A cosmetic dentist can recommend various treatments to improve the appearance of teeth. Most cosmetic treatments are elective and not intended to restore function; however, they help patients attain a beautiful and confident smile.
The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to enhance a patient's smile by improving the teeth's appearance regarding:
Every mouth has different proportions and presents unique dental challenges. The success of all aesthetic dental procedures relies on the artistry and experience of the cosmetic dentist.
Over the past decades, advances in dental technology have made various cosmetic treatments more accessible to the general population. Treatments once considered luxuries are now routinely administered.
A cosmetic dentist can address stains and discoloration of the teeth caused by food and drink or tobacco by coating the teeth with a gel containing a bleaching agent. Oxygen molecules in this substance penetrate the enamel and dentin layers, deactivating and removing stain-causing molecules. It is necessary to use a protective shield to keep the gel from potentially irritating the gums. Some dentists use heat and light to help the gel penetrate the dentin layer. Teeth whitening can successfully restore a patient's natural dentin color, but it is not suitable for brightening sensitive, thin, broken, or artificial teeth.
Thin porcelain laminates or veneers can effectively improve the appearance of teeth that do not respond to whitening or have chips and cracks. This treatment can also address gaps between teeth. The cosmetic dentist polishes away some of the tooth enamel to ensure that the veneer is on the same level as the surrounding teeth. Choosing the veneer's shape, color, and size to complement the patient's smile requires careful consideration. Once this is determined, the dentist attaches the lab-made laminate to the tooth's surface. Veneers can dramatically improve a smile by covering a portion of a tooth, an entire tooth, or multiple teeth.
Individual teeth that require minor cosmetic adjustments can be excellent candidates for bonding. This simple treatment can occur within one hour. The dentist scrapes away a small amount of enamel and coats the exposed surface with an adhesive substance that helps a resin tooth-shaped cover bond with the natural tooth. The resin is soft and malleable, allowing the dentist to adjust its shape and size to blend well with the surrounding teeth. Bonding relies on a skilled hand and an artistic eye to give a tooth cover a realistic appearance.
Natural teeth with minor size and shape imperfections can benefit from simple contouring. This treatment can also improve the appearance of teeth that overlap or have minor chips. A dentist sands away portions of the enamel before reshaping and polishing the natural teeth. The dentist must take great care when outlining the intended shape and removing parts of the teeth because the procedure is irreversible. This treatment can sometimes eliminate the need for braces for simple cosmetic problems.
Recent advances in dentistry have made smile-enhancing procedures widely available. Most patients find that a cosmetic dentist can make significant improvements that are quick and painless.
Request an appointment or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at 602-547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.