Restorative dentistry is focused on restoring tooth and gum health and function, to a level where they can look and feel as normal as possible. Cosmetic dentistry goes further, and works to enhance an individual’s smile and general looks. The process combines art and design with the science of dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry requires an aesthetic eye to achieve the optics required, as well as expertise in dental anatomy, procedures, and materials.
Your dentist should also have excellent communication skills, as they are the nexus between the patient and their wishes. With their expertise, and the laboratory technicians who will construct the dental materials as required, they form a cohesive unit focused on helping you achieve your dental goals.
The end goal for all is to beautify teeth, enhance smiles, boost self-confidence, and make social interactions enjoyable and fulfilling.
Make sure to choose a practitioner who has demonstrated high level skills in performing the cosmetic treatments you desire. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) recommends that you ask your dentist for:
If you do not like the smile you were born with, you can change it to one you will love. A variety of cosmetic procedures ranging from minor changes to major repairs are available to help achieve your goals – straight, clean and white teeth at the very least. You need to ask your dentist:
Your dentist will answer your questions and make his recommendations based on the condition of your teeth, your desired results, financial implications, etc.
Any one or a combination of the following cosmetic dental procedures can improve the look of your smile:
Dental Bonding involves application and bonding of a resin to a tooth with a special light/heat source. It is an easy, inexpensive procedure to repair chipped or cracked teeth, alter their shape, or replace amalgam fillings.
Composite Bonding is an economical option where natural tooth-colored composite resin is applied to improve the appearance and strength of damaged teeth.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells applied and bonded to front surfaces of teeth to change size, shape, color, or length of teeth, and mask imperfections. Veneers may be composite, resin, or porcelain.
Crowns made of metal, porcelain, ceramic, or resin cover a damaged tooth to strengthen or change size or appearance.
Enamel Shaping corrects uneven or slightly crowded teeth. Can be combined with other procedures including veneers, bonding, or tooth whitening.
Tooth Contouring & Reshaping uses a drill or laser to smooth out or reshape teeth.
Orthodontics utilize braces to correct improperly aligned teeth in adults or children, by applying gradual pressure over time to adjust the alignment of the teeth and shape of their sockets. The brackets may be clear, multi-colored, or tooth-colored. Newer options include clear plastic molds that can create so-called “invisible” braces.
Teeth Whitening includes inexpensive professional procedures and over-the-counter home whitening products are available for tooth whitening. They come in various forms like gels, strips, and trays. Whitening is most suited to healthy, unrestored teeth.
Composite Fillings: tooth-colored composite fillings are more popular and natural looking than silver amalgam fillings.
Inlays & Onlays: porcelain or composite material fillings that match natural tooth color. If applied inside the tooth, they are called “inlays.” If attached to the biting surface, they are known as “onlays.”
Gum Reshaping & Surgery can improve an irregular gum line or teeth that appear too small. A portion of gum tissue is removed from affected teeth. Minor surgery can reshape gum tissue to give it more symmetry.
Gum Grafts: gum recession exposes tooth roots making the exposed teeth appear unnaturally long. It may cause sensitivity to hot and cold foods and increase the risk of cavities, bone and tooth loss. Grafts of healthy gum tissue moved from one tooth to the other remedy this and also improve the appearance of the gum line.
Implants: dental implants are replacement tooth roots made of titanium. They make a base for the attachment of dental crowns where gum disease, tooth decay, or injury has resulted in tooth loss.
Dentures: removable replacements for missing teeth. Dentures may be complete to replace all teeth, or partial to replace some missing teeth.
Bridges: fixed, permanent, partial dentures that replace one or more teeth.
Smile Makeovers: combine several cosmetic dentistry techniques simultaneously. Cosmetic dentistry improves an individual’s appearance, as well as their overall oral health.
As you can see, there are many different restorative and cosmetic dental procedures that can give you the winning smile you desire. Dr. Ernie Soto can help you find the right procedure for your optimal smile, and also specializes in pain-free dentistry. If you are interested in any of these treatment options or more information, feel free to give us a call at (954) 368-6264 or request an appointment online.