The secret of cosmetic dentistry is that it is almost never simply cosmetic. Beautifully aligned teeth don’t just improve a person’s smile, but help them to speak and eat better. Missing teeth can actually weaken the bone in the jaw and cause the remaining teeth to go out of alignment. Here are some types of cosmetic dentistry we practice:
Our dentists use dental implants to correct teeth that are cracked, broken, crooked, diseased or missing. The procedure has several steps and usually takes a few months to complete.
First, the patient has a consultation with our dentist, who X-rays the patient’s mouth and the area to be treated. The damaged tooth is removed and replaced by a post that’s made of titanium, a metal that is known for being biocompatible and corrosion-resistant. The dentist covers the post with the patient’s gum tissue, and both the dentist and patients need to wait until the post fuses with the bone in the jaw. This can take a few months, and sometimes the doctor gives the patient a temporary crown.
During the time the post fuses with the jawbone, the crown for the implant is made in a dental laboratory. These crowns can be made of porcelain, porcelain over metal, metal or composite resin. Some porcelain crowns match the patient’s natural teeth so precisely that it is difficult for an observer to know that the crown is not real.
When the post and jawbone are fused, the patient comes back to our office. The dentist opens the gum over the post and inserts an abutment. After the area heals, the crown is installed.
A dental implant can be done with one tooth or more than one tooth at a time.
Veneers are also created for people whose teeth are discolored, damaged or gapped. As with a dental implant, our dentist has a consultation with the patient and X-rays their mouth.
During the procedure, the dentist uses a burr to take away a very thin layer of enamel from the tooth that will take the veneer and creates a mold of it. The mold is sent to a dental lab, and the veneer is ready from one week to one month later. In the meantime, the patient wears a temporary veneer.
When the veneer is ready, the patient returns to the dentist’s office. The dentist checks and adjusts the veneer abrade the tooth then attaches the veneer to it with dental cement. They use a blue light to cure it. The dentist removes excess cement and makes tiny adjustments to the veneer until it fits perfectly.
Teeth whitening is the only cosmetic procedure that can be said to be truly cosmetic, for the color of otherwise healthy teeth does not affect their functioning. Indeed, the color of a person’s teeth largely depends on their genetics. Some people whiten or bleach their teeth themselves, but there are risks to this. Having the dentist whiten their teeth is safer and gets their teeth whiter.
Before the procedure, the dentist evaluates the color of the patient’s teeth. Then, they’ll polish it with pumice to remove plaque and give the patient retractors to make sure the soft tissue of their mouth is protected from the bleach. The dentist also places a barrier over the gums before they paint on the bleach. The bleach is then cured with a special light and left on for about a half an hour to an hour before it’s rinsed off. The patient may need to return to the office once more to achieve the shade of white they want.