8 Types of Cosmetic Dentistry to Improve Your Smile

dental implant model and tools

Cosmetic dentistry helps to improve the quality and look of your smile. Cosmetic procedures can also be restorative in nature, which allows them to upgrade the appearance of your teeth while also restoring overall functionality to your mouth. With so many cosmetic options available, a trip to the dentist can help in creating a treatment plan that’s perfect for you. Cosmetic dentistry is ideal for most patients of varying ages and can do wonders for improving your confidence and self-esteem.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is typically used to replace one or more teeth that have fallen out or have been extracted. Implants can also be used to keep a denture securely in place so that it doesn’t slip or fall out. The implant post is inserted deep into the bone and allowed to osseointegrate, which means that it will fuse and bond with the surrounding bone. Once it’s fully bonded with the jaw, your dental implant is permanent and will not need to be replaced or repaired. A special dental crown is then placed on top of the implant to create a flawless and complete smile.

Dental Veneers

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are placed onto the front teeth and can last for up to a decade. Veneers can help to cover up a number of different imperfections and flaws such as gaps, spaces, discoloration, and staining. The veneer is made to look completely natural so that no one will know you’re wearing them but you and your dental team. Dental veneers are a quick and relatively noninvasive alternative to more extensive cosmetic work. In many cases, no anesthetic is needed to prepare the teeth and place the veneers.

Teeth Whitening

Over time and with a certain lifestyle and dietary habits, your teeth can begin to yellow, discolor and become stained. Having discolored teeth can have a serious impact on your self-esteem and confidence. You can opt for either an in-office teeth whitening treatment or a professional take-home option, and it usually involves special ingredients that lift or lighten discoloration. Your dentist can help in providing treatment for whitening so that your teeth look bright and lustrous rather than dull and yellowed. Teeth whitening can be done before special events or just because you want a more radiant, healthier-looking smile.

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is often placed over a tooth that has been compromised. A tooth is considered compromised if it has broken, fractured, cracked or if it has a large filling that is weakening the structure of the tooth. It’s not uncommon to need a dental crown shortly after having a root canal performed, as root canals typically leave the tooth open and vulnerable. Crowns are matched to your existing teeth so that they blend seamlessly and evenly to your smile. Most dental crowns can last for years or even decades before needing replacement.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is similar to a crown but differs in that it has several teeth attached to one full restoration. The most common type of dental bridge involves two abutments that are attached to surrounding teeth and a pontic tooth that is in the middle and simply sits on top of the gum line. Bridges are necessary when a tooth is completely missing, and they are often a better option for patients who may not necessarily be good candidates for dental implants. Dental bridges, like crowns, are made for each patient in a dental laboratory and are matched perfectly with surrounding dentition.

Tooth Reshaping

Tooth reshaping, sometimes referred to as dental contouring, is a cosmetic option that involves removing small amounts of a tooth so that your smile looks more even. This can be done if there are small chips at the front of the mouth or if teeth are uneven with some being longer than others. Tooth reshaping is great for minor dental imperfections that cause you to feel insecure about your smile but aren’t necessarily a problem to your oral health. Even just a few millimeters of reduction in tooth surface can have a substantial impact on how your smile looks.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding uses composite resin material to cover minor imperfections at the front of your smile. Most often, dental bonding is an excellent choice for patients who have gaps or large spaces between their teeth. It’s also a good option for those who have uneven teeth or who may have some teeth shorter than others. Bonding can also help with missing tooth structure where a crack, fracture, or break has taken place. Small chips and breaks in your teeth can be remedied with bonding.

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can help in enhancing and perfecting your smile in a permanent manner. For children and teens, their teeth may be crooked, crowded or spaced in a way that prevents their smile from looking full and even. For adults, you may have always wanted orthodontic treatment but were unable to have the work done by a qualified professional. Likewise, many adults have had orthodontic work done as a teenager but never maintained their results by using a retainer, thus causing the need for additional treatment. Orthodontic treatment such as metal braces, clear ceramic braces, and invisible braces help in re-aligning the teeth and improving the look and feel of your smile.

Cosmetic dentistry is ideal for most patients, as many of the procedures available are relatively noninvasive and can work to correct a myriad of different oral health issues. To determine which cosmetic option is right for you, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can examine your teeth and create a uniquely personalized treatment plan just for you. With the help of cosmetic dentistry, you can finally feel good about your teeth and smile confidently every day.

About the Author

Dr. Scott Futch

Dr. Scott F. Futch, DDS

Dr. Scott Futch has been a clinical director for Absolute Dental since April 2017. Dr. Futch graduated from University of Michigan School of Dentistry and completed his training at the Dawson Academy; a postgraduate multi-disciplinary education clinical research facility dedicated to the advancement of dentistry. Dr. Futch has had over 25 years of experience as a skilled clinician, mentor and coach.

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