Did you know that your smile is one of the most important elements in making a great first impression? It’s true, according to a recent survey of the U.S. population organized by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and conducted by Kelton Global. The AACD found that 48 percent of adults feel like a smile is the most memorable aspect when meeting a new person, and 25 percent believe it is more important than what he or she said. Other items at the top of the list—such as fashion at 9 percent and the way the person smelled at 8 percent—did not come close to how often smiles were mentioned.
According to the survey, it is not just the smile but what it comprises, including the teeth. In fact, people with imperfect teeth were deemed to be less attractive by 37 percent of those polled and less confident by 25 percent. Those numbers perhaps give us insight into why cosmetic dentistry is more popular than ever and why so many people are seeking innovative ways to restore and enhance their smiles.
Cosmetic Dentistry: What Is It?
Cosmetic dentistry encompasses any dental treatments that emphasize aesthetics: position, alignment, shape, size, color, and so forth. Often, the emphasis is not just on a particular characteristic but how two or more features complement each other and form an attractive smile.
A dentist who specializes in aesthetics can often go beyond what a restorative dentist can achieve. Cosmetic dentists not only correct functionality but restore or even enhance the appearance of the feature. Cosmetic dentistry still focuses on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, but it does it within the context of what will look best as well. It may seem like a simple thing, but it requires the dentist to be as much an artist as a dental surgeon, and it requires substantial training and experience for a dentist to be able to plan, prepare, restore and enhance smiles at a high level.
Cosmetic dentists are often restorative dentists who have expanded their education through the study of smile design. These dental professionals must not only understand how to perfect the aesthetics of a particular feature but know the role that aspect plays in presenting an attractive smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Treatments
There are many cosmetic dental treatments available, and your dentist will work with you to choose the procedures that make up your personalized smile makeover. Treatment options include:
- Bite Reclamation – This technique repairs damage caused by bruxism or acid reflux.
- Bonding – Dental bonding is used to correct teeth that are broken, chipped, cracked, gapped, or even stained. Bonding is a composite resin with enamel-like qualities. Your dentist can mold it to your specific needs, harden it with a laser or ultraviolet light and, finally, buff and polish it. Bonding is a simple, fast, and affordable way to treat minor dental damage as well as make aesthetic corrections.
- Bridges – Your dentist can install a dental bridge in order to replace one or more missing teeth or to close a gap between teeth. The artificial teeth can be made from porcelain, alloy, gold, or some combination. Bridges usually require two one-hour dental visits and can last up to 15 years with proper care.
- Crowns – Crowns are placed over damaged teeth after treatment in order to restore strength, size, shape, and other aspects. Crown material varies and can include ceramic, resin, metal, or even zirconia. With proper care, a dental crown can last 15 years and even longer in some cases.
- Dentures – Dentures are a type of prosthetic that replaces the teeth and surrounding gum tissue. Partial dentures are appropriate when some of the original teeth remain, and full dentures are necessary when all upper or lower teeth are missing, or there has been a jaw replacement. In all cases, dentures are removable.
- Gum Grafts – A gum graft involves transferring healthy gum tissue from one part of the mouth to another. This is often done to prevent and cease gum recession and bone loss as well as enhance the aesthetics of the gumline. In addition to being unsightly, receding gums can cause sensitivity to hot and cold as well as expose the tooth root, which makes it susceptible to infection and decay.
- Implants – Dental implants are a more permanent solution to missing teeth. Your dentist will surgically install a titanium post into your jaw. Once you have healed, the dentist will top the post with a crown, replacing your tooth. The time and materials involved make this one of the more expensive cosmetic treatments.
- Inlays/Onlays – Fillings are used to fill cavities. Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings, which means that they are created outside of the mouth and then installed as opposed to being applied directly to the tooth. The advantage is that the dentist can preserve more of the natural tooth. When an indirect filling is placed between the biting areas—the cusps—it is called an inlay. When it covers one or more cusps, it is called an onlay. Inlays and onlays are made from porcelain, gold, or composite resin and must be made in a lab.
- Orthodontics – Orthodontics is a dental specialty focused on correcting malpositioned teeth. Both children and adults can benefit from braces or aligners that gradually reposition teeth into proper alignment. Treatment can take as long as three years but can improve improper bites, relieve discomfort, and boost confidence. Clear options allow students and professionals to benefit from such treatment in a discreet manner.
- Veneers – Dental veneers are tooth-colored, as thick as a wafer, and made from porcelain or resin. Your dentist can bond a veneer to the surface of a tooth in order to change its color or shape or to overcome chips, cracks, and gaps. Veneers are often an alternative to dental bonding and dental crowns, and if a patient takes care of them, they can last upward of 20 years.
- Teeth Whitening – Whitening is perhaps the most prevalent cosmetic dental treatment, and people have access to both over-the-counter products and in-office treatments to remove stains and brighten their teeth. Teeth whitening is arguably the least expensive way to enhance your smile, and while in-office options may cost more, they are also more effective and safer for your overall oral health as well.
Perfect Your Smile
Dr. Jeffrey D. Clark is among the premier cosmetic dentists in the Greater Scottsdale area and has served this community for more than 20 years! His practice is inviting and comfortable and features all the modern amenities and technologies one should expect from a state-of-the-art dental facility. As our patient, you will benefit from a personalized smile makeover and have access to a full range of cosmetic procedures, including teeth whitening, Invisalign clear aligners, implants, same-day crowns, porcelain veneers, and much more.
Scottsdale Dental Excellence is conveniently located in North Scottsdale at the southwest corner of Bell Road and the 101 Freeway. Achieve the healthy and beautiful smile you deserve. Contact us at 480 585 1853 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.