The Wonderful World of Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is defined as any dental work performed on the teeth to improve their appearance. It’s not at all surprising that cosmetic dentistry is big business because very few are really ever satisfied with their original set of pearly whites. Ever see any of those image makeover programs on TV? Isn’t it true that one of the first things always tackled on the image makeover process is the improvement on one’s set of teeth?Now, some may need just a touch of whitening due to eating, drinking and smoking habits, while others require more drastic cosmetic dentistry measures such as almost always the case when you have chipped, misaligned or missing teeth. So which one applies to you? Maybe a look at today’s leading cosmetic dentistry procedures will help you decide.Cosmetic Dentistry Type No. 1 – What is Tooth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is perhaps the easiest and cheapest type of cosmetic dentistry you can tap to simply make a good first impression. People opt for this cosmetic dentistry solution if they are only after improving the color of their teeth and nothing more. The tooth whitening process is very easy. For instance, with at-home tooth whitening solutions, you get a ‘whitening kit’. This will include instructions and materials for you to make your own teeth impressions, which you then send off to an approved dental lab.The impressions are used to create a customized tray for you, which you then use to put the whitening gel on (also provided in the whitening kit). From here, it’s simply a matter of using the whitening tray and gel as often as you like till you get the level of whiteness you desire.Average Cost: $150 and above per tooth whitening system (includes gels, trays, etc).Main Pros: inexpensive; easy to perform, convenient to apply.Main Cons: requires maintenance.Cosmetic Dentistry Type No. 2 – What are Porcelain Veneers?
Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin sheets of porcelain that are bonded or molded to the front side of your teeth using a curing light. Although considered a tooth whitening solution (and that indeed they are), this cosmetic dentistry option offers so much more than just whitening your teeth. Porcelain dental veneers can be used to remove gaps between your teeth, fill out any chips on your teeth, and others. In short, they change the outline of your teeth, enabling you to flash a ‘perfect set’ of pearly whites.This cosmetic dentistry procedure entails an initial visit to your cosmetic dentist where you both discuss what you want changed in your teeth’s appearance. If all’s well, a second visit is scheduled and on this session your teeth will be reduced (by about .5mm) and a mold for the porcelain veneers created. The actual manufacture of the porcelain veneers will take about a week. Once ready, you need to go to the dentist again for a fitting (hopefully, it is the first and final fitting as well).Average Cost: $500 to $2000 per toothMain Pros: looks very natural; stain-resistant.Main Cons: irreversible procedure; can be quire expensive.Cosmetic Dentistry Type No. 3 – What is Dental Bonding?
Dental bonding is a form of cosmetic dentistry where a dental composite filling is applied on your teeth. It basically uses the same procedure as applying porcelain veneers but the material used is different. So what IS dental composite? To put it simply, it’s mainly plastic plus fillers and modifiers that serve to enhance the general characteristics of this plastic. As such, there is no one, single recipe for dental composite because its composition depends on what is required. For example, if you want dental bonding done on your front teeth, the need for a better, more natural color is needed (compared to, say, dental bonding for your molars). As such, the fillers and modifiers added to the plastic will be those that improve the composite’s color.The dental bonding procedure calls for an initial consultation with your dentist, followed by a ‘reduction session’ (don’t forget, your teeth need to be reduced a bit because the dental composite needs to be added to your teeth). On the same visit, the dental bonding treatment can take place.Average Cost: $200 to $600 per toothMain Pro: inexpensive; can be accomplished in one dental visit.Main Con: only good for minor teeth imperfections.Cosmetic Dentistry Type No. 4 – What are Dental Implants?Dental implants are for those beyond just wanting to make a good first impression. This restorative cosmetic dentistry procedure is chosen by people who want to replace a whole tooth (or several missing teeth). A dental implant procedure often calls for the insertion of a titanium screw into your jaw bone. (Titanium is used because it is believed that the mononucleate cells that are responsible for bone formation actually ‘connect’ to this element.) Once the dental implant is in place, a few months as ‘recovery time’ (or integration time) are needed. After this, a temporary crown is fitted so that your gums get to grow around the crown and form a natural shape. After this, the permanent crown is placed.Average Cost: approx. $2500 per implantMain Pro: nearest possible replacement to natural teethMain Con: extremely expensive; success rates largely dependent on oral surgeon skill.Cosmetic dentistry is many things for different people. As always, your personal needs and budget will help you decide which option to choose.

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