If you are considering cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of your smile, you may be wondering how to decide upon a cosmetic dental treatment. While the variety of cosmetic dental treatments can meet various treatment goals, it can also be overwhelming to choose the perfect treatment.
As a whole, all cosmetic dental treatments aim to restore the teeth’s natural function, as well to improve the visual appearance of the teeth. Individual cosmetic dental treatments can each improve the visual appearance by altering the color, size, shape, spacing, or alignment of the teeth. Additionally, cosmetic treatments can repair damaged teeth and replace missing teeth.
Some cosmetic dental treatments remedy a single cosmetic concern, while others may correct multiple issues at once. To introduce you to cosmetic dentistry, here are the top five cosmetic dental procedures:
#1 Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are caps that fit over the entire visible portion of the tooth. They can be customized in terms of size, shape, and color before being applied to the tooth. Since they cover the entire surface of the tooth, they are ideal to repair teeth that have been affected by moderate tooth decay or damage. They are also traditionally placed after root canals in order to protect the tooth. When used in coordination with a dental implant, dental crowns can also be used to replace a single missing tooth.
#2 Dental Implants:
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from titanium screws with a connector for a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, or denture. They are commonly used to replace missing teeth, as well as severely damaged or decayed teeth in need of extraction. They are highly durable and aesthetic, making them an ideal cosmetic treatment for those looking for a long-lasting option. However, they require a slightly more invasive placement procedure and have a recovery period of about 3-6 months.
#3 Teeth Whitening:
Professional teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments because it is affordable, effective, and quick. In as little as a single dental appointment, professional teeth whitening can brighten the color of your teeth by about 5-10 shades! During a teeth whitening appointment, your cosmetic dentist will apply a whitening agent to your teeth and leave it in place for about 30-60 minutes. The whitening agent penetrates your teeth and removes stains caused by foods, beverages, oral habits, age, and certain medications. Once the whitening agent is rinsed, it will continue to whiten your teeth for up to 24 hours.
#4 Dental Veneers:
Dental veneers, also known as porcelain veneers or laminates are thin shells cemented onto the front of teeth in order to improve their appearance. Many people choose dental veneers because they are able to correct multiple cosmetic concerns with one treatment. By having dental veneers placed, you can improve the color, shape, size, spacing, and alignment of your teeth. They can also be used for a single tooth or multiple teeth, depending on your treatment goals. When considering dental veneers, it is also important to know that a small amount of tooth enamel is removed for their placement. This also means that dental veneers is an irreversible cosmetic treatment.
#5 Dental Bonding:
Dental bonding, also known as composite bonding, bonds composite resin to the tooth’s natural surface in order to improve its appearance. Dental bonding is highly versatile and can improve the size, shape, color, alignment, and spacing of teeth. It can also repair cracked or chipped teeth. However, it is generally only recommended for minor issues. Additionally, it is not a permanent treatment and only lasts about 5-7 years. Dental bonding may be a good option if you are looking to fix a minor concern or if you plan on eventually replacing it in the future.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the top five cosmetic dental treatments, you have a better idea of what cosmetic dentistry has to offer. Dental crowns, dental implants, teeth whitening, dental veneers, and dental bonding can all help to improve the aesthetics of your smile in different ways, and some can even correct multiple issues at once. For more information about which cosmetic treatment is best for you, schedule a consultation with your local cosmetic dentist.
Dr. Gerard J. Lemongello Jr. graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and has been in private practice since 1987. His focus is on cosmetic and comprehensive restorative rehabilitative dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry, and is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.