Cosmetic Dentistry for You: An Overview of Whitening

Your smile can say a lot about who you are. When you smile, it impacts the people you meet almost instantly. A white smile is perceived as healthy, and can subconsciously indicate youth, good health, and warmth. Those who are self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth may not smile with an open mouth, leaving those they meet with a stiff, unfriendly impression.

Even statistics reveal that Americans place a lot of value on straight, white teeth: Research from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that 99.7 percent of adults think smiles are an important social tool. 96 percent of adults also think a beautiful smile makes one more attractive to the opposite sex. 74 percent of adults think that an unsightly smile can hurt a person’s chance for career success.

Investing in cosmetic dentistry can be the first step to becoming a better, more radiant you. Cosmetic dentistry can improve or fix nearly any dental ailment, such as: gaps or crooked teeth, rotten or missing teeth, excessive or dark gums, broken teeth, or discoloration. Tooth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures.

An Overview of Whitening

Dentists will normally use peroxide-based materials and intense light to whiten dingy teeth, a process that can make teeth up to six shades whiter in one go. Before beginning the process, patients must have healthy gums and have filled in any existing cavities. Depending on the system used, the gums may have to be protected while the gels are applied to the teeth. A laser or plasma arc light source then activates the peroxide gels to oxidize the stains on the tooth’s surface. The teeth will begin to whiten within one hour.

Some dentists may give their patients whitening systems to use at home. These are often made from carbamide peroxide gels. The dentist will make an impression of the patient’s mouth so that soft trays can be made. Once the patient is fitted with the trays, they will be instructed to place a small amount of gel in the tray to wear while they sleep. Whitening will usually take place in a little over a week, though some systems may need to be worn for at least six weeks. White fillings made from resin or bonding, and bridges will likely not whiten much with either of these methods. Some patients may also experience tooth sensitivity during these procedures, which can be fixed by alternating concentrated fluoride and peroxide in the trays.

In-office whitening can cost anywhere from $500 to $1000. The process is usually more expensive when used with a laser. At-home systems are cheaper, ranging from $400 to $800. Store-bought whitening systems do not use the same peroxide concentrations as a dentist-distributed home whitening system, and thus will not be as effective. The mouth trays in these systems are also not custom-made for the patients, which can cause gum irritation or painful tooth sensitivity.

Cosmetic Dentistry and Aesthetic Appeal

If you desire to have a beautiful smile, but you’re not quite sure how to achieve it, a reputable cosmetic dentistry professional may have the solution you need. You can contact one to learn about the services that they provide and get a recommendation of a procedure that may be right for you. Many procedures available will address the problems with a person’s teeth and gums, such as teeth that are misaligned or unevenly spaced, missing or broken teeth, discoloration, and unsightly fillings or metal caps. You can have a smile that is both aesthetically pleasing, as well as perfectly functional.

In the field of cosmetic dentistry, a dentist may perform procedures that will put materials on the teeth and gums, as with procedures such as gum grafts, caps (crowns), laminates (porcelain veneers), and bonding. You can also get a procedure that will remove the gum or tooth structure, as with gingivectomy or enameloplasty. A very popular procedure that will give you a bright smile is known as teeth whitening, which neither takes away nor adds materials to the teeth and gums.

Millions of people now have a much better experience at the oral healthcare office due to the latest technology advances in the area of cosmetic dentistry. Although traditional care helps you maintain healthy teeth and gums that are free of decay and disease, cosmetic dentistry brings oral hygiene to the next level. The concentration with this field is to enhance the overall appearance of a person’s teeth. You can get the protection you need for your teeth with cosmetic dentistry, such as with a filling and still have the opportunity to improve the appearance of your teeth.

If you have been embarrassed about the condition of your teeth and gums, you can get aesthetic enhancement and corrective procedures that will give you a complete smile makeover. The condition of your smile leaves a lasting impression and you have the opportunity to have the smile you have always wanted through aesthetic dental procedures.

Procedures like dental implants, veneers, teeth whitening, and more can address common aesthetic issues through the services offered at a reputable cosmetic dentistry office. You can get treatment with a hands-on, personalized approach that will help you reach your goals. You can start out with a consultation to address your needs and interests. From there, you can work with your oral healthcare professional to develop a course of action that’s just right for you.

Prosthodontics & Cosmetic Dentistry

Prosthodontics is a field of dentistry that specializes in replacing missing teeth with implants and prosthetics (false teeth). A prosthodontist is a dentist who has undergone a four-year ADA program to make him eligible to practice prosthodontics, in a sense that he has the skills to administer a full mouth reconstruction in cases where the patient has lost all of his/her teeth due to an accident or because they are crooked and the patients wants to replace them with dentures.

A prosthodontist also specializes in the diagnosis of teeth and mouth bite routines. A person with an awkward bite is prone to future mouth injuries in long-term impairments. The work of a prosthodontist is delicate and requires care and precision when creating false teeth. These false teeth or “dentures”, as both dentists and patients prefer to call them, help the patient in facilitating a normal bite. Dentures are made up of resinated materials (for the teeth) and special plastic (for the gums), that give the dentures a natural and life-like look. Dentures need not only be for an entire set of teeth. Some dentures are used to replace even just two missing front teeth.

Prosthetics are expected to last for about 30 years or more, depending on the eating habits and hygiene of the patient. Dentures are supposed to be brushed like normal teeth, to let them live longer and to reduce the bacteria and stain build-up.

Severe cases of dislocated teeth that have been caused by congenital defects and trauma from accidents require more specialized training when installing prosthetics intended to replace dislocated body parts other than the teeth. “Maxillofacial prosthetics” is a specialization requires an additional year of exclusive training in Maxillofacial Prosthetics. This sub-specialty of prosthodontics requires more precision, since other prosthetics are expected to be fabricated and installed on the gravely malformed face. This includes artificial eyes, nose and other facial prostheses. The prosthodontist will, more often than not, require aid from other medical and dental specialists to conceptualize the new prosthetics.