How Can Cosmetic Dentistry Improve Your Smile?
When we think of dentistry, the business of keeping teeth free of decay comes to mind: cleanings, fillings, and maybe even crowns. However, there’s a category of dental services aimed at purely the visual. Cosmetic dentistry is all about giving you the smile you’ve dreamed about—although cosmetic dentistry can also help keep your smile strong, too, depending on the services you choose. If you’re looking to dazzle your colleagues with a Hollywood smile right here in Madison, here are some common services you can expect from a cosmetic dentist:
- Anterior Crowns
- Esthetic Shaping
- Teeth Whitening
Crowns that are placed on the front teeth are called anterior crowns. Anterior crowns are great options for front teeth that have serious damage or decay. They can even be used for missing teeth. Custom-made to fit your mouth, these crowns offer a beautiful smile that can last for as long as twenty or thirty years, as close to permanent as dental treatment can get.
Anterior crowns require at least two visits to the dentist. At the first visit, the dentist removes decay and shapes the tooth in preparation of receiving the crown. The dentist then makes an impression of the tooth and places a temporary crown. At the second appointment, the dentist replaces the temporary crown with the permanent crown, checking for fit and proper bite.
Another common service provided by a cosmetic dentist is bonding. Recommended for chipped or misaligned teeth, bonding is a viable and often affordable alternative to porcelain veneers. During bonding, the dentist applies a composite resin that’s shaded to blend in with the natural tooth color. The dentist hardens the resin using a curing light then sculpts and polishes the tooth to restore it to the proper shape.
With proper care, bonding can last five to ten years. Bonding does not age and discolor like natural tooth enamel, so minor, supplemental tooth whitening may be needed to ensure that teeth remain the same color as the bonded area.
Esthetic Shaping (Also known as enamelplasty, odontoplasty, or tooth contouring)
Enamel shaping is a dental cosmetic process in which the dentist contours natural teeth to improve their overall appearance. The dentist removes small amounts of tooth enamel in order to change the length, shape, or surface contours of the tooth. Enamel shaping is a quick and economical way to correct the look of misshapen, oversized, rough, crooked, chipped, or overlapping teeth.
Note: this is a NOT a DIY procedure! A recent social media trend shows people contouring their teeth at home using nail files. This is very dangerous and can permanently damage the enamel on your teeth, which may even require a crown or veneer. If you are interested in enamel shaping, it’s essential to have it done by a professional cosmetic dentist.
Cosmetic dentists offer teeth whitening services that are more effective than over-the-counter products. They usually offer teeth whitening in two forms: tray whitening and in-office whitening. During tray whitening, an impression is made of the patient’s teeth. The patient is then sent home with a supply of whitening gel. The patient wears the tray for a few hours each day for a period of time until an acceptable result is achieved.
A popular in-office teeth whitening treatment is called Zoom. During this process, a patient’s teeth are treated with a bleaching product that is activated by a special light. Zoom can lighten teeth up to several shades brighter in under an hour. Consults are needed ahead of time to ensure that the patient’s teeth are able to handle the intensity of the sudden bleaching.
For further reading: Is It Possible to Whiten Teeth Your Teeth in One Day?
Veneers are thin pieces of durable, tooth-shaped porcelain that are custom-made in a laboratory. They are bonded to the front of teeth to create a whiter, more attractive smile. Veneers are often used as alternatives to crowns. Although not permanent, veneers should last many years.
Veneers are great options for stained or discolored teeth that are resistant to tooth whitening. Veneers can also transform chipped, rotated, or misshapen teeth. They can go beyond what teeth straightening and teeth whitening treatments can provide in order to totally transform a smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin
Even though here at Affiliated Dentists we’re located in Madison, Wisconsin, we offer a wide range of cosmetic dentistry services to help you achieve a Hollywood smile. If you’re interested in transforming your smile, schedule an appointment with us today to learn about what cosmetic dentistry services are best for you.
How Can Cosmetic Dentistry Improve Your Smile? brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson