If you are unhappy with your smile, cosmetic dentistry offers the ability to boost your smile and your self-confidence. At Soundview Family Dental, we understand how the appearance of your teeth can affect all aspects of your life. But what is cosmetic dentistry? Is it safe for your teeth and your overall health? While not all cosmetic dental treatments are good for everyone, they are all safe for most patients and these procedures can help give you the appearance and smile you are looking for.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
So, what exactly is cosmetic dentistry? Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth and your smile. There are a variety of different treatments available that address everything from the color of your teeth to their position in your smile. In addition, many cosmetic procedures are used in order to protect, strengthen, or save your natural teeth and help your overall oral health. Which treatments offer benefits for you will depend on your overall oral health and the outcomes you desire.
Are cosmetic dentistry procedures safe?
When performed by qualified and experienced dental professionals, cosmetic dentistry offers a very safe and effective treatment solution for many different dental concerns.
However, some treatments, such as teeth whitening, are targeted by DIY companies that offer home whitening kits. While these can be an effective and safe option when you closely follow the instructions, overuse of at-home whitening products (and certain products that do not utilize the proper ingredients) can cause damage to the protective enamel of your teeth.
Common cosmetic dentistry treatments
If your teeth are keeping you from smiling, cosmetic dentistry may offer the solutions you are looking for. But what procedures are included with cosmetic dentistry, how safe are the procedures, and what exactly do each of these procedures do to help your smile?
Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures and addresses tooth discoloration often caused by years of staining. Teeth whitening comes in many different application options. While a simple stroll through your local store’s toothpaste aisle will reveal a wide selection of at-home whitening products that can provide a slight improvement in the appearance of your teeth, whitening treatments offered by your dental professional can help you achieve a much more noticeable improvement.
Dentists often offer both in-office and specialized at-home treatment options. In-office treatments often offer the fastest results possible, allowing you to see an immediate change in the appearance of your teeth. While teeth whitening is considered very safe and effective, some at-home, over-the-counter whitening treatments and their overuse can damage the protective enamel of your teeth, increasing your risk of dental decay.
Inlays and onlays
Cavities happen even to those who follow a comprehensive oral healthcare routine. While fillings are the standard treatment options for cavities, sometimes the decayed area is too extensive for a standard filling. Inlays and onlays offer another option. An inlay or an onlay is a premade filling made from porcelain or a composite resin that matches the color of your natural tooth and is designed to fit exactly into the decayed area, restoring both the appearance and structure of the decayed tooth. Not only is this procedure safe, but it is very effective in both improving your smile as well as the health of your tooth.
Dental aligners work similarly to traditional braces in moving your teeth to help improve your smile. Whether you have overcrowding or spaces between teeth, dental aligners are an invisible treatment option that slowly moves your teeth to their desired location. Not only can this treatment help improve your smile, but it can also help improve overall oral health and function. While aligners can cause discomfort during treatment as your teeth move, they are a safe and effective treatment option.
Dental crowns are a restorative and cosmetic treatment option. They are essentially a porcelain cap that fits over the natural tooth and can be used to correct misshapen teeth, chipped teeth, or decayed teeth to help save the tooth structure. They are often used after a root canal procedure in order to provide structural support and save your tooth after extensive decay. This is a safe and effective treatment option that has a long history of dental success. Crowns can last for years, but replacement down the road is often necessary.
Dental veneers are a thin porcelain shell that is directly bonded to the surface of your tooth in order to correct issues of minor tooth alignment, chips, cracks, and stains that cannot be addressed with teeth whitening. Veneers are safe and effective treatment options that give you the overall appearance you desire without the need for additional treatment options.
If a missing tooth is keeping you from smiling, a dental bridge may be the solution. Dental bridges utilize a pontic, or replacement tooth, that attaches to the neighboring natural teeth with dental crowns. These are available in both fixed (permanent bridges) or a removable option that can make cleaning easier. Both options are very safe and effective at replacing a missing tooth and restoring your natural smile.
Similar to inlays/onlays and veneers, dental bonding is used to fill cavities, restore chips or cracks in the teeth, cover up tooth staining, and even fill in small gaps between the teeth. Dental bonding involves the application of a tooth-colored resin to the surface of the teeth that is then cured with a high-density light. Your dentist can shape this resin to match your natural tooth or create a new shape, such as in the case of a chipped tooth or uneven tooth height.
If your teeth are healthy, a smile makeover may be all you need to achieve the smile you really desire. This treatment option evaluates your smile as a whole and addresses your specific concerns. Your dentist can then choose specific treatment options that will deliver these results.
Full mouth reconstructions
If your smile is affected by multiple different concerns, a full-mouth restoration can offer a solution by combining many of the different dental procedures described above. This addresses any possible cosmetic concerns as well as alignment issues or missing teeth which can contribute to alignment problems, risks of decay and poor oral health, and the risk of tooth loss.
Choosing a safe and effective cosmetic dental experience
When it comes to your smile, a good oral hygiene routine is the most important thing you can do to maintain good oral health. However, life happens. Cavities, dental injuries, and even genetics can play a role in how your teeth appear and how they affect your smile. Finding a dentist that specializes in cosmetic dental options can help you achieve the smile you desire. At Soundview Family Dental, our team of professionals understands just how important a smile can be to your overall health and self-confidence. We work with you to create a treatment plan that helps achieve your goals and gives you the smile that really makes you happy.