So, What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
You have probably been going to the dentist on a pretty set schedule since you first got your teeth. Every six months, you head into the office for a cleaning, x-rays, fluoride treatment and so on. Occasionally, you may have to come back for a filling the next week, but after that, you are done for another half of the year. This is regular, routine dentistry, but did you know that there is a whole other side to dentistry? While traditional dentistry focuses on the health of your teeth, cosmetic dentistry goes beyond the necessary to give patients an extraordinary, show-stopping smile.
So, what is cosmetic dentistry anyway?
Any treatment that is done for aesthetic (or appearance) purposes only is considered a cosmetic procedure. Cosmetic dentistry is not a new thing, but advancements in technology and materials used in procedures has brought a surge of men and women who are trying cosmetic dentistry for the first time. With cosmetic dentistry, you are no longer stuck with irregularities and imperfections that keep you from flashing your most award-winning smile.
To get a better idea of what we are talking about, take a look at some of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed by dentists:
- Teeth whitening – Have you ever seen the commercial with the slogan “if you’re not whitening, you’re yellowing?” Well, it’s true. Many things stain our teeth including the food we eat, drinks like coffee and tea and especially, tobacco products. Our teeth go from the bright, pearly white of our youth to becoming yellowish-brown. This is not an attractive look! There are many over-the-counter whiteners, but these do not replace the results you get with the advanced technology used in a dentist’s office for whitening.
- Alignments – If you have crooked teeth, an overbite or an underbite, aligners can help to reshape the position of your teeth so that they are straight and evenly spaced. Braces are commonly used in teens, but adults often choose products like Invisalign, clear aligners that are less noticeable than regular braces. Some people need braces to fix problems that the crooked teeth are causing while others choose to get them for the sole purpose of perfecting their teeth.
- Veneers – Veneers are the perfect way to get an all-over mouth enhancement. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are glued to the front of the teeth. Veneers are used to make your teeth the exact way you want them. They can change the color, shape, length and size of your teeth to fix abnormalities such as gaps in-between the teeth or chipped teeth. If you are looking to change several aspects of your teeth, veneers allow you to do this in one swoop.
- Bonding – Sometimes the unforeseen happens and we end up with a cracked, chipped or stained tooth. Dental bonding is similar to a filling but is tooth-colored so that the appearance of your tooth does not change when the bonding is applied. The resin used in bonding can also be used to fill in gaps between the teeth and to reshape irregular teeth in a process called tooth contouring. The bonding material is directly applied to the tooth and shaped to form a natural looking smile.
Cosmetic dentistry is used to help patients feel good about their smile. Going the extra step, like using tooth-colored bonding instead of silver fillings, can go a long way in making sure that you love your smile for years to come. Your dentist will always choose the health of your teeth first, (that is why you are scheduled for those routine visits every six months!) but it is good to know that you don’t have to live with irregular, discolored or misaligned teeth. Most dentists will perform cosmetic procedures in their office. If you are not sure whether or not your regular dentist does cosmetic procedures, all you have to do is ask! You may even be a little surprised to find out exactly what your dentist has to offer.
The good news is you do not have to wait for your routine checkup to receive cosmetic procedures. You can visit your dentist anytime to discuss problem areas and find the best solution for your specific issues. Many dentist use specialized digital imaging to show you how your smile will change with certain procedures. You can work with your dentist to ensure that your teeth look just the way you want them to. Don’t spend another minute hiding and hating your smile! Visit a dentist today to find out more about cosmetic dentistry and how it can change the way you feel about yourself!