Have you considered cosmetic dentistry, but it seems too self-indulgent? Studies by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry show that an attractive smile (one with straight, white, evenly-spaced teeth) makes a person seem more intelligent, friendly, and successful.
A different study by Kelton Research found that after teeth whitening, job applicants were more likely to be hired and earn a higher salary. So, in addition to making you feel great about your appearance, an attractive smile can have a positive impact on your social, professional, and romantic pursuits.
In today’s blog, you’ll learn about three of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures, as well as what treatment entails and how long the results last. We’ll cover:
Cosmetic bonding and contouring
White fillings and crowns
Veneers have earned the reputation for being the most transformative cosmetic dentistry procedure. These handmade porcelain shells are crafted with layers of strong, semi-translucent porcelain that looks like beautiful, natural tooth enamel.
Veneers create a completely new look by altering the size, shape, coloring, and alignment of front teeth. We attach veneers to the front surface of teeth that show when the patient smiles. Some patients want veneers on the top teeth, while others prefer veneers on both top and bottom teeth.
Because of their durability, porcelain veneers can last 20 years or more in a patient who practices good oral health.
Note that this procedure is not reversible. Once you have veneers, you cannot go back to life without them. When the dentist secures veneers, he must first remove some tooth enamel from the teeth being treated. By reducing the thickness of natural teeth prior to veneer placement, we ensure that the restorations will look uniform and natural.
Expect two to three office visits to design, fabricate, and permanently secure your veneers.
As for cost, porcelain veneers do have a significant price tag. Considering that the patient won’t need additional cosmetic procedures and that veneers can last for two decades, the cost is reasonable.
Benefits of Porcelain Veneers:
Can be completed within one month
Patient can avoid cosmetic braces, bonding, and crowns
Lasts 20+ years
Closes gaps and uneven spacing
Corrects chips and flaws
Permanently whitens front teeth
Covers permanent enamel stains
To brighten and restore luster to natural tooth enamel, professional teeth whitening has become the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure overall. Over-the-counter whitening products, like strips and toothpaste, do not have the potency of professional-grade whitening. Patients can expect a change of up to 10 shades lighter tooth enamel with professional teeth whitening.
There are two ways to administer teeth whitening. The fastest option is in-office teeth whitening. In one or two visits, you can enjoy a boldly brighter smile.
The other option is home whitening with professional-grade gel and custom trays. Home whitening involves wearing gel-filled trays for a few hours daily, for seven to fourteen days.
Many patients opt for in-office whitening, followed by home whitening for touch-ups, which are necessary for maintaining your bright smile when teeth begin to discolor again.
In-office whitening has a heftier price tag than professional home whitening, but the patient sees instant results. Both in-office and home whitening yield similar results. White teeth turn back the clock five or ten years, in some cases, making the patient look younger, healthier, and more attractive.
Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening:
Fast results: from one or two visits to one or two weeks, depending on the delivery mode you choose
Dramatic results: enamel lightening of up to 10 shades
Easy to maintain with home whitening for touch-ups
Cosmetic Bonding & Contouring
Cosmetic dental bonding is an additive procedure. We correct chips, uneven spacing, and gaps between teeth by applying and sculpting resin, shade-matched to blend with the tooth’s natural enamel. Bonding is performed chair-side in a single visit. In some cases, the dentist may advise a veneer of bonding to cover the entire front surface of a tooth.
Bonding lasts seven to 10 years in most cases. Though it’s more affordable than veneers, bonding is not nearly as strong as veneers. Also, over time the patient may notice staining in the seams where bonding meets natural tooth enamel. These stains are difficult to remove and may necessitate replacement of the bonding.
Contouring is a subtractive procedure. We smooth the edges of sharp, ridged, or chipped teeth by sculpting the natural enamel. This treatment is ideal for smoothing out small chips or sharp canines. Uniform, straight teeth edges contribute to the beauty of a smile.
Bonding and contouring are inexpensive cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Benefits of Bonding & Contouring:
Results in one visit
White Fillings & Crowns
If you need a new filling or crown, or you want metal fillings or crowns replaced, ask our cosmetic dentists about shade-matched composite resin fillings and white ceramic crowns.
We create white fillings by tinting composite resin to match the affected tooth’s enamel. After the tooth is prepared (and, if applicable, the old filling is removed), Dr. Morton or Dr. Silverman will fill the cavity with the shade-matched resin and then harden it with a soft curing light. White fillings are created chair-side and require just one appointment. With good oral health, a composite filling can last five to seven years or longer.
White crowns are made from durable, esthetic dental ceramics (porcelain) in a dental lab. We will prepare your tooth (and remove the old crown, if applicable), then take a dental impression of the affected tooth and opposing teeth. The cosmetic dentist will also use a shade guide to determine the perfect shade for your new crown. We want the new crown to blend naturally with surrounding teeth so that it appears natural. You’ll wear a temporary crown until the permanent restoration is ready.
After the lab delivers your new crown to us, you will come in so that the dentist can replace your temporary with the permanent crown. He’ll secure your new crown with long-lasting dental cement, then check your bite. The crown should fit nicely with opposing teeth and have a tight seal. Your ceramic crown should last 15 to 20 years if you maintain good oral hygiene, visit the dentist regularly, and avoid accidents.