The meaning of cosmetic dentistry is any sort of action on teeth that enhances teeth look and results into better-looking appearance of face or smile. Cosmetic dentistry involves ranges of tooth and jaw work to shape any crooked and deformity in teeth and jaws. Apart from esthetics, achieving highly functional teeth has been another goal of cosmetic dentistry. Because when patients are ware of failure in their treatments, they try to have a procedure that lasts at least for some years. When you try to correct a deformity or straighten a tooth, you are not just dealing with the appearance of that tooth, but you are at the same time improving its functionality. This is why cosmetic dentistry is not just dealing with the teeth look but its long lasting effects are within its durability of that procedure.
Who does cosmetic dentistry?
Like a hairstylist or a plastic surgeon, a cosmetic dentist is the person who wants you to have your best look. In the path to a greater look for teeth, dentists, orthodontist, maxillofacial surgeons, periodontist, and even plastic surgeon work together to give you facial esthetic standards and cosmetic features for an attractive look.
Types of cosmetic dentistry with both function and cosmetic effects
Orthodontics to reposition and realign crooked and irregular teeth is by far the most important cosmetically useful teeth treatment that can have noticeable effects on face and teeth. When you see how orthodontics can change the growth of jaws and teeth into the symmetrical form, you will be amazed on the benefits of orthodontics and beautiful smiles and faces that result from orthodontic treatment.
Implant is the procedure to insert a screw-like titanium objects as the root for each tooth. Then a crown cap is used to cover the implant. Implant is a great choice when you have missed tooth or teeth in your mouth. For high numbers of missing teeth, if you have enough bone to support the implants, it is again an option to choose. If the bone doesn’t support that much implant, the combination of both fixed bridges and implant will be the favorite option for a large edentulous area (empty space of missing teeth).
Dental implant provides you with what you have been looking for a cosmetic look and a beautiful natural-looking smile.
Dental bridges and removable dentures are another common way to replace a missing tooth or teeth in the mouth. Bridges and removable dentures don’t take much time but for a longer period of time implant is much better, but implant takes much time and surgical process.
The name bridge makes it clear in that the laboratory-made tooth is like a bridge and it is secured to the adjacent teeth (called abutment teeth) to fit in the place of the lost tooth or teeth. Bridges are also called fixed prosthodontics or fixed dentures. As we said, to retain these prosthodontics (or false teeth), adjacent teeth are used as abutments or for better longevity and better functionality, dentist use implants as abutments.
Bridges and dentures are made in the laboratory with various techniques. For example, to make bridges, alloys can be used for the entire bridge, which may not be cosmetically beautiful or it can be made with alloys and ceramic over the alloy, which hides the alloy. Today, all- zirconia bridges are popular because of its great look. All-zirconia has a tough ceramic that serves the load and pressure of occlusion with a glossy and esthetic ceramic type as a surface cover.
Removable dentures have also been used among older people to replace their missing teeth. Dentures have been used for higher number of missing teeth and it has more limitations. For example, removable dentures have made problems during eating and irritation to bone of gum, people may prefer combination of bridges and implant even for complete loss of teeth to have better function for their teeth and to have their “natural teeth” as they say. As people lose their teeth due to tooth decay or tooth fractures, the lost teeth can have negative impacts on their face. So, they want a cosmetically acceptable way to replace a tooth in that area.
Dental bridges have widely been used in aging population due to easy fabrication that follow the patients demand in both function of the teeth and the beauty of the custom-fit design of the bridges. If removable dentures have the disadvantage of chewing and bone loss problems because of denture movements on the bone, bridges have the limitation of causing decay to abutment teeth and the abutment teeth may need endodontics but this is not true for implant supported bridges.
What are common cosmetic dentistry procedures?
Teeth whitening is the popular and easy procedure with great cosmetic results for teeth. Daily use of whitening toothpastes with appropriate brushing is the first step you should try to reach to brighter teeth. But with deeper stains and discoloration, you may need much whitening procedures. Whitening gels is one of those home bleaching techniques for whitening teeth. For example, the popular methods is the teeth whitening gels that have 6% hydrogen peroxide and 10% carbamide peroxide in the ingredient that you can use with the trays at home to whiten your teeth.
For in-office bleaching method, you should visit a dentist to do that. Office-bleaching may take an hour and the dentist applies hydrogen peroxide solution on teeth (around %30 to %35 hydrogen peroxide) and uses light or heat for a speedy activation of the material on teeth to achieve highly cosmetic white and bright teeth. Home use of trays with gels to maintain the whitening effect after office bleaching gives you better lasting effects.
Teeth crowning is like putting a cap on the teeth. Crown is used in restoration of teeth, in bridges and dental implants. Crown is indicated when there is a lot of damage or decay to the teeth that has caused a major loss of the tooth. Dentists use crown with various materials. The core material can be made of alloys or high-strength ceramic but normally alloys are used entirely or for cosmetic look, ceramic veneer is used to cover the alloy. The main systems in crowning teeth include metal-ceramic crown, all-metal crown and all-ceramic crown.
Onlays and inlays:
Onlays and inalys are the restoration of one or more cusps (curvy surfaces of posterior teeth). This is when crown is not necessary due to mild decay or less fracture in teeth. In onlays and inlays, alloys are used for restoration like in tooth crowning. The decayed or fractured parts of teeth are prepared for alloys to fill the area of damaged tooth. The material can also be ceramic or composite, which is cemented into the cavity of the fractured tooth.
Porcelain veneer (porcelain laminates):
Maybe you have heard porcelain and ceramic but you don’t know the difference. Ceramic is a general term and porcelain is one type of ceramic. Porcelain is called feldspathic ceramics in dental field. Porcelain veneers are also called porcelain laminates. Now let’s define veneer. Generally, veneers mean covering, so porcelain veneer means covering the tooth. Veneers are made from glassy ceramic types and porcelain is the common form of these glassy ceramics.
Dentists use acid etching technique to bond the veneers that are made in the laboratory to the enamel of the teeth. If there is enamel remaining to bond the veneer to the surface of the teeth, porcelain veneer can be an excellent choice. Although porcelain is not a tough form of ceramic, it is the most cosmetic of all. Porcelain veneer gives a beautiful look to your teeth. Porcelain is used as veneer to cover the alloys and it can be bonded to the enamel of teeth, which is a strong bonding veneer. Porcelain veneers resist well against wear, stain and abrasion.
Composite resin bonding:
Composite resin bonding is the most economical cosmetic procedure to restore fractures, stains and malformation of teeth in cosmetic dentistry. Composite consist mainly of inorganic filler types, which are different in particle and size in each composite and resin-binding matrix. Composite resin bonding is also the fastest and an easy way of tooth restoration. If dentists are professional at composite resin bonding application, the shading colors to match the teeth, texturing and finishing techniques, you can benefit from a beautiful and younger looking smile that you had been waiting for. New composites like microhybrid, nanofilled and nanohybrid are really functional even for teeth that may have pressures and loads of occlusion and provide an enamel-like structure for your teeth, which look really natural.