How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Enhance Your Smile

If you have crooked, cracked or discolored teeth, cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile you desire. Often, patients who have a more attractive smile feel better about themselves and their general well-being improves.

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Unlike dental restorative procedures, cosmetic dentistry is elective and not covered by insurance. However, many cosmetic treatments have restorative benefits as well.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a popular treatment for people with missing teeth. They provide a natural look and feel, and are a permanent solution. They also allow you to speak and eat normally again. If you are eligible, you can apply for a Cosmetic Dentistry Grant (CDG) to cover the cost of your procedure.

Unlike other tooth replacement options, dental implants fuse to your jaw bone, making them more durable and enhancing the natural appearance of your smile. They are a good option if you are missing one or more of your teeth, and they can be used in conjunction with other tooth replacement methods such as dental bridges.

Although they are often considered part of cosmetic dentistry, dental implants and dental bridges actually fall under the category of restorative dentistry. This is because they replace healthy and functioning teeth. However, because they are a long-term solution for your oral health and beauty, they can enhance the overall results of your cosmetic dentistry. A cosmetic dentist can recommend the right implant for your needs. A cosmetic dentist can also help you choose the best prosthetic to use with your implant, such as inlays and onlays.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is an easy, non-invasive way to improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored, or misaligned. This cosmetic treatment uses a composite resin that closely matches the color of the existing tooth to repair and enhance the smile.

The dentist starts by selecting a shade of the composite resin and lightly roughening the surface of the affected tooth. Then they apply the resin, molding and trimming it as necessary to reshape and restore the tooth. The dentist then hardens the composite with a curing light, and they polish it to match the sheen of surrounding teeth.

Bonding is a fast and cost-effective procedure, and the results are immediate. However, the material is prone to staining, so patients should avoid consuming foods or beverages that will darken the composite. If the bonded tooth is located near a nerve, a local anesthetic may be necessary. Cosmetic bonding is typically not covered by insurance. Patients should check with their provider for more details about the potential costs and benefits of this procedure. They should also discuss alternative treatments that could be better suited to their specific needs.

Teeth Whitening

Many people are unhappy with the color of their teeth, especially those that have discolored due to aging, certain foods or drinks, medications or habits like smoking. A common cosmetic procedure is teeth whitening, or tooth bleaching, which brightens your smile by lightening the teeth to remove the discoloration.

This process involves coating the teeth with a whitening gel containing a bleaching agent, usually hydrogen peroxide. This breaks down the stains on the teeth, allowing oxygen molecules to penetrate the enamel and dentin layers and break apart the stain-causing chemicals. Most cosmetic dentists will use an in-office whitening procedure to “jumpstart” the whitening process, followed by at home kits that include custom mouthguards for continuing treatment with a bleaching agent.

Resin composite or dental bonding can also improve the appearance of teeth that are discolored, crooked or chipped. It is important to note that this type of treatment only improves the cosmetic appearance of your teeth and does not treat any underlying diseases or fillings. Additionally, whitening does not work on false teeth (dentures, crowns), fillings or bridges.

Porcelain Veneers

Rather than replacing a tooth, cosmetic dentists use porcelain veneers to correct the appearance of damaged teeth. They can often adhere them directly to a damaged tooth, but in some cases the tooth will need to be shaped and prepared first. The procedure itself is minimally invasive. After a consultation, your dentist will examine your teeth and gums to make sure you’re a good candidate for veneers. They’ll also discuss your goals and financial information, including insurance coverage.

Unlike dental bonding, which can be used to fill small cracks and chips, veneers can address more severe cosmetic flaws in the tooth’s shape or color. The covering can even change how the tooth looks to other people without affecting its structure.

Like natural teeth, veneers need proper care and maintenance to keep them healthy. They should be kept clean and brushed at least twice daily with a dentist-approved toothbrush, and flossed regularly. It’s also important to avoid chewing on hard objects like ice or boiled sweets, which can damage the veneers and cause them to break or discolor.

Gum Rejuvenation

Many people think of cosmetic dentistry as procedures that alter the shape and appearance of teeth. However, well-proportioned gums can also make a dramatic difference in your smile’s appearance. If you have a long tooth look or gummy smile, receding gum tissue that exposes too much of your roots or uneven gum line, cosmetic gum surgery may be the solution for you.

Farber Centers in Medford and Hauppauge, NY, offer a scalpel-free and suture-free gum contouring procedure called pinhole gum rejuvenation. This minimally invasive treatment involves covering exposed root surfaces that can be caused by receding gums or poor dental hygiene habits like brushing your teeth too hard, which can cause tooth enamel and roots to wear away.

Gum reshaping creates symmetry in the upper and lower sections of your smile, balancing each side to give you a winning smile. After the surgery, you’ll likely experience some soreness or discomfort, but over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen should help keep you comfortable. If you experience a lot of pain, talk to your dentist about prescription pain medication.