Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Dentistry is a discipline within dentistry in which the primary focus is the modification of appearance of a patient's oral cavity and surrounding structures, in order to improve or enhance the existing aesthetic appearance of the teeth, smile and face overall.
Through cosmetic dentistry, the appearance of the mouth can be altered to more closely match the patient's subjective concept of what is visually pleasing.
Common cosmetic dental procedures today include:
Whitening, or "bleaching", which is probably the most commonly prescribed cosmetic dental procedure. While many whitening options are now available, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth.
Enamel shaping is another simple procedure where the dentist removes parts of the contouring enamel to improve the appearance of a tooth or group of teeth. It may be used to correct a very small chip. The removed enamel is irreplaceable. It is also known as Reshaping,Slenderizing, and Enamel Stripping.
Bonding is an option for chipped or cracked teeth. It is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is applied to a tooth's surface, sculpted into shape, hardened, and then polished. Veneers, ultra-thin, custom-made laminates that are directly bonded to the teeth, are an increasingly popular procedure. They are an option for closing gaps and disguising discolored teeth that did not respond well to whitening procedures.
Porcelain/Metal (PFM) Crowns and Metal-free, Ceramic crowns are used in cases where other procedures will not be effective. Crowns have the longest life expectancy of all cosmetic restorations, but are more time consuming, and require long-term maintenance.
Veneers are are thin pieces of porcelain or ceramic material cemented over the front of your teeth to change the color or shape of your teeth. Veneers are used on teeth with uneven surfaces or are chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced or crooked. They require little or no anesthesia. Veneers can be used to treat some of the same problems as bonding. There are specific indications when choosing veneers over other aesthetic options. Your dentist should explain the Pros and Cons of any procedure intended before beginning actual work.
Porcelain veneers require more than one visit because they are fabricated in a laboratory. Veneers have a longer life expectancy and color stability than bonding.
Tooth Whitening (Bleaching)
Bleaching is a common and popular chemical process used to whiten teeth. Some people get their teeth bleached to make stains disappear, while other just want a whiter shade. Unlike whitening toothpastes that remove stains to reveal the underlying whiteness of teeth, bleaching agents do actually make teeth whiter.
Discoloration occurs in the enamel and can be caused by medication, coffee, tea and cigarettes. Discoloration also can be caused by your genetic make-up or simply getting older! Bleaching can be performed by your dentist in the office or, under dental supervision, at home. Many patients enjoy bleaching at home because it is more convenient. Treatment begins when your dentist creates a custom mouthpiece to ensure the correct amount of whitening solution-10 percent to 20 percent carbamide peroxide-is used and that your teeth are properly exposed. Typically, whitening at home can take up to 1-2 weeks, but often only a few days, depending on the original shade of your teeth, and the desired shade that needs to be achieved.
An increasing number of patients today are opting for quick, in-office bleaching. Whitening in the office may call for one or more (30-45 minute) visits to your dentist's office.
A major side-effect of tooth bleaching is the increased tooth sensitivity immediately following the procedure. Usually this subsides within a few days. There is some evidence to suggest that " in-office" bleaching may produce more tooth sensitivity in certain patients, however, with the continued improvement in the quality of bleaching materials, equipment, and techniques, these side-effect should be kept to a minimum. In general, bleaching is a safe, relatively-inexpensive, and effective cosmetic treatment.
However, while tooth bleaching creates white smiles, people are sometimes disappointed with the results. The reason for this is that they have unrealistic expectations ! Many expect their teeth to be as white as Copy Paper after the procedure. Even at their whitest, however, your teeth can not approach this degree of whiteness. Teeth that look like this would appear very unnatural !
Overall, you need to be aware of TWO main issues when bleaching your teeth:
1. Some people have tooth colored fillings in their teeth that match their yellow teeth before the bleaching. After the bleaching, the teeth whiten but the fillings stay the same color. Consequently, these fillings will need to be replaced at an extra cost after the bleaching is completed. Additionally, crowns or porcelain restorations in conspicuous areas will not lighten from bleaching and may not match the shade of your newly bleached teeth.
2. Another word of caution - those people with sensitive teeth or with gum disease should avoid bleaching procedures. Some people can even experience considerable discomfort when bleaching sensitive teeth or when applying bleaching agent to gums damaged by gum disease !
At SDOC, we provide both methods of Tooth whitening (Home Bleaching and in-office bleaching), using well-known and certified bleaching systems such as Opalescence (UltraDent) and the new ZOOM! Advanced Power (Discus Dental) , according to our patients' needs.
Your dentist can advise you on the best approach to bleaching your teeth, after a thorough examination of your condition.
Which procedure is right for you?
We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure, maintenance and cost, to help you choose the treatment that best suits you.
At SDOC, we provide specialized Implant treatment and management through our highly-qualified and experienced prosthodontist, utilizing only the very best in Implant dentistry technology and materials.
Straumann ITI is our Implant system of choice due to its high quality, versatility and long-standing expertise in the field of dental implants in the past four decades.
We are committed to Excellence, Professionalism and Integrity.