Discover the confidence of a beautiful, healthy smile with cosmetic dentistry.
Over the years, cosmetic dentistry has risen in popularity as technology and procedures have improved. This ensures the treatments look more realistic than ever while also becoming more affordable, faster, and easier to receive. Another reason cosmetic dentistry has become so popular is that it recognizes that it’s important for you to love your smile—and it aims to help you do just that. Cosmetic dentistry will never do this at the expense of your oral health. In fact, many treatments actively improve your oral health. If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry but aren’t sure which treatment is right for you, here’s a breakdown of 5 common cosmetic dentistry procedures that may help you regain confidence in the health and beauty of your smile.
1. Whitening Your Teeth With Cosmetic Dentistry
Teeth whitening treatments are a quick and relatively inexpensive way to improve the appearance of your smile. While you can get over-the-counter teeth whitening strips for less money, they don’t mold exactly to your teeth and can’t provide nearly the level of whitening that professional treatments offer. They can also irritate your gums, and may even damage your teeth over time if you don’t follow the directions on the box. In contrast, professional whitening treatments use trays that are made specifically for your teeth. The trays protect your gums from being irritated and ensure each tooth gets completely whitened; because of this, the treatments get your teeth between three and eight shades lighter than they were previously. Professional treatments can be done in a single appointment at our office or over the course of several days in the comfort of your own home—you get to choose!
Using whitening toothpaste, practicing great oral hygiene, and limiting staining foods and drinks can help your teeth stay white longer, as can getting a touch-up treatment once or twice a year. Your teeth can stay white for up to three years if you practice these habits, but they can lose their whiteness after just a few months if you don’t care for them. It’s a good idea to consider getting whitening treatments before you receive cosmetic treatments such as a crown or bonding; porcelain and resin aren’t affected by whitening treatments, so if you match your restoration to your existing teeth and decide to get them whitened a few months or years down the road, your restoration will suddenly stand out.
2. Using Veneers to Transform Your Smile
Porcelain veneers are an incredibly popular cosmetic dental procedure. The process involves shaving away a small layer of enamel from your tooth and placing a thin porcelain shell over it. Veneers can be used to erase gaps between teeth. They are also used to treat stained, chipped, cracked, slightly crooked, worn down, or uneven teeth. They’re an incredibly versatile treatment that can be used to remedy an issue with a single tooth or to transform your entire smile. During the design process for your unique veneers, you’ll work with Dr. Cooley Bentz to choose the size, shape, and shade of your veneers. This ensures that they look natural and complement your facial features.
In addition to improving your smile’s appearance, veneers can protect chipped and cracked teeth from further damage, help remedy tooth sensitivity from enamel erosion, and protect against decay by making it easier for you to clean crooked teeth. Since you need to design your veneers and wait for them to be made in an outside lab, it generally takes several appointments over the course of a few weeks to get veneers. But if you care for them with great oral hygiene, the durable, stain-resistant porcelain veneers can last between 15 and 25 years before you will need to replace them.
3. Making Minor Changes with Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is a tooth-colored resin that’s placed on your teeth. The resin is then buffed out to match the gloss of your natural teeth, allowing it to look completely natural. Although bonding can’t do everything veneers can, it can close the gaps between teeth or make minor changes to their shape. It can also repair teeth that are cracked, chipped, or stained. Dental bonding is faster and less expensive than veneers, sometimes only taking about 30 minutes to complete. The major drawback with bonding, however, is that the resin is vulnerable to staining and usually lasts between three and ten years. Then it will need to be replaced. The life of the treatment depends heavily upon your oral hygiene and dietary habits. Even if you’re very careful, they have a shorter lifespan than veneers. For some patients, however, the lower cost of dental bonding and the fact that the treatment doesn’t need to be permanent makes it worth it.
4. Repairing Damaged Teeth with Crowns
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped porcelain coverings that are placed directly over your natural tooth, which must be shaved down to fit inside the crown. Crowns are often used to restore the appearance and function of teeth that have suffered severe damage due to an injury or a major cavity. They also serve to protect the teeth from further damage. They can hold cracked teeth together or transform the appearance of a crooked, uneven, or oddly shaped tooth. Like with veneers, your crown will be made specifically for you.. You can choose its size, shape, and shade with Dr. Cooley Bentz to ensure you love the way it feels and looks. Crowns generally take several weeks and a couple of appointments to place. In some cases we’re able to design, mill, and place your crown right in our office in a single appointment. They don’t require any specialized care, but you do need to commit to following a good oral hygiene routine—including flossing daily—in order to ensure your crown lasts as long as possible. With proper care, they can last around 15 years.
5. Replacing Missing Teeth With Dental Bridges
Porcelain bridges consist of one or two pontics, or false teeth, which are supported by a crown on each end. These crowns are placed on teeth next to the gap in your smile, anchoring the bridge firmly in place so that you can eat normally. You won’t have to worry about a bridge falling out of your mouth! Because they’re made specifically for you from a mold of your mouth and milled from porcelain, they’re durable, stain-resistant, and look exactly like real teeth. When you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth tend to begin shifting into the gap it left. This can cause long-term oral health issues by making it harder to clean your teeth properly. As a result, bridges do more than simply improve the appearance of your smile and make it easier for you to eat normally. They also protect your oral health by keeping each of your teeth where they belong.
Like with other treatments on this list, you should practice great oral hygiene so that your bridge lasts as long as possible. You will also need to clean under the pontic of the bridge with a special brush every day. If you take good care of them, bridges can last between 10 and 15 years. Although bridges are a great tooth replacement option, you’ll need to love your results for a very long time. Do your research and ask Dr. Cooley Bentz about each of your treatment options before you make a decision.
Cosmetic dentistry brings you confidence in your health and appearance.
While cosmetic dentistry may sound like its treatments would only be surface-level, many go far beyond the surface. When you’ve completed your treatment, we hope that you’ll be able to find newfound confidence in the long-term health and appearance of your smile. You can schedule a consultation today if you have any questions.