Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
People have different perceptions of what represents a beautiful smile, both dental professionals and you. For some it involves natural tooth appearance, just whiter; for others, it may involve the creation of evenly aligned and very bright teeth. And for others yet, the alteration of tooth shape by making teeth larger, the edges more balanced, or the teeth and gum line more proportionally balanced — these are but a few of the options available today.
What follows is a review of the many areas and techniques that have been summarized for your convenience. Please review them for further details and what might be right for you.
Basic hygiene: Brushing and flossing will remove dental (bacterial) plaque and together with a fluoride toothpaste will protect your teeth against decay — the most basic everyday cosmetic protection. It doesn’t get more basic than this.
Polish “Em” Spick and Span: A visit to your friendly dental hygienist to remove unwanted scale and stain masking an already natural smile may be all that is necessary to renew your smile. This is good for staining caused by coffee, tea, wine, and other stains “outside” or on the tooth surfaces.
Home Whitening: Includes whitening strips, “paint-on or brush-on” whitening, lozenges, and even whitening gum. The most basic over-the-counter products are available in drugstores. These professionally unsupervised techniques, containing carbamide peroxide, real bleaching agents at low concentration, are the least expensive ways to improve and whiten your teeth. Be careful to follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully and don’t overdo it.
Professionally Supervised Whitening: You may try this at home under the direction of your dentist who will make you professionally fitted clear plastic trays designed to fit over your own teeth. With the appropriate whitening “gels,” generally carbamide peroxide 10% solutions applied for 30 minutes twice a day you can achieve a cosmetic difference for yourself. Slow but sure, this may take about six weeks to get the change you want.
Professional Whitening: Performed in your dentist’s office with special precautions to protect your gums and other oral tissues, this one-time technique uses high concentration bleaching agents (35-45%). It might just give your smile the “wow” you want in short order.
Cosmetic Options for Replacing Missing Teeth
There is nothing more devastating to a smile than lost or missing teeth. There are multiple ways today to replace missing teeth both functionally (biting, chewing, speaking, and laughing) as well as cosmetically.
Dental implants are perhaps today’s ultimate tooth replacement systems providing “stand-alone” teeth, unconnected to other teeth. While a dental implant replaces the root of a tooth, the crown atop the implant (the tooth you see in your mouth) is an exact replica of a natural tooth. Therefore implants provide for cosmetic tooth replacements, emerging through the gum tissues just like natural teeth, and can be made to match the neighboring teeth exactly. You’d never know they’re not your own, then again — they are.