Caring for your teeth and gums is an everyday habit (or should be) that helps keep your mouth healthy and your breath fresh. But there are some dental issues that require help than just brushing and flossing can provide. For these issues, cosmetic dentistry can be a great solution, and there are many options.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is the term used to describe the specific type of oral care that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth. Issues that can be improved with cosmetic dentistry include tooth discoloration, missing or damaged teeth, and more.
Cosmetic dentistry options
Most cosmetic dental procedures are done by professionals in the dentist’s office or by specialists, but there are some treatments that can be done at home. Here are some of the most common types of procedures and treatments.
For a variety of reasons, our teeth can become less white than we would like. This can be due to diet, smoking, certain medications, or health issues. Fortunately, many options are available to bring teeth back to their natural color. Dentists use a peroxide process for a professional treatment which can be done in 1-2 hours. At-home treatments with toothpastes or plastic strips usually take 2-4 weeks.
For more serious cases of discoloration or cracks in teeth, veneers can be a good option. For this treatment, very thin pieces of porcelain or plastic are placed over teeth an “cured” with a special light. Having veneers inserted is a two-step process that must be done at the dentist’s office. During the first step, the dentist will assess the issues and make impressions of the affected teeth to create a mold for the veneers. The second step is when the veneers are actually applied to the teeth. Veneers are permanent and cannot be removed.
To address small imperfections or minor bite problems, your dentist may recommend this procedure. The enamel of natural teeth is shaped to address issues like uneven surfaces or discolorations, and the procedure is quick and painless, with immediate results. There is some risk involved in this treatment because enamel cannot be replaced, and enamel that is too thin can result in sensitivity to cold, heat, or sugar. For these reasons, enamel shaping/contouring is best for people with otherwise strong, healthy teeth.
Teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored, or have decay or other damage can be repaired through dental bonding. This is a fairly inexpensive process in which the dentist will drill away the damaged part of the tool an apply a tooth-colored resin that is then hardened with a special light. Also known as composite bonding, this treatment can last for several years and is done in the dentist’s office.
If you have a tooth that is weakened or damaged, your dentist may recommend getting a crown. Made of ceramic or porcelain, crowns can act as a replacement tooth. The dentist will file down the tooth at issue, and then seat the crown over it and seal it in place. Most crowns last anywhere from 5-15 years, so they will need to be replaced eventually.
Implants are a permanent treatment to replace missing teeth. This is an involved and expensive procedure, so be sure to talk it through with your dentist if you’re considering this option. Implants involve a replacement root that is made of titanium, and then a crown is placed over the root. Implants are now a fairly common alternative to bridges or dentures to replace missing teeth, and barring any accidents, they are permanent.
Contact Total Care Dentistry for Cosmetic Dentistry Info
The dental professionals at Total Care Dentistry are experts in the latest in oral care treatments for Virginia Beach families. Give us a call today at (757) 317-5369 to get answers to all of your questions about cosmetic dentistry.