Cosmetic Dentistry – What is cosmetic dentistry, why do it, what are the gains?
Cosmetic dentistry is all about the search for beauty, usually in the classical sense not the impressionistic or abstract sense like Monet or Picasso. The Greeks described the importance and concept of beauty. To the Greeks beauty was all about symmetry, balance and harmony. Shapes were square, round or pyramidal, the golden rectangle. Math provided beauty because it included symmetry, balance and harmony. It all fit together. There was alignment.
The nature of beauty became a more central intellectual question with the emergence aesthetics in the mid-eighteenth century. Aesthetics took beauty as its special province, above all in the domain of art.
You’re wondering why this brief history lesson when speaking of cosmetic dentistry. Although the American Dental Association does not offer an official certification or board specialty, dentists acquire cosmetic dentistry skills over years of training. As a result, cosmetic dentistry is an art form. In fact, cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily functionality) of teeth, gums and/or bite. It primarily focuses on dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance.
There are two dental specialties that predominantly focus on dental aesthetics: Prosthodontics and Orthodontics. It can also include periodontics (the plastic surgeon of dentistry).
What does cosmetic dentistry involve?
Typically, cosmetic dentistry involves:
- The addition of a dental material to teeth or gums – bonding, porcelain veneers (laminates), crowns (caps), gum grafts.
- The removal of tooth structure or gums – enameloplasty, gingivectomy.
- Neither adding or removing dental materials, tooth structure or gums – teeth whitening (bleaching), laser whitening, gum depigmentation.
- Straightening of teeth accompanied by improvement in appearance of face – orthodontics.
Cosmetic dentistry usually follows along the lines of symmetry and harmony. Certainly brightening teeth is something most people desire, removing stains (coffee, cigarettes). Everyone would like to be proud of their smile and show it off, but most do not because of gaps in their teeth, yellow teeth, uneven gums, missing teeth, etc. Cosmetic dentistry could be used to fix these issues.
Beauty is perception (in the eyes of the beholder). Many people believe that beautiful people are more intelligent and trustworthy. Some studies determined more attractive people are more likely to be employed and at a better salary. As a result, many people pursue ways to create a better smile. Cosmetic dentistry in the Western world is all about lines (symmetry) and same coloring, same heights (harmony). It follows the Greek view of beauty.
Most cosmetic procedures are elective rather than essential although some cases of treatment provide restorative benefits. Insurance will usually pay for procedures that are medically necessary. Elective cases are usually not reimbursable. The most common procedures used in cosmetic dentistry are fairly simple. However, certain procedures require more complex and specialized care.
Composite bonding refers to the repair of decayed, damaged or discolored teeth using material that resembles the color of tooth enamel. Your dentist drills out the tooth decay and applies the composite onto the tooth’s surface, then “sculpts” it into the right shape before curing it with a high-intensity light.
Composite bonding (or bonding) effectively covers tooth damage while restoring the appearance of the original tooth. Often, bonding even improves the look of the original tooth or teeth!
Compared to many other cosmetic procedures, bonding is inexpensive, making it an economical and effective treatment for patients with decay, chipped or cracked teeth or worn-down tooth edges.
Dental veneers are normally constructed from medical-grade ceramic, and individually created for each patient to ensure that they resemble the patient’s natural teeth. Frequently, veneers and real teeth remain indistinguishable from each other. Additionally, dentists rely on veneers many cosmetic problems, including crooked teeth, damaged or cracked enamel, and unsightly gaps between teeth.
Dentists apply veneers to the front of each tooth using a dental adhesive.
Teeth whitening remains one of the best-known and simplest forms of cosmetic dentistry. Frequently, dentists recommend teeth whitening when teeth become stained and worn due to the effects of some foods, drinks, medications and personal habits including tobacco use.
Professional teeth whitening or teeth bleaching takes place in your dentist’s office, after your dentist first ensures that no plaque, tartar, or other debris are present. Plus, properly applied bleach lightens teeth to shades even lighter than those of the original teeth!
People can use teeth whitening products from the drug store, but most effectively and fast is to have it done professionally in your dentist’s office.
Dental implants replace teeth that are lost as a result of an accident, extraction or other dental issues. Your dentist places a small titanium screw into the jaw where the missing tooth used to be. The screw, after bonding to the bone, becomes support for a crown. Once the crown is placed on the screw, implants fit in perfectly with their surrounding natural teeth. Because the jaw’s bone and supporting tissues fuse to the implant, implants are permanently secured into place.
However, during the screw placement period patients need to be particularly attendant to their dental hygiene. Food debris and plaque must not be allowed to accumulate in the area of the implant!
The most important aspect when considering cosmetic dentistry procedures is to go to an office that has the expertise, training, and specialists that can fully accomplish what you are looking for. For many people, a team approach (periodontist, orthodontist, and prosthodontist and an attached dental lab) offer the best opportunity for achieving a desired look. This may not be all the time but dependent upon what you want it is better to have it available in one place than different appointments in different offices.
Columbia Dental has all these features in a single office. Columbia Dental is here to meet your needs and create your beautiful smile with you. Your smile can be the lead to a new job, a new or closer romance, a build upon your own self-esteem. Don’t go through the rest of your life with your mouth closed and tight lipped. Your smile should light your way. How can we help you?