth and consequently enhance a patient's appearance. They are also convenient since generally two visits will suffice for application of the laminate. Furthermore, they survive the test of time, as they resist discoloration for a long period of time. Learn more about dental veneers.
Also known as composite or dental bonding, this cosmetic dentistry technique involves the application of a resin with a similar color than the tooth to the latter's surface. Tooth bonding, which is generally reserved for more minor defects in one or a few teeth, aims at achieving a new shape or color for the target tooth or at repairing it. The composite is molded, hardened, and polished so that it blends with the surrounding teeth.
Tooth bonding is ideal for mildly-decayed, discolored, or chipped teeth. It can also be used to dissimulate spots, fill in small cavities, and rectify tooth gaps and misaligned teeth. Generally, one visit to the office of an orthodontist is all that is needed to complete a tooth bonding. Some of the advantages include 1) long-lasting results, 2) absence of pain, 3) affordability, and 4) speed.
Individuals in search of substitutes for missing teeth need look no further than dental implants which function and feel like their original teeth. Dental implants, which are made of titanium, are set into the patient's jaw and covered with replacement teeth. The average cost of a dental implant ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 and generally hinges upon how many missing teeth the patient has and the area in which the procedure is performed.
Also referred to as white fillings, these fillings made of resin are used to fill a new cavity. Many individuals with silver or amalgam fillings are replacing them with tooth-colored fillings which are mercury-free. White fillings match the color of the natural teeth and are nearly undetectable. They also reinstate the tooth's original strength and are a cheaper alternative to fixing broken teeth.
Intended for replacing missing teeth and filling the resulting gap, dental bridges are composed of two dental crowns and a false tooth. They also serve as a support to the teeth that are opposite and those jutting the missing teeth. To maintain their dental bridge in a good condition, patients should obtain a dental exam a regular basis.
A crown, which is set over a tooth, is an optimal solution for severely damaged teeth and an effective concealer of flaws such as misalignment, chips, and stains. Crowns, which are generally made of ceramic, metal or porcelain, reinforce the teeth and eliminate pain. Another advantage to choosing a dental crown is that only a small portion of the tooth structure is eliminated. Dental crowns must usually be replaced every 10 or 15 years.
Dental Inlays and Onlays
These correct back teeth showing signs of damage (i.e. fracture or crack) or decay in their indented areas and are often utilized as substitutes for damaged or old fillings. Porcelain inlays usually last for a period of up to 30 years. Some of the benefits associated with dental inlays and onlays are that they strengthen teeth, are durable, are practically invisible, require a lesser diminution of the tooth surface, and treat dental decay.
[page updated December 2008]