It is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite. It primarily focuses on improving dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance. Today, cosmetic dentistry is more popular than ever, from whitening and shaping to closing spaces and replacing teeth. And dentists have a wide array of tools and techniques at their disposal for improving the look of your smile.
Cosmetic dentistry involves:
- The addition of a dental material to teeth or gums – examples: bonding, porcelain veneers (laminates), crowns (caps), gum grafts
- The removal of tooth structure or gums – examples: enameloplasty, gingivectomy
- Neither adding nor removing dental materials, tooth structure, or gums – examples: teeth whitening (bleaching), laser whitening, gum depigmentation
- Straightening of teeth accompanied by improvement in appearance of face – orthodontics
In simpler words, cosmetic dental procedures include:
- Bleaching to make teeth whiter
- Repairing chips or rough spots with fillings that match your teeth
- Filling cavities with tooth-colored materials
- Reshaping teeth that don’t match the others
- Closing gaps between teeth
- Covering broken teeth with porcelain crowns
A thin slice of porcelain or plastic fabricated in a dental lab, which is cemented to the front of the teeth to covergaps, whiten stained teeth, or reshape chipped or broken teeth. Laminates, or veneers, are generally natural in appearance and are long-lasting.
Laminate veneer: A thin covering of the facial surface of a tooth usually constructed of tooth colored material used to restore discolored, damaged, misshapen or misaligned teeth.
- Laminate veneer restoration: a conservative aesthetic restoration of anterior teeth to mask discoloration, restores malformed teeth, closediastemas, and corrects minor tooth alignment. The materials of choice are acrylic veneers, processed composite resin veneers, and/or porcelain veneers that are bonded directly to a properly prepared tooth.
Veener – A veneer is a layer of material placed over a tooth, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth or to protect the tooth’s surface from damage. There are two main types of material used to fabricate a veneer:composite and dental porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental lab, and later bonded to the tooth. In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated. Full veneer crown is described as “A restoration that covers all the coronal tooth surfaces (Mesial, Distal, Facial, Lingual and Occlusal)”. Laminate veneer, on the other hand, is a thin layer that covers only the surface of the tooth and generally used for aesthetic purpose.
Veneers are an important tool for the cosmetic dentist. A dentist may use one veneer to restore a single tooth that may have been fractured or discolored, or multiple teeth to create a “Hollywood” type of makeover. Many people have small teeth resulting in spaces that may not be easily closed by orthodontics. Some people have worn away the edges of their teeth resulting in a prematurely aged appearance, while others may have malpositioned tooth/ teeth that appear crooked. Multiple veneers can close these spaces, lengthen teeth that have been shortened by wear, fill the black triangles between teeth caused by gum recession, provide a uniform color, shape, and symmetry, and make the teeth appear straight. Dentists also recommend using thin porcelain veneers to strengthen worn teeth. It is also applied to yellow teeth that won’t whiten. Thin veneers are an effective option for aging patients with worn teeth.
Alternatives: In the past, the only way to correct dental imperfections was to cover the tooth with a crown. Today, in most cases, there are several possibilities from which to pick: crown, composite resin bonding, cosmetic contouring or orthodontics.
Teeth Whitening: Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. Most dentists perform tooth whitening.
Whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter color.
What It’s Used For?
The outer layer of a tooth is called the enamel. The color of natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the color of the dentin under it. Your genes affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. Thinner enamel allows more of the color of the dentin to show through. Having smoother or rougher enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the color.
Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) forms on the enamel and picks up stains. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains.
The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are:
- Using tobacco
- Drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
- Not taking good care of your teeth
Aging makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.
It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains. For example, intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing. Other causes include tetracycline antibiotics. They can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child who is 8 years old or younger. Teeth are still developing during these years. Trauma may also darken a tooth.
Tooth whitening is most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.
Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discolored. Whitening products will not make them whiter.
If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.
How It’s Done?
- In office whitening- Roughly 45 mins procedure where a gingival berrier is placed to separate teeth margings from soft tissue gums and whitening agent is placed on the surface of the teeth.
- Home whitening- Custom made trays are given to the patient and directions are given about the quantity and the are where the whitening gel is to be dispensed and worn over night incase of no allergy.
- Lazer Teeth whitening- This whitening system gets activated using a lazer beam and is mostly the safest of all giving almost no post procedure sensitivity.
- Cosmetic Crowns: These are a popular form of treatment for broken or damaged teeth. Commonly known as ‘caps’: they are a type of replacement tooth which fits over a damaged tooth and presents a uniform appearance. They improve the appearance of this damaged tooth which ensures that it fits in with the rest of your teeth. It is difficult to tell if someone is wearing a crown.
What is a Crown?
Another name for this is a ‘restoration’: it is a synthetic type of tooth which is produced from a range of materials and has a similar shape and color to a natural tooth.
Crowns are often made from porcelain, ceramic or even gold. Sometimes they are a combination of several materials. These are the end result of a fusion between several metals and a porcelain casing.
There are two types of crowns:
- All ceramic crowns
- Metal ceramic crowns
Porcelain and ceramic crowns are considered superior to the others which are due to the quality of the materials used. Plus they have a natural looking appearance and fit in well with your existing teeth.
Advantages of Cosmetic Crowns
- Repair a damaged or broken tooth as a result of an accident or injury.
- Hides the results of bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Strengthens the tooth after root canal surgery
- Extra protection for the tooth after a large filling
- Prevents the further spread of decay in a weakened tooth
- Repair a tooth or teeth which are too severely damaged for direct composite bonding
Crowns can last for up to 15 years.