If you feel insecure about your teeth, you’re not alone: over half of US adults are in the same boat. Almost three in five even admit to covering their mouths when they laugh because of this. Half also say they often try their best to smile without showing their teeth.
The thing is, such insecurities can place a severe toll on your mental health and well-being. Studies suggest that dental maladies are significant risk factors for having low self-esteem. This, in turn, can lead to more serious health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry can provide you with many ways to counter such risks. With the help of a cosmetic dentist, you can regain your confidence in your smile.
The big question now is, what exactly is this branch of dentistry and how can it benefit you?
This post rounds up all the key facts you need to know about cosmetic dentistry, so be sure to read on!
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is a type of dentistry aimed to enhance the appearance of the teeth and gums. You have many cosmetic dental options, ranging from color correction to teeth replacement. Restorations are also available for most types of dental damage, such as chips and cracks.
The ultimate goal of cosmetic dentistry is to boost your overall appearance. Teeth and gums that look amazing, after all, can foster improved self-confidence. This, in turn, can help you smile more, which scientists say can really make you happier.
Are All Cosmetic Dental Options Purely Aesthetic?
Not necessarily, as cosmetic dental options, such as crowns, can help with bruxism. Bruxism is a condition characterized by unconscious teeth clenching, grinding, or gnashing. According to Boisedentist.com, awake bruxism and sleep bruxism are sleep disorders.
Moreover, some types of cosmetic dentistry, like bonding, can help strengthen the teeth. Dental crowns and veneers can also give the teeth a better structure. This, in turn, may help reduce the risks of further tooth damage.
Then, there are dental implants, which can help prevent further bone loss. They have also shown to promote better overall nutrition and oral health.
What Are the Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Services?
Among the most common cosmetic dentistry treatments are dental bonding, crowns, and veneers. A lot of people also opt for teeth whitening or color correction/balancing.
If you want to correct several flaws at the same time, you may also consider a smile makeover. It’s a treatment plan that combines various cosmetic dental treatments.
Below we’ll take a closer look at each of your cosmetic dental options.
Bonding enables the successful attachment of filling material to the tooth enamel. The materials used in them replicate the appearance of the natural tooth. They can be a stand-alone treatment, but they can also serve as an “adhesive” for other treatments.
Bonding is one of the quickest and most affordable restorative cosmetic dental services. Dentists use it to fix chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. It can even help close gaps between the teeth without having to get braces.
Dental veneers consist of either porcelain or composite resin materials. These are extremely thin shells that go on top of the front surface of the teeth. As with dental bonding, veneers also mimic the color of natural teeth.
Veneers are an excellent option for fixing minor tooth issues such as cracks and chips. As they go on top of the teeth, they can also camouflage stains, including those that whitening can’t fix.
In addition, veneers can help correct minor cases of microdontia. Microdontia is a condition wherein some (or all) of the teeth are smaller than normal. According to scientists, it affects between 1.5% and 2% of the population.
If you decide to get dental veneers, consider investing in the porcelain kind. With proper placement and care, these “shells” can last for up to 20 years. Studies also found that porcelain is more durable and longer-lasting than composite resin.
Dental crowns, unlike veneers, go over the entire teeth, hence the term “crown.” You can think of them as cosmetic teeth caps that cover all sides of the teeth, from top to bottom. This construction allows them to provide a higher level of protection for the teeth.
Crowns are often the go-to for teeth that have more significant decay or damages. That’s because these “caps” replace the entire external area of the teeth, down to the part nearest the gums.
As such, patients who have severe tooth breakages may be better off with crowns than veneers. The same goes for those who have considerable worn teeth enamel. It’s also in this way that people with bruxism may benefit from cosmetic dental crowns.
Dental implants replace lost teeth, starting from the visible part, down to the roots. The implant itself, made of a titanium device, replaces lost or damaged tooth roots. An “abutment” then screws onto this device, and it will act as the post for the artificial tooth.
Of all teeth replacement options, dental implants have the highest longevity rate. That’s because they require surgical implantation into or right above the jaw bone. This procedure then allows them to integrate with the bone itself.
Dental implant placement does require quite a lengthy procedure, usually a few months. They’re much better and more durable than dentures, though, as they can last for up to 20 years or more.
In addition, implants function much like natural teeth since they attach to the bone. This, in turn, stimulates the jaw bone, just like how permanent teeth do. Stimulation is crucial to preserving the bone and gums.
The prostheses (artificial teeth) used in implants also looks much better than dentures. This is because they go into the gums, unlike dentures that are superficial.
Since implants act much like natural teeth, their upkeep is similar. Meaning, you just need to keep flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You don’t have to use the same special cleaning formulas that dentures require.
Cosmetic dentists can also straighten your teeth with the use of braces or aligners. Regardless of your age, whether you’re still a teen or already in your 30s or 40s, you can get straighter teeth. In fact, at least one in five teeth-straightening patients in the US are adults.
Also, you now have more options aside from the traditional, metal, “train-track” braces. These are still popular, but clear aligners are also becoming more common. Unlike conventional braces, these aligners are removable and inconspicuous.
That’s right! People may not even notice that you’re wearing clear teeth-straighteners.
Moreover, the removability of aligners makes it easier to clean your teeth. Since you can take them off before meals, you don’t have to worry about food getting stuck between your teeth.
Extrinsic tooth stains are those that only affect the outermost part of the teeth. In some cases, teeth whitening toothpaste or strips may help reduce their appearance.
However, there are more stubborn stains that can be intrinsic. These are the stains that occur deep within the surface of the teeth. If extrinsic stains affect the enamel, intrinsic stains cause discoloration in the dentin.
If you’ve given at-home whitening fixes a shot and they didn’t work, it may be time for in-office treatment. A cosmetic dentist will use special whitening agents or laser to get rid of stubborn stains. These are more effective, as they can penetrate the enamel, down to the dentin.
Periodontal (gum) disease affects an estimated 47% of US adults aged 30 and older. Unfortunately, this condition is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist more often if you have periodontitis.
As your gum tissues heal though, you may notice that they are now either too high (upper arch) or too low (lower arch). In this case, your teeth likely look longer than normal.
In some people who’ve had gum disease, the opposite may occur: the gum tissues overgrow. Overgrown gums can make the teeth look smaller than they should.
Either way, a cosmetic dentist can fix both problems through gum reshaping.
The goal of gum reshaping, also known as gum contouring, is to even out the gum line. In people who have “too high” or “too low” gum lines, the dentist can add gum tissue to balance it out. In those with overgrown gums, the dentist can trim them to expose more of the teeth surface.
Regain Your Confidence With Cosmetic Dental Treatments
There you have it, your ultimate guide on cosmetic dentistry, from its types to its benefits. As you can see, there’s a cosmetic treatment for almost all types of flaws that affect the teeth and gums. So, if there’s anything wrong with your pearly whites or gums, a cosmetic dentist can likely fix it for you.
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