There are a number of differences between traditional dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. The focus of traditional dentistry is on the prevention diagnosis and treatment of oral disease. A general dental practice or a family dental practice helps patients resolve dental problems and provides necessary treatments.
Cosmetic dentistry, on the other hand strives to help patients have the best smile possible by improving the appearance of the teeth and mouth. Treatments provided in a cosmetic dentistry practice are usually considered elective. They are generally treatments that are chosen by the patient rather than prescribed by the doctor.
This is not to say that all cosmetic procedures are unnecessary or that necessary treatments may not also have cosmetic effects. People with tooth decay need to have their cavities treated and filled. Naturally, this will present a more attractive appearance.
With today’s modern filling materials, such as composites or porcelain, fillings can be matched closely to the color of the patient’s teeth. This needed treatment results in a very natural and attractive appearance that can also be considered cosmetic.
Fillings can also be applied as an entirely cosmetic procedure in the event the patient chooses to have old, visible gold or amalgam fillings replaced with more modern materials that will blend in naturally with the teeth. Modern dental materials are not just good-looking. They are also extremely durable and practical.
Getting Cosmetic Dental Treatments Is Easier Than Ever Before
These days, cosmetic dentists can perform more and more complicated procedures in their own offices. This is thanks in great part to developments in technology. For example, laser technology has greatly helped to advance the field of cosmetic dentistry. Many other technological developments work together to make having cosmetic dental treatments easy and relatively painless.
Here are a few common treatments you can expect to find with a good cosmetic dentist:
- Teeth whitening has become a very popular cosmetic dentistry process in the past few years. Many people suffer from discolored and stained teeth due to drinking red wine, tea or coffee or simply because of poor oral hygiene practices. Properly performed teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to brighten your smile.
- Dental veneers are also made of porcelain or composite materials. Veneers can be used to cover and repair cracks, chips, worn teeth or discolored teeth. They may also be used to correct gaps between teeth. In the event teeth are severely stained or discolored, veneers may be the only form of successful “teeth whitening” available.
- Indirect fillings are also called inlays or onlays. These are long-lasting, attractive fillings made of composite or porcelain material. They differ from standard dental fillings because they are created off-site in a dental laboratory and delivered to the dentist who fits them and bonds them adhesively to your teeth.
- Composite bonding is an excellent method for repairing decayed, discolored, broken or chipped teeth. This is a method of filling in which dental composite material is applied to a tooth cavity or the surface of the tooth and sculpted to match the shape and contour of the tooth. Once it is shaped, it is seasoned or hardened using high intensity light. Upon completion, this filling matches perfectly with the surrounding teeth.
- Dental implants are both cosmetic and practical. If you have one or more missing teeth, you can have them permanently replaced through use of dental implants. These permanent replacements provide a more attractive and useful appearance along with a better functioning set of teeth!
- A smile makeover is a great way to get the very best looking smile possible. In this comprehensive treatment, your cosmetic dentist will assess the health and appearance of your mouth and smile. A complete smile makeover may involve sculpting of the gums, dental implants and/or veneers, teeth whitening and more. The goal is to deliver the very best looking and best functioning set of teeth possible.
- A full mouth reconstruction may be in order if your dentist finds that you have structural and/or functional problems. For example, your bite may be misaligned or you may have problems with your teeth, the musculature in the bone structure of your jaw. If this is the case, a smile makeover will not be enough. Full mouth reconstruction is recommended.
Who Needs Cosmetic Dentistry?
If you are simply not happy with the way your teeth and your smile look, you are a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry. If you also have functional problems such as cavities, gum disease, broken, cracked or missing teeth cosmetic dentistry may be the answer for you. No matter what your situation, you can rest assured that with today’s modern techniques there is every reason to believe that you will soon be enjoying a happy, healthy smile.