Cosmetic Dentistry for Better Health
Cosmetic Dentistry for Better Health
Cosmetic dentistry procedures are focused on making your teeth and your smile look better. Regardless of whether you have several missing teeth or cracked and discolored ones, a good cosmetic dentist will send you home looking like a million bucks. Looking better certainly will have a positive effect on you, especially if you’ve struggled with a poor smile for a long time. Plus, many of these elective dental operations will actually improve your health. Cosmetic procedures can often be covered by medical and/or dental insurance, too. Traditionally, the solution for poor teeth was to pull them all and replace them with dentures. While this is sometimes still the best course of action, there are numerous less-drastic options available today. Let’s take a look at what your cosmetic dentist can do to give you a brilliant smile.
Inlays and Onlays
Made in a dental lab of composite resin, and known as indirect fillings, these are used by a dentist when a tooth is decayed beyond the point that a filling can repair it. An inlay is placed directly on the tooth surface, while an onlay will cover the entire tooth surface if needed. The inlay or onlay is adhered to the teeth with dental support, and they are strong enough to strengthen and even restore the tooth’s shape, as well as prevent further decay.
Composite bonding repairs teeth with material that is relatively indistinguishable from real teeth by mimicking the color, shape and surface look. Bonding can repair decayed, broken or discolored teeth. Your dentist will drill out any decayed portions of the tooth and apply the composite onto the surface. He will then sculpt it into the perfect shape and cure it with a special, high-intensity light. This procedure effectively covers any damage to the tooth and replaces it with the appearance of a healthy tooth. Bonding is relatively inexpensive and is one of the most affordable options for patients to achieve a nice smile when they have significant chipped and cracked teeth, decay or major discoloration.
Dental veneers are made of medical-grade ceramic. Each veneer is individually made for each patient and crafted to look just like their natural teeth, but in perfect condition. Veneers are extremely realistic and a great solution to multiple cosmetic problems, from a crooked smile to cracked and damaged enamel and large gaps between teeth. The veneer is applied to the front of the teeth with a strong dental adhesive.
If you smoke or drink a lot of coffee, tea or cola beverages, chances are your teeth have become stained over the years. Teeth whitening is one of the most basic cosmetic procedures and can be performed quickly at your dental office by coating the teeth in whitening gel. A deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar should be done first before beginning the whitening procedure. Teeth can also be bleached to lighten them further after the whitening process.
No longer just for children, braces can correct crowded or crooked teeth or an uneven bite. Today’s dental braces are less noticeable than in the past, whether the traditional metal ones or the new invisible options. Often, dental brackets are generally placed on the backs of teeth, and today’s braces are clear or tooth-colored to blend in. Another option is a series of clear, removable aligners that gently move your teeth over time. These are relatively unnoticeable, but can have a huge impact on your smile.
Your cosmetic dentist can improve your smile by reshaping some of your teeth. If they are just a little crowded or uneven, or appear to be a little long, enamel shaping can quickly correct the way they look.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits over your damaged tooth. Crowns are also used in implant dentistry, where they are fitted over a titanium post to replace a missing tooth. Crowns are made of durable material that restores the strength and shape of your tooth, allowing you to easily smile and chew without worrying. Crowns are called for when porcelain veneers or inlays/onlays are not able to repair a tooth. Severely damaged teeth require crowns to protect them from further damage.
Dental implants to replace missing teeth are becoming more popular as the cost has declined significantly. In fact, it is now possible to totally replace all your teeth with a new, permanent set of teeth in a single afternoon. This procedure is often called “all on four” because the dentist installs the entire set of teeth with four titanium screws, effectively giving you a set of permanent “dentures” that never leave your mouth. For a single tooth, your dentist inserts a small titanium screw into your jaw, which becomes the support structure for a crown that is placed over it. Dental implants look so much like real teeth, you might have difficulty picking out the real teeth versus the implants. Better still, once the bone and surrounding tissue become fused to the implant, these teeth are permanently anchored in place.
Cosmetic Dentistry and Insurance
Though most elective medical and dental procedures aren’t typically covered by insurance, the good news is that many cosmetic dentistry options can sometimes be covered to 50 percent of the cost. A legitimate medical benefit must be established in addition to aesthetics, and many cosmetic procedures certainly support the lasting health of your teeth. There are also some dental plans that provide discounts on cosmetic dentistry procedures. While whitening is almost never covered, veneers, crowns and bonding are in many situations. Your dentist will examine your teeth and establish whether cosmetic dentistry will help keep your teeth strong and healthy.