Almost all dental procedures should be thought of as cosmetic – they are all done in an effort to improve the health and appearance of teeth. Prosthodontics is the only dental specialty under which the concentration of cosmetic or esthetic dentistry falls. Dr. Smith is an expert in smile analysis and can suggest ways to improve the looks of your gums and teeth. Depending on your goals, cosmetic dentistry may range from simple teeth whitening, to bonding, to porcelain veneers, to full mouth restoration.
Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain used to modify the shape and color of teeth. It is the restoration of choice for those looking to make slight position alterations, or to change tooth shape, size, and/or color. A small amount of the original tooth enamel must be removed, usually less than a millimeter. This makes room for the veneer without creating a bulky looking tooth.
Veneers are bonded onto the enamel. The cement bonds best with enamel, so if too much of the tooth has already been filled, a different restoration may be better for you. For a beautiful outcome, choose a prosthodontist, the only dental specialty that includes cosmetic restorations.
Bonding is a process where materials are attached or “bonded” directly to the tooth structure. Veneers, tooth-colored restorations, and crowns can all be bonded to tooth structure using an adhesive resin technique. Unlike metal restorations, bonding can strengthen teeth as well as provide a better appearance. Tooth-colored restorative material can also be directly bonded to teeth as a solution for chipped teeth, or as an alternative to veneers for minor esthetic changes.
Most natural teeth can be whitened and there are a number of ways to lighten teeth. Tooth whitening is sometimes referred to as bleaching, even though the gel used does not contain bleach. In-office whitening uses a high concentration of whitening gel over about an hour to rapidly whiten teeth. Take home kits use a lower concentration of gel over several applications to whiten teeth. Both options are stronger than over-the-counter whitening methods and do not harm tooth structure. Temporary tooth sensitivity can occur and it is recommended that you avoid staining foods and beverages to maintain the results. Touch-ups and re-bleaching are easy and safe.
While some people’s teeth will whiten more readily than others, almost all natural teeth will lighten with whitening treatment. Crowns and other restorations will not change shade.
ZOOM! Whitening uses a patented light activated gel. With a ZOOM! Whitening package, you receive an in-office session and take home trays for rapid results as well as the materials to maintain those results at home.
Even small changes can make a drastic difference in the appearance of your teeth. Changing the shape, closing gaps in the teeth, or replacing a discolored restoration could be all that is necessary to give you more confidence in your smile. We can suggest treatments that will help you achieve your goals.
Enamel shaping, or enameloplasty, can correct uneven edges of the front teeth or round off sharp pointed tips of teeth and make the smile more proportioned and even. It is limited to the outer tooth layer and often does not require anesthesia to complete. This may also be done in some situations to correct a person’s bite.
Many patients are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth and want a “smile makeover.” What patients are usually seeking is a satisfying and esthetic enhancement of their smile that also retains a natural healthy appearance. What is necessary to achieve this varies greatly, from whitening procedures to veneers, tooth reshaping, crowns, or implants.
A prosthodontist has completed years of advanced training in the restoration of teeth to their natural form, color and function, and the ADA recognizes prosthodontists as specialists in this field, including smile makeovers. Dr. Smith will discuss what your options are to create a beautiful, youthful smile.
There are many types of lasers used in medicine. The dental laser is a machine that focuses a beam of energy down a hollow tube to a tip that can be used on the gum surface. Lasers are an easy way to trim gum tissue, decrease bleeding and healing time, and kill bacteria in our working area.
Lasers used on gum tissues are relatively low power and very safe. You will be asked to wear special protective glasses when the laser is in use.