Traditional dentistry is about teaching patients proper oral care and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases. However, another branch of dentistry focuses on enhancing the appearance of your mouth and teeth: cosmetic dentistry.
In addition to this, cosmetic dentistry provides an array of solutions (e.g. restorative treatments) to better teeth function. If you are dealing with discoloured, worn, broken, chipped, misshapen, misaligned, or gapped teeth, modern cosmetic dentistry can correct, restore, and improve your smile while enhancing your overall oral health.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Also called aesthetic dentistry, cosmetic dentistry pertains to dental procedures carried out to give you stronger teeth and a better smile. While some individuals are born with misaligned or crooked teeth, other factors can necessitate cosmetic procedures. Teeth can be damaged from grinding, tongue piercings, pacifier use (for children), or simply eating hard foods.
Cosmetic dentistry is any procedure that repairs:
- Teeth position
- Teeth colour
- Size and shape of teeth
- Jaw alignment
- Overall appearance of your smile
While these procedures are typically safe, some treatments can damage teeth. To avoid lasting adverse effects, it’s crucial to discuss your options with your dentist. Make sure to get a clear understanding about what your chosen procedure involves before going through it.
Common Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
From slight changes to major repair works, your cosmetic dentist can perform different procedures including:
This is a popular cosmetic procedure performed to make teeth stains disappear and making teeth a few shades whiter. Discolouration in the enamel is caused by various activities including drinking coffee and tea, taking specific medications, and smoking.
Bleaching is usually done in the clinic where it starts with your dentist deciding on the appropriate amount of whitening solution to apply to your teeth. Teeth whitening may require one or more sessions lasting for 45 minutes to an hour each.
This procedure involves the application of tooth-coloured material called bonding to fill small cavities, close gaps between teeth, and cover the tooth surface to change its colour and shape. Composite resins are bonded to the teeth when they are chipped or decayed. Bonding lasts for years, but it is prone to chipping or staining and should be redone.
Veneers are thin pieces of plastic or porcelain that are fitted over the front teeth to alter its colour or shape. Similar to bonding, veneers are commonly used to improve the appearance of discoloured, chipped, oddly-shaped, spaced, or crooked teeth. Veneers can be used to repair chipping due to factors like tongue piercings, which damage teeth when they constantly bite into the jewelry.
The dentist takes an impression of your tooth before making a customized veneer. Then the veneer is cemented onto the tooth and a light beam is applied to harden it. Porcelain veneers may require several visits since they are custom-made in a laboratory. Compared to bonding, veneers last longer and have better colour stability. Veneers are also effective alternatives to crowns.
Also called caps, crowns are used to cover misshapen teeth so they take on regular shape, size, appearance, and strength. Crowns are the top dental cosmetic procedure of choice for restoring a broken tooth, protecting a weak or decayed tooth, keeping a dental bridge in place, and covering misshapen or discoloured teeth.
When fitted into place, crowns encase the entire visible part of the teeth. Crowns have the longest life expectancy among all cosmetic restorations. However, it can take some time to make and install, which typically requires at least 2 visits to the dentist.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are restorations made from porcelain, gold, or composite materials designed to treat damaged areas of teeth. Inlays are used inside the cusp or center of the tooth, while onlays are used in cases where one or more areas of the tooth need to be covered. Onlays are a great restorative option for when the tooth damage extends over more of the cusps but not enough to require a crown. Both of these options are excellent solutions for addressing teeth damage from grinding and cavities.
It can take 2 appointments to complete an inlay and onlay procedure. The first visit involves the replacement of existing filling or the removal of a damaged/decayed part of the tooth in preparation for the inlay or onlay. To give you the proper fit and bite, the dentist will take an impression of your tooth and this is sent to the lab for fabrication. A temporary tooth restoration is then applied. During the second appointment, the temporary restoration is removed and the inlay or onlay is bonded to the tooth.
These are metal frames or posts that are positioned into the jawbone underneath the gums through surgery. After placement, the dentist mounts the tooth replacement onto them. Implants are fused to the jawbone to provide a strong support for an artificial tooth.
Implants also prevent bridges and dentures attached to them from slipping or shifting inside your mouth when you eat and speak. To be a candidate for implants, you need healthy gums and adequate bone structure that ensures stable support for the implant. Proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are crucial in keeping dental implants healthy and to achieve the success of the implants.
How to Choose the Right Procedure
Consult your dentist as they can answer any queries you may have about the type of procedures to better your smile. The condition of your teeth and the results you want to achieve often define the procedure that’s best for you.
If you’re thinking of undergoing treatment, there are a few things you should ask your dentist before deciding on the procedure:
- What changes will it make?
- What will these changes look like?
- What can I expect during and after the course of the treatment?
- What type/s of maintenance will be needed?
Things to Look for in a Cosmetic Dentist
To make sure the dentist you’re considering has the skills and expertise in cosmetic dentistry, do your due diligence and ask for the following:
- Before and after photos of successful procedures – These photos will give you an idea of the results of previous patients treated by the dentist. Examine the results and ensure the dentist can cater to your dental needs.
- References – Looking into references helps you have a sense of the quality of service and care the dentist brings to the table.
- Continuing education – Ensure that your dentist is pursuing continuing education to keep them abreast of the latest advancements and techniques in cosmetic dentistry.
If you desire to get a healthier and more beautiful smile, call Simcoe Smile Dental. We provide affordable and quality cosmetic dental procedures in the Oshawa and Courtice area. In addition to the latest technology and unparalleled expertise, we make every effort to make our patients feel comfortable and well cared for in our clinic.