Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the functionality) of teeth, gums and/or bite. It primarily focuses on improvement in dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance.
Many dentists refer to themselves as “cosmetic dentists” regardless of their specific education, specialty, training, and experience in this field. This has been considered unethical with a predominant objective of marketing to patients.
The American Dental Association does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a formal specialty area of dentistry.However, there are still dentists that promote themselves as cosmetic dentists.
the addition of a dental material to teeth or gums – examples: bonding, porcelain veneers (laminates), crowns (caps), gum grafts
the removal of tooth structure or gums – examples: enameloplasty, gingivectomy
neither adding nor removing dental materials, tooth structure, or gums – examples: teeth whitening (bleaching), laser whitening, gum depigmentation
straightening of teeth accompanied by improvement in appearance of face – orthodontics
Whitening, or “tooth bleaching”, is the most common cosmetic dental procedure. The doctor will first evaluate your teeth and smile to determine whether whitening is right for you. In some cases, a different cosmetic procedure may better meet your expectations, but whitening is a safe, fast and easy process that is effective for almost everyone. While many whitening options are now available, including over the counter products, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth.
Laser whitening is a teeth whitening technique in which gums are covered with rubber and a bleaching chemical is applied on the teeth. A beam of argon laser, which is intended to accelerate the process of bleaching, is then projected upon the teeth. This laser activates the bleaching chemical and lightens the teeth color. Laser whitening is said to be six times more effective in teeth whitening compared to other procedures.
Tooth reshaping removes parts of the enamel to improve the appearance of the tooth. It may be used to correct a small chip, or to alter the length, shape or position of teeth, as well as when there is tooth size discrepancy; it can be used to correct crooked or excessively long teeth. The removed enamel is irreplaceable, and may sometimes expose dentin. It is also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, contouring, recontouring, slenderizing, stripping. This procedure offers fast results and can even be a substitute for braces under certain circumstances.
Bonding is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is applied to a tooth’s surface, sculpted into shape, hardened and then polished. An example of a bonding substance are inlays and onlays, which are used to repair decayed & cracked teeth. These are helped at those parts of teeth when a filling is too small to correct the decayed teeth and a crown would be excessive.
Dental bridges are used to replace one or more missing teeth. Teeth on both sides of the space left by the missing teeth are prepared. A bridge is made up of abutments, the teeth that are prepped, and the missing, false teeth, which are called pontics. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth and is cemented in. Bridges can consist of more than three teeth in total and the viability of any bridge is usually determined by applying Ante’s Law and assessing where in the mouth the teeth are. Most bridges are fixed, they can not be removed. Fixed bridges cannot be taken out in the same way that partial dentures can. In areas of the mouth that are under less stress, such as the front teeth, a cantilever bridge may be used. Cantilever bridges or Maryland Bridges are used to replace anterior or front missing teeth, are minimally invasive but do have a reputation for failure. Bridges require commitment to serious oral hygiene and carry risk. The average life of bridges is similar to that of crowns which is nearly ten years.
Veneers are ultra-thin, custom-made porcelain laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth. They are an option for closing gaps, enhance the shape, or change the color of teeth that do not respond well to whitening procedures. In the majority of the cases, some level of tooth reduction is necessary for optimal results. To achieve a pleasing smile, dentists fabricate diagnostic mock-ups, which act as a tooth preparation guide before the fabrication of veneers, it allows the dentist to visualize the changes needed to be done on the patient’s teeth with respect to size, shape and proportion, its relation with gingival-contour, lip contour and smile line. Mock ups can be a great aid in fabricating preevaluation temporaries, which can give a preliminary evaluation to the esthetics, phonetics and teeth occlusion, in addition, it gives an opportunity to the clinicians to check if they need to do any corrections.
Dental implants are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth. According to ICOI (International Congress of Oral Implantologists) there are commonly three parts to what it is described as an implant: the implant device which is predominantly made of titanium (which is inserted into the bone), the abutment, and a dental crown or a denture which are connected to the implant through the abutment.
A gum lift is a cosmetic dental procedure that raises and sculpts the gum line. The procedure involves reshaping the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.
Invisalign treatment is being used as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Invisalign helps in treating spacing, crowding, and overlapping teeth to create the smile patients desire. This system has treated hundreds of thousands of patients and has been around for over a decade. Clear aligners are comfortable, invisible and easy to clean.
Bite reclamation is for patients who have had years of excessive wear to their teeth due to grinding or acid reflux can alter their vertical dimension. This gives them a closed or shorter look to their face and smile. By opening up their bite, a qualified professional can reclaim their vertical dimension.
In the past, dental fillings and other tooth restorations were made of gold, amalgam and other metals—some of which were veneered with porcelain.Now, dental work can be made entirely of porcelain or composite materials that more closely mimic the appearance of natural tooth structure. These tooth-colored materials are bonded to the underlying tooth structure with resin adhesives. Unlike silver fillings (amalgams) they are entirely free of mercury. Cosmetic dentistry has evolved to cover many new procedures and new dental materials are constantly introduced.