Cosmetic dentistry is primarily concerned with the way your teeth look rather than how they function. While the word ‘cosmetic’ can often have patients worried that the results won’t look natural, the truth is that the results of skillfully executed cosmetic procedures are so natural-looking that even you may forget that they’ve been altered.
Whitening is easily the most requested cosmetic service offered by general dentists today. This process uses peroxide as its active ingredient to penetrate the tooth’s enamel and brighten its shade. If you are interested in teeth whitening, ask your dentist about this brief and affordable service.
Do you have a tooth that has been turning grey over time? This is often the result of decay occurring inside the tooth after a root canal and indicates that the tooth wasn’t properly cleaned before being sealed. In these situations, bleaching the outside of the tooth will not be sufficient to correct the discolouration. Instead, your dentist will create a small opening in the affected tooth using a drill. Once access to the inner tooth has been achieved, bleaching solution is injected into the chamber and is left to take effect over several days. Following bleaching, you will return to your dentist to have the tooth rinsed, cleaned and sealed.
If you have crooked teeth but your bite is otherwise functional, straightening them may be considered a cosmetic intervention – intended primarily to improve their appearance. While significantly crooked teeth may require the heavy-handedness of traditional metal braces, your dentist may suggest Invisalign® therapy to straighten mild to moderately crooked teeth without the appearance and experience of metal braces. This method uses aligners made of thin transparent material that fits over your teeth and offers slight pressure throughout the day to coax the teeth into ideal placement over time. If you’ve always wanted straight teeth but didn’t want to deal with the adjustments, soft tissue injury and appearance of metal braces – talk to your dentist about whether Invisalign® therapy might be for you.
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2. Check Up
If you’ve lost a tooth and prefer not to have a gap along your dental arch, your dentist may recommend a bridge. A bridge uses a healthy natural tooth on either side of the gap to anchor and stabilize a false tooth between them. Natural teeth will be prepared by rounding them down to fit inside of a custom crown of your natural tooth’s same shape and shade which is then cemented to the teeth. The bridge sits on top of the gums and must still be cleaned regularly to ensure no irritation to the soft tissues that surround it.
If an injury or infection has left you requiring root canal therapy in order to retain your natural tooth, the tooth will be cleaned out and the nerve tissue will be removed before the tooth is filled with gutta percha (a rubbery substance). Once the tooth has been filled, in most cases it will require a crown in order to restore strength to the tooth and prevent breakage. A crown is made of resilient composite material that will match the appearance of your natural tooth and blend seamlessly with the teeth on either side.
Dental implants offer a long-term solution for tooth loss by replacing the natural tooth and root, rather than just the part of the tooth that you see. Implants use titanium rods to act as roots and are drilled into the bone tissue near the site of the lost tooth. Once the false root is stable and integrated with the tissues that surround it, a false tooth can be attached to it. A successful implant can last decades and protects the jaw from bone loss.
For small chips, breaks or imperfections, bonding may be the best option. Bonding consists of composite resin that is painted onto the tooth and cured in layers. Bonding can be tinted to match the rest of your teeth perfectly but will have to be redone more often than veneers.
Imagine the enamel of your teeth as an eggshell that protects the tooth from damage. When veneers are placed, the enamel is etched down slightly, and a new shell (veneer) is adhered in its place. These shells are made of porcelain and are colour-matched to guarantee a natural appearance. The process of having veneers installed can require several clinic visits but the results will last for years with proper care.
Veneers can be used to reshape the tooth, make it appear straighter, or fix gaps and overlap between teeth. They can even be used to fix stained or discoloured teeth, and they are very natural in their appearance.
With cosmetic dentistry, achieving the smile of your dreams is possible. If you have concerns about the appearance of your smile, talk to your dentist about what solutions are right for you.
If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentists, contact our clinic today.