Cosmetic Dental Procedures
Cosmetics in dentistry is a very hotly debated topic among dentists mainly because it is not a recognized specialty in dentistry like plastics is in medicine... no matter what anyone tells you!!! Many dentists, groups and continuing education businesses would like you to believe otherwise. Cosmetics involve a few different things in dentistry, most notably; esthetic crowns, veneers, composite bonding and whitening.
Whitening is self explanatory and there are a few ways to achieve the results. Most of the difference between each of the methods is the speed with which the whitening is done. Over the counter products like Crest White Strips or similar products are a great place to start if you are wanting to bleach your teeth. It is a longer process than the others (2-4 weeks) but produces pretty good results. Whitening trays are the next option. They are made by a dentist and are of prescription strength. All whitening agents are types of peroxide. Over-the-counter brands are generally between 3-9% hydrogen peroxide or (carbamide peroxide), and tray gel is normally up to 18%. The tray treatments take about 1-2 weeks and have more dramatic results. The final option is an in-office treatment. These products can range up to 39% peroxide and work in about an hour! They can be activated by a light or mixed by a dentist depending on the type. Having it light activated or having it mixed makes no difference in the amount of whitening that will occur. Whitening ability always has more to do with the concentration of the material. All whitening agents have a tendency to cause sensitivity that resolves with time. Sensitivity is more severe with higher concentrations. The amount of whitening effect you can expect is dependent on your natural tooth color and how much stain you have on your teeth. Whitening agents only help with surface stain (extrinsic stain). Intrinsic stain (color of dentin or staining of the interior of the teeth) will not be effected. People with staining from smoking, coffee, tea or other pigmented foods and drink tend to see greater results. If your teeth don’t get as light as you want them esthetic crowns or veneers are a great option. For more information on types of whitening pleas click on the button below:
Esthetic crowns cover the entire tooth like a cap. They have great retention compared to veneers and have the same esthetic results but require more preparation of the teeth. Veneers are shells that are cemented to the front of the tooth and require minimal preparation. Retention of veneers is very dependant on technique and the amount of enamel that needs to be removed to achieve the best esthetic result. If done correctly and bonded mainly to enamel a veneer will act as a very strong enamel substitute. Veneers are a highly esthetic option for correction of tooth color and can nearly instantly correct "crooked" teeth. Both crowns and veneers have their limitations and the best options to meet your esthetic demands should be able to be answered by your dentist.
Another option for minor changes in esthetic concerns is composite bonding. Composite is a white filling material that is bonded to the front of your tooth. Composite veneers are a less expensive option for enhancing the appearance of your teeth without jumping straight into ceramic veneers. Composites may also be used to fill cavities and for a more esthetic restoration than the traditional silver fillings. They are much less noticeable by other people. Many people opt to remove their old silver fillings and replace them with these vitually invisible tooth colored restorations.
No matter what your esthetic concerns are there is an option for you. If you would like to discuss your esthetic options further please contact our office for a free consultation.