Cosmetic Dentistry

A dazzling smile can open doors, warm hearts and spark significant relationships. Not everyone is born with perfect teeth, but with cosmetic dentistry there are a variety of popular techniques to increase the wattage of your smile.

For that One-of-a-Kind Smile

By Barbara Bowen

Veneers, thin porcelain coverings for the front of each tooth, result in an instant improvement in the shape and color of teeth. The cost is figured per tooth, and the work is done by a dentist. Some reasons to consider veneers may include chipped teeth, spaces and misshapen contours, uneven tooth lengths and discoloration. The advantage to veneers is that they won’t accept stains from coffee or wine and they’re a quick fix – the temporary set goes on the first day and is replaced with a permanent set in two weeks. With current techniques it is difficult to tell the dentistry from the regular teeth.

Whitening is a popular solution for external tooth stains. Three methods are currently available with the lowest cost aligned with the longest wait for results. Over the counter whitening strips are the least expensive but require the wearing of a clear plastic strip across the front of the upper and lower teeth for an hour each day for up to a month. For results in about ten days, see a dentist to be fitted for custom dental trays that are taken home to wear for thirty minutes daily. A prescription whitening gel is provided with the trays. In-office dental whitening provides immediate results in a single one-hour visit. Talk to your dentist to be sure your previously color-matched dental work will not appear discolored after whitening the surrounding teeth.

Full mouth reconstruction may be an option when multiple teeth are fractured or severely worn down. These cases may result in the application of up to 28 crowns and veneers to cover damage caused by decay, injury, tooth grinding, or acid erosion from foods, beverages and acid reflux. In the past as people aged they expected to replace bad teeth with dentures, but today people are keeping their natural teeth longer, and they eventually wear out.

Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth. Small titanium posts are implanted into the upper or lower jaw bone to serve as substitutes for the roots of missing teeth. Dental implants then serve as anchors for replacement teeth, crowns or replacement teeth sets. Dental care for implants is the same as all other teeth. The dentist will match the coloration to the other teeth. This is often an opportunity to whiten teeth first, since implant teeth will not typically respond to whitening agents later.