When Is the Right Time to See a Cosmetic Dentist?
Have you noticed how important having a beautiful smile has become in your professional as well as your social life? In a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly three-quarters of respondents stated that they believed having an unattractive smile could set a person back in his or her career. Whether it‚Äôs fair or not, people judge you by your teeth, and when your smile is less than perfect, people notice. Thanks to innovations in cosmetic dentistry, however, these days, almost everyone can have a dazzling smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments
Cosmetic dentistry is a catchall term for dental procedures that focus on improving the appearance rather than the functionality of your teeth and gums. Many people think that you have to leave your current dentist to see a cosmetic specialist. This isn’t always the case. With a dental office like Lasting Smiles of Highland Park, you can have the luxury of your normal dental team providing you cosmetic options in addition to general preventive dentistry.
Popular cosmetic dentistry solutions include teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, dental bonding, crowns, braces and invisible aligners, laser gum treatments and implants.
Teeth whitening: If you drink beverages like coffee, tea and red wine, or if you smoke, chances are that your teeth have developed a yellowish cast. Teeth whitening involves the use of bleaching products to remove these stains from your teeth. Sure, you can buy do-it-yourself whitening solutions at your pharmacy, but they‚Äôre not likely to be either as effective or as long lasting as a treatment you have done in your cosmetic dentist‚Äôs office.
Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are another solution for discolored teeth. Veneers can also help correct problems like slightly misaligned teeth, cracks, chips and worn enamel. Veneers are ceramic shells that are custom-designed to address your specific dental issues. With proper care, they can last as long as 10 to 15 years.
Dental bonding: In dental bonding, your cosmetic dentist will apply composite resin to your teeth to correct problems like chips, fissures and small spaces between your teeth. Bonding is also used to attach porcelain veneers. Bonding materials can be expected to last between 3 and 10 years.
Crowns: A crowns is an artificial cap that is fitted over one of your natural teeth. Crowns can be fabricated out of tooth-colored porcelain if you want them to blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile, or they can be made out of gold. Crowns typically have a lifespan between 10 and 15 years.
Braces and invisible aligners: Braces have come a long way from those uncomfortable metal brackets and wires you may remember from your own adolescence. Braces are no longer just for teenagers, either: According to the American Association of Orthodontics, almost 800,000 adults wear braces on their teeth. If you‚Äôre considering an orthodontic solution to your malocclusion, you’ll be able to choose among ceramic, tooth-colored braces; clear plastic aligners; and braces that are fitted on the back side of your teeth. These options should greatly cut down on any embarrassment that‚Äôs associated with wearing braces as an adult. You will probably need to wear your braces for between 18 and 24 months.
If you’re self-conscious that your gums are too prominent when you smile, you may be interested in contouring treatments that can shape your gingival display. A cosmetic dentist may be able to do perform this treatment using laser surgery though in more severe cases, you may need to consult a periodontal specialist.
Implants: Implants offer a permanent solution for the loss of teeth. An implant is a two-part procedure: First, a titanium post is implanted into your jaw; next, a crown is attached to the head of the post above the gum line. Over six months or so, the titanium post will actually fuse to your jawbone, which makes this a permanent solution even though your crown may need to be replaced in 10 to 15 years.
When Cosmetic Dentistry Is Also Restorative Dentistry
Certain cosmetic procedures actually enhance the functionality of your teeth.
Crowns are used to protect the functionality of teeth that are extremely damaged. If decay has claimed so much of a tooth that the tooth‚Äôs structural integrity is compromised, a dentist will often opt to put a crown on that tooth rather than to fill it. Implants, too, can be looked upon as a procedure whose purpose is both restorative and cosmetic since missing teeth are not just an aesthetic issue. Missing teeth can cause your remaining teeth to shift their position in your mouth, which can seriously affect your ability to chew.
When is the right time to see a cosmetic dentist?
Practically anytime when you want your teeth to look better, and you want to have healthier teeth and gums.