Dental Cosmetics – All You Need To Know About It
The term itself:
Cosmetic dentistry is concerned with the appearance of teeth and the enhancement of a person’s smile. In this field, the emphasis is on the art of dentistry, not just the science. On the surface, creating white teeth, or even whole new teeth in general, may not appear to be that complicated. Yet cosmetic dentistry requires a good eye, a thorough understanding of dental anatomy, and a mastery of dental materials. Beyond that, the dentist must be able to communicate his or her vision to a laboratory technician — a key player in the realization of any smile makeover.
Cosmetic versus Restorative Dentistry
While there is some overlap between the two fields (both may utilize implants and crowns, for example), the focus is different, as is the level of expertise. The cosmetic dentist goes beyond restoring an individual’s teeth to their proper function, seeking to attain the most ideal result according to the patient’s definition of beauty. This involves a high level of finesse with even the smallest details, such as how much tooth should be displayed in a particular smile.
What to Expect
You can expect your dentist to ask you to describe in detail what you like and dislike about your smile, and what you want to change. Bringing photos of how you have looked in the past or would like to look in the future are helpful to serve as general guidelines. Because aesthetic problems such as missing or discolored teeth can also point to underlying health issues, a comprehensive oral exam is a must. Once your dentist has a thorough understanding of where you are starting from and where you want to end up, he or she can explain your treatment options (including how much they will cost and how long they will take to implement) and plan a course of action.
Treatments Considered Cosmetic
Cosmetic dentistry treatments include:
- Teeth Whitening — An inexpensive way to brighten your smile, whitening teeth can be accomplished at home or in the dentist’s chair. There are many products and methods from which to choose.
- Composite Bonding — The tooth-colored composite resin attached to the teeth can improve the appearance and strength of chipped teeth. These procedures require very little preparation (drilling) of the tooth. Dental Implants — Usually made of titanium, an implant is used to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. The implant is fitted with a crown to create a natural-looking replacement for the entire tooth.
- Inlays & on lays — In certain cases, fillings can be fabricated from porcelain or composite materials in a dental laboratory to more closely match the color of a tooth. When applied to the inside of the tooth, they are referred to as “inlays.” Attached to the biting surface, they are known as “inlays.”
- Cosmetic Gum Surgery — Minor surgery can reshape gum tissue to give it a more leveled appearance.
- Tooth Contouring & Reshaping — Cosmetic dentists can use a drill or laser to smooth out or reshape teeth.
- Porcelain & Composite Veneers — Designed to substitute for tooth enamel, veneers are hard, thin shells of tooth-colored material that can mask a variety of dental imperfections.
Learn about your Cosmetic Dentist
Members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry are offered education and training on the latest procedures, techniques, and products through AACD publications, lectures, and workshops. AACD member professionals stay one step ahead of their peers by keeping informed on trends and learning how the latest products and technology benefit the patient. They also support not only responsible aesthetics but also systemic oral health. By selecting an AACD member dentist, you know your dental professional cares enough to stay in the forefront of the cosmetic dentistry field, so you receive the most up-to-date and best care available. With a professionally trained and experienced eye, your dentist will actually see more dental possibilities than you do.