In the era of Hollywood influence, cosmetic procedures are a very common way to achieve a desired appearance of the face and body. But an increasingly popular way to enhance aesthetics is cosmetic dentistry. Over the last few years, cosmetic dentistry has skyrocketed in popularity, and with good reason.
Dental issues affecting the smile can drastically impact self-confidence. Cosmetic dental procedures can completely change a person’s looks and correct issues that have followed them through a lifetime. These procedures are often affordable, practically painless, and require no recovery time. All that’s left is a natural, healthy-looking smile. With the rise of cosmetic dentistry, you may be wondering what it is and who it is for. In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is a subset of dental medicine that involves improving the appearance and function of teeth. Cosmetic dentistry can improve your self-image, as the dentist will work with you to create a treatment plan that addresses any functional issues with your teeth while simultaneously creating a beautiful, natural looking smile.
Like other cosmetic procedures, cosmetic dental procedures can vary in how involved they are. Cosmetic dental procedures might be something very simple like teeth whitening, or they might require more intense work like dental implants or veneers.
Who Should Get Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry can be for anyone who is looking to make an improvement to their smile. Most people can benefit from some type of cosmetic procedure, though your personal goals and condition of your teeth might play a part in what can be done for you.
Those With Stained Teeth
If you have stained or discolored teeth, you may benefit from professional teeth whitening. Over time, foods and drinks like coffee and wine can discolor your teeth and make them duller and less attractive. Sometimes, a discolored tooth can be an indication that there are issues with dentin or enamel wear.
Discoloration is not necessarily a functional problem with the teeth that need correcting, but it can make you self-conscious of your smile. Professional tooth whitening works to remove surface staining and can lighten the dentin under the enamel, leaving you with a bright, white smile and renewed confidence.
Those With Missing Teeth
Losing a tooth as an adult can be traumatic because you know it’s not growing back on its own. If you have a missing tooth, cosmetic dentistry can help you through a dental implant. A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth that is placed into the bone of the mouth to replace the missing tooth.
The procedure is a combination of dental surgery and prosthetic techniques that can bring back natural looking and feeling teeth within four to six months. During the procedure, a synthetic root is placed in the gums and jaw, which will eventually fuse to create a solid anchor for the new prosthetic tooth that will be affixed.
Those With Gaps or Chips
If you have gaps or chips in your teeth, cosmetic dentistry can go a long way toward helping you improve the look of your smile. Dental bonding is an option to help and involves using a tooth-colored resin to fill in gaps and smooth out chips in the teeth. It can also be used to correct discolorations. If you have larger gaps or severe chips, dental veneers are a treatment option to consider.
Who Is Not A Good Candidate for Cosmetic Dentistry?
There are instances when a patient is not a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry. Usually, this is because there are larger underlying issues with the mouth and teeth that must be corrected before cosmetic dentistry can be considered.
If you are suffering from tooth decay, cosmetic dental procedures like crowns and veneers will not work for you because the decay could spread to the root of the tooth, leaving you with a painful issue that could harm your health. If you have tooth decay and want to have a cosmetic dental procedure, you can work with your dentist on a plan to remediate the decay before beginning any cosmetic work.
Additionally, if you have structural issues like cracked or crumbling teeth, you will want to address them before receiving certain cosmetic dental procedures. Since veneers adhere to the surface of the existing teeth, your teeth must be intact and able to support the veneer material.
What is the Process of Getting Cosmetic Dentistry?
The first step in getting cosmetic dentistry is finding a cosmetic dentist you’d like to work with and scheduling a consultation. When it comes to selecting a cosmetic dentist, here are some things to keep in mind:
Research Professionals In Your Area
You should begin your search for a cosmetic dentist online. Search listings of professionals in your area and check out any review websites that have testimonials from former patients. You can also look at the website for the dentists’ practices to see if they have any photographs of cases they’ve handled in their offices.
It is important to consider how each dentist was trained and how long they’ve been in practice. Technically, there is no official designation of “cosmetic dentist” by the American Dental Association, so any dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist. However, those who are truly skilled in this area of expertise will be able to show that they’ve had extensive training and continuing education in cosmetic dentistry.
Additionally, since mastering cosmetic dentistry takes years of extensive experience, newer cosmetic dentists do not have enough refined skill. Ask potential cosmetic dentists how long they have been working in the field and how many years of experience they have in the procedure you’re most interested in.
Get a Consultation
After you pick one or two cosmetic dentists you think you might like to work with, schedule a consultation to meet them in person. Most cosmetic dentists will offer an initial consultation free of charge as you gather more information to make a final decision on whether you’d like a cosmetic dental procedure.
At the consultation, the cosmetic dentist will look at your mouth and teeth and discuss possible treatment options with you. They should also be able to tell you the cost and approximate treatment plan length for each option. Before you make your decision, ask to see some before and after photographs of the same procedures the cosmetic dentist has recommended.
Once you’ve gotten an opinion from one or two cosmetic dentists and seen some of their work, you can move forward on deciding if getting a cosmetic dental procedure is right for you.
What is the Most Common Cosmetic Dental Procedure?
One of the most common cosmetic dental procedures is porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers can correct a number of dental issues and make a big impact on your smile. They can cover up cracks, chips, and discolorations, leaving behind a bright and natural looking smile. Porcelain veneers require little removal of the tooth enamel, and they are relatively low maintenance.
Here is the process involved in getting porcelain veneers:
During an initial consultation with your cosmetic dentist, the dentist will talk with you about your specific concerns and the results you’d like to achieve from your porcelain veneers. The cosmetic dentist will likely take x-rays and impressions of your teeth so they can begin working on your treatment plan.
After your cosmetic dentist has received all the x-rays and impressions they need, they will then begin creating your new smile. They will create digital models of your smile to plan the exact size, thickness, and shade that your permanent veneers should be. After your smile is designed, the information will be sent to a dental lab, where the porcelain veneers will be created.
In order for your porcelain veneers to fit in your mouth, a small amount of tooth enamel will need to be removed. Your cosmetic dentist will remove the appropriate amount of enamel, then take another set of impressions. You will then be given temporary veneers while your permanent set is being created.
Placing the Veneers
Once your permanent veneers are created, your cosmetic dentist will remove the temporary veneers. They will then set the permanent veneers on your teeth using a cement bonding adhesive. After your porcelain veneers are set, the dentist will make any final adjustments and polish them. After that, your veneers are complete, and your smile is like new.
Keeping up with regular dental cleanings and exams is really all the maintenance you need with dental veneers. It is important to note that the porcelain can stain the same way natural teeth do, so be cautious with staining foods and drinks. With the right care, veneers can last up to ten years before needing to be replaced.
Improve Your Smile at Austin Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’re ready to enhance your smile and put your best face forward, Dr. Tejas Patel and the team at Austin Cosmetic Dentistry are here to help. Request a free consultation today to hear how our high-quality veneers can work for you.
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