Cosmetic Dental Procedures & Treatments
Advances in modern cosmetic dentistry have made available a wide variety of cosmetic dental procedures & treatment options for people who are unhappy with their smile.
The cosmetic dentist will recommend you the cosmetic treatment or combination of treatments that will give you a better smile.
The different types of cosmetic dentistry procedures are described in this article.
Tooth whitening – Bleaching
Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental treatment because it can significantly improve the appearance of teeth
at much less cost than other techniques.
Stained or discolored teeth are caused by many different reasons.
Regular tooth brushing can only remove some of the extrinsic stains from the outer surface of the tooth enamel.
Only ‘teeth bleaching’ can actually whiten teeth removing deep intrinsic stains and lightening their color.
The procedure can be done in the dental office or at home.
(For more info on tooth bleaching refer to our section on teeth whitening)
Tooth bonding can provide cosmetic dental treatment for a variety of dental aesthetic problems such as chipped, gapped, discolored or oddly shaped teeth.
Bonding consists in the application of a tooth-colored dental composite resin (plastic) material that looks like the natural enamel
to the surface of the tooth, where it is sculpted into shape and contoured.
The material is hardened and bonded on the enamel with a special high-intensity blue light and finally it is polished,
making the crack or chip invisible.
Sometimes, bonding also is used to make teeth look longer, to change their shape,
or to cover a part of the tooth's root that has been exposed due to gums recession.
(For more on bonding refer to our section on Dental Bonding)
Veneers offer the most revolutionary (but also the most expensive) advancement in aesthetic dentistry.
Porcelain veneers are made of a thin layer of porcelain only around half a millimetre thick
which is glued to the front of the tooth to restore its natural appearance.
They are custom made by the same material used to make tooth-colored crowns or caps, which once cemented to the tooth, looks like natural tooth structure.
Porcelain veneers have become a popular cosmetic dental treatment because they can be used to easily improve a wide variety of cosmetic dental problems.
They can repair chips and cracks, whiten stained or discolored teeth, close gaps between teeth,
and they can even correct slightly crooked or misaligned teeth without the need for braces.
While porcelain veneers offer excellent aesthetic results, they require adequate remaining tooth structure for their support.
(For more on veneers, refer to our section on Dental Veneers)
Orthodontics are not just for kids.
More and more adults are seeking treatment from orthodontists in order to improve their smile, especially after the introduction of clear brackets.
Orthodontists can address problems such as overcrowded, overlapping, crooked or severely gapped teeth that affect the patient’s appearance.
Moving teeth to their proper position is done with the use of special corrective appliances called braces.
The procedure is very time consuming and may last for several years.
For this reason orthodontic treatment is recommended as a cosmetic dental treatment for adults mainly in cases of severe misalignment problems or gaps
that can not be corrected with other cosmetic treatments such as bonding or veneers.
(For more on orthodontic treatments, refer to our section on Orthodontics)
Tooth shaping is an effective way to correct minor flaws, such as slightly uneven, crowded, overlapping or crooked teeth.
It can also be used to round off pointed teeth or shorten long teeth, so that they follow the contour of the lower lip,
restoring the symmetry of the mouth.
The fact that the method may involve removing a small amount of enamel sets some limitations on using tooth recontouring,
as it can not be used if the enamel layer is too thin.
Also known as crown lengthening, gum contouring or gum lift.
It is a surgical cosmetic dental procedure that modifies the shape of the gums by cutting away excessive gum tissue.
Gingivoplasty is recommended when the gums cover a large part of the tooth crown resulting in teeth that look shorter or smaller (gummy smile).
Dental implants are artificial tooth root replacements that are used for replacing missing teeth.
A small titanium screw is surgically fixed into the jawbone and then a crown, bridge or denture can be fitted on it.
In time, the screw becomes fused with the bone of the jaw. Dental implants are permanent providing a much more convenient
and naturally looking replacement of missing teeth compared to bridges or dentures.
Previous generations of dental fillings that dentists used to treat tooth decay were composed by gold,
amalgam and other materials that were very obvious when you smiled.
Today, you can select fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that match the natural color of your teeth.
One of the most common and simple cosmetic dental procedures is to replace the old gold or dark amalgam fillings with new tooth-colored ones,
to restore the natural appearance of the teeth and smile.
However, especially in case of extensive and deep fillings there is increased risk of structural or nerve damage.
Discoloured enamel can be gently ground away using an abrasive, acid-based paste.
Such treatment can impact on the strength of the teeth, so it should only be conducted by a qualified dental professional.
Crowns, also referred as caps, are dental restorations more suitable for natural teeth that have sustained significant loss of structure,
or for dental implants used to replace missing teeth.
They have a metal body custom made to fit over the whole tooth that can withstand the biting pressure,
covered by a thin layer of tooth-coloured porcelain to match the look of existing teeth.
With a minor loss of cosmetic result crowns can offer greater strength and durability than veneers.
Each individual has different cosmetic problems that can be treated with various combinations of different cosmetic dental treatments.
If you want to improve your smile’s appearance you should first visit an experienced cosmetic dentist for consultation.
Cosmetic dentists have the expertise to analyze your cosmetic needs, and propose a complete plan of cosmetic dental treatments
that will best fit to both your expectations and finances.