Cosmetic dentistry is a broad field that encompasses all of the techniques that can improve the appearance of your teeth as well as your smile overall. It is as much an art as it is a science because each person’s smile and face are unique. The American Dental Association does not recognize cosmetic dentistry specifically as a dentistry specialty. The ADA does, however, recognize specialties where dental esthetics is a focus, and the best cosmetic dentists have to be experts in all of those fields.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If your dentist gives you a clean bill of health, then whether or not your smile is perfect is up to you. One person’s aesthetic flaw is another’s charming feature. But if there is some aspect or multiple items you do not like, cosmetic dentistry can help you overcome them.
Note that not all of the procedures listed here are appropriate for everyone. After a dental health and smile assessment, your dentist will explore with you the various techniques that are appropriate to you.
- Teeth Whitening—Teeth whitening or bleaching can lighten teeth that have been stained or otherwise discolored. Do-it-yourself kits are available, but professional teeth whitening is best, and it is important to know if you are a candidate since whitening is not right for everyone.
- Dental Veneers—Veneers are thin wafer-like coverings that are often made from porcelain or composite material. Each veneer is custom-made to match your natural teeth and then bonded to a tooth. Veneers can overcome various imperfections, included chips and crookedness.
- Dental Implants—An implant is a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. These posts mimic the natural tooth root and even stimulate the jaw. Once that surgery has healed, your dentist can use the implant as the basis for a crown, bridge, or permanent denture.
- Dental Crowns—Crowns or caps are custom-made coverings that fit over an entire tooth. They are often made from porcelain or acrylic and fused to metal in order to withstand the pressure of the human bite. Crowns can cover teeth that are decayed, broken, poorly shaped, and gapped.
- Teeth Shaping—Often referred to as enamel shaping, teeth shaping is the process by which your dentist fills or removes enamel. This non-painful technique can give your tooth a more natural form.
- Tooth Bonding—Bonding is a process by which tooth-colored material is adhered to a tooth. This can be done to correct the shape of the tooth as well as cover discolored areas.
- Orthodontic Treatment—While many people associate orthodontics with kids, these procedures are for adults too. In fact, discreet products like Invisalign clear aligners have motivated many adults to get smile makeovers. Crooked and buck teeth are common issues fixed through orthodontics.
Be mindful that no two cosmetic dentists are the same. They all have their own unique artistic flair and offer and lean toward different techniques. You need to consider what you want and then find a cosmetic dentist with who you have a good rapport and who offers those procedures. Find out if you have friends or family that have had similar procedures or great smile makeover experiences in general. Those referrals can be invaluable. You can also check with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry for dentists local to your area.
Get a Smile You’ll Love
While these seven techniques are among the most common cosmetic dental options, there are other procedures as well. If you live in or near Scottsdale, Arizona, meet with Dr. Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, to have your oral health examined and your smile assessed. You can discuss with him what you don’t like about your smile, and then, he can tell you about your options and answer any questions you may have. Scottsdale Dental Excellence is conveniently located at the southwest corner of Bell Road and the 101 Freeway. Call 480 585 1853 to schedule your smile makeover consultation, and you can visit ScottsdaleDentalExcellence.com to learn more about the cosmetic procedures Dr. Clark offers.