Cosmetic dentistry is used to refer dental works that improves the appearance of teeth, gums and bite. It mainly focuses on the improvement in dental aesthetics such as colour, position, shape, size, alignment and smile appearance. The two primary dental specialties that focus on dental aesthetics are prosthodontics and orthodontics. While general dentistry focuses on preventing and treating oral disease, cosmetic dentistry deal with the overall appearance of teeth. A medical professional who specializes in the appearance of teeth and gums is a cosmetic dentist. They are responsible for a variety of procedures ranging from minor fixes to major surgeries. Teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental implants etc. are some of the common cosmetic procedures that are offered.
The most common age groups that undergo cosmetic dental procedures are between the ages of 31 to 40 years and 41 to 50 years. About 96 percent of these patients are female.
TYPES OF COSMETIC DENTISTRY
Cosmetic dentistry may involve the following:
- Addition of a dental material to your teeth or gums. (E.g.- bonding, veneers, crowns, gum grafts etc.)
- The removal of a tooth structure or gums
- Neither addition nor removal of any dental materials, tooth structure or gums. (E.g.- teeth whitening)
- Straightening of teeth along with improvement in appearance of face.
- Veneers or dental laminates
This is considered as one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures. This is a safe process which is effective for most patients. Another type of teeth whitening technique is laser whitening, which involves gums covered with rubber dams and bleaching chemicals applied to the teeth. A beam of argon laser is then projected upon the teeth which accelerates the process of bleaching. Laser whitening is considered to be six times more effective than normal teeth whitening.
Tooth reshaping involves removing parts of the enamel to improve the appearance of a tooth. It can be used to correct a small chip, length, shape or position of teeth, even when there is tooth size discrepancy. This process can also be used for correcting crooked or excessively long teeth. This process offers fast results and under certain circumstances can be used as an alternative to braces.
Bonding is a process in which an enamel like dental material, colour matched to the patient’s teeth is applied to a tooth’s surface, sculpted, hardened and then polished. Inlays and onlays are some examples of bonded restorations, which is used to repair decayed and cracked teeth. Teeth which are damaged by small or moderate decay, erosion or small fractures can be repaired with the help of direct composite restorations bonded to the teeth.
Dental bridges are used to substitute one or more missing teeth. This procedure is used to replace missing teeth and is cemented in. Most bridges are fixed and therefore cannot be removed. Cantilever bridges are used in areas of the mouth prone to less stress, such as the front teeth. Bridges require serious attention to oral hygiene and carry risks. The average life of bridges is similar to those of crowns, which is nearly ten years.
These are an ultra-thin, custom-made porcelain laminates which are bonded directly to the teeth. Veneers are an option for closing gaps, enhancing the shape, or changing the colour of teeth that do not respond well to whitening procedures. Mock-ups are used as a tooth preparation guide before the fabrication of veneers. These allow the dentist to visualize any necessary changes to be done on the patient’s teeth with respect to shape, size, proportion, its relation to with gingival-contour, lip contour and smile line. It also gives clinicians an opportunity to check if they need any more corrections.
These are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth. According to ICOI, there are three common parts which can be described as an implant- the implant device which is mainly made of titanium, the abutment, a dental crown or a denture connected to the implant through the abutment.
A gum lift is a cosmetic procedure that raises and sculpts the gum line. In this procedure, the tissue or underlying bones are reshaped to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.
This process is used to correct crowded or misaligned teeth with the help of metal braces or clear aligners which is used as an alternative to metal braces. Clear aligners provide comparable results to metal braces and are generally more preferable due to them being less noticeable than metal braces.
This is for patients that have years of excessive wear to their teeth due to grinding or acid reflux. This causes them to have a shorter or closed look to their face and smile. A qualified professional can reclaim their vertical dimension by opening up their bite.
Out of all these procedures, tooth bleaching, enamel bonding, dental veneers, Invisalign braces and enamel abrasions are the most common cosmetic dental procedures.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Cosmetic dentistry is a widely practiced industry. Most cosmetic dentists receive training through other dental programs. Program training usually includes orthodontics, pain management, dental history and law, cosmetic dentistry and oral medicine.
REASONS TO VISIT A COSMETIC DENTIST
Some of the common reasons to visit a cosmetic dentist are as follows:
- Tooth decay
- Damages like cracked or chipped tooth
- Crooked teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Missing teeth
Most people having damaged, discolored, crooked or decaying teeth may have difficulty eating and speaking. For others, dental issues can cause problems in self-esteem. People may resign from participating in social activities due to their reluctance and embarrassment in smiling. Such insecurities can be prevented by visiting a cosmetic dentist who can improve the condition of your teeth.
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