Before telling your dentist that you want your smile improved, you need to know what kind of treatment you need. Do you need necessary conventional dental treatments or do you want an elective cosmetic one? What is the difference between the two? The following are key differences between conventional and cosmetic dentistry and what kind of issues these types address.
- Focuses on oral hygiene
- Treats and prevents oral disease and tooth decay
- Offers restorative treatments
- Focuses on improving a person's appearance (teeth and jaw)
- Offers a combination of restorative and elective treatments
What types of cosmetic dentistry treatments are available and what issues do they address?
- Inlays/Onlays – In the past, fillings were made of gold and amalgam and were clearly visible when people opened their mouths. Today, these fillings can be replaced with composite or porcelain fillings that are almost the same color as your teeth. They need to be prepared in a laboratory and bonded in position by your dentist.
- Teeth whitening – This is the most commonly requested cosmetic dental treatment. It is performed to combat stains on teeth caused by smoking, poor dental hygiene, and certain food and beverages.
- Dental veneers – Laminated composite or porcelain "covers" are bonded to the tooth surface to hide unsightly cracks, chips, or discoloring. Veneers can also cover gaps between teeth.
- Composite bonding – A composite material is spread across the surface of a cracked, chipped, or broken tooth and then smoothed and contoured until the desired shape and appearance is achieved. The composite is then hardened with a high intensity light.
- Dental implants – When one or more of your teeth are missing, implants are a permanent solution to creating a full and youthful looking smile. Missing teeth cause your face to collapse, which makes you look older.
Sometimes a combination of all the methods described above is used to achieve the best possible results. In certain cases, you may need or choose to have full mouth reconstruction. That may involve surgery to change the shape of the jaw and cooperation with an orthodontist to apply braces and adjust your bite. While the tendency today is to preserve as much of a patient's natural tooth when making cosmetic improvements, sometimes it is necessary to do more invasive work to get the desired results. Read articles and ask questions to educate yourself about your options before you undergo any treatment to change and hopefully improve your smile.
For more information, contact a business such as Roy B. Guster DDS PC.