While traditional dentistry focuses on oral hygiene and preventing, diagnosing and treating oral disease, cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of the teeth, mouth and smile. In other words restorative, general and/or family dental practices address dental problems that require necessary treatment, whereas cosmetic dentistry provides elective – or desired – treatments or services.
Cosmetic treatments may also provide restorative benefits. For example, dental fillings are a common procedure used to treat decayed teeth. Previously, most dental fillings were composed primarily of gold, amalgam and other materials that left visible dark spots on the teeth.
Todays dental fillings may be considered cosmetic to a certain extent because you can select fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that closely match the color of your teeth, thus maintaining the natural appearance of your teeth and smile. Many people may choose to have their older fillings replaced with newer, tooth-colored fillings to enhance their oral appearance.
Technological advancements in natural-looking, tooth-colored dental materials make today’s cosmetic dental treatments more durable and predictable than in years past. Additionally, dentists are now using more conservative techniques to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, depending upon your specific clinical situation.
Dentists may also use such technologies as lasers in order to perform some procedures necessary for cosmetic treatments in their own offices – without the need for referrals to specialists. This makes procedures such as smile makeovers more comfortable and convenient for patients, as well as helps to reduce recovery time.
Cosmetic dentistry is a method of professional oral care that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth. And although cosmetic dentistry procedures are usually elective rather than essential, some treatment cases also provide restorative benefits. Learn about the most common procedures and how they work.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into cosmetic dentistry, read on to see the 8 most popular cosmetic dental procedures we preform at Lowcountry Family Dentistry in Beaufort, South Carolina to which might be right for you.
- Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening is one of the most basic cosmetic dentistry procedures—as well as one of the least expensive. Over time, teeth can become stained from food, drinks, medications, or other habits like smoking. Many people turn to teeth whitening to make their smile brighter.After teeth have been cleaned of plaque, tartar, and other debris, teeth whitening can bleach the surface of teeth to create a brighter, whiter appearance. While over-the-counter products like toothpaste, rinses, and whitestrips can offer some results, professional tooth whitening can provide a shade up to 5 to 8 times lighter.
- Dental Veneers: Dental veneers are thin, white shells made from medical-grade porcelain, resin, or ceramic. They’re custom made for each patient to resemble their natural teeth. Before attaching the veneers, the dentist removes some enamel from the tooth’s surface to allow the shells to be bonded realistically to the front of the teeth. Dental veneers can fix a number of cosmetic issues, including crooked teeth, damaged enamel, and gaps between teeth.
- Dental Implants: A dental implant is a metal device designed to replace missing teeth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically placed into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. A dental implant is designed to act as the tooth root and can anchor artificial teeth such as a crown, bridge, or denture.
- Dental Crowns: Crowns, also referred to as caps, are custom made to fit over your whole tooth after the cosmetic dentist has prepared it. They are usually made out of acrylic or porcelain that has been fused to metal to withstand biting pressure. Crowns can be used in cosmetic dentistry to treat teeth that are poorly shaped, badly decayed, broken, chipped, or have had large fillings, or to cover spaces in between teeth.
- Teeth Shaping: Also referred to as “enamel shaping,” the dentist can reshape the tooth by filing or removing some of the enamel. This process is usually not painful and can produce immediate effects.
- Tooth Bonding: For dental bonding, the cosmetic dentist applies a moldable resin to the tooth and hardens it with ultraviolet light. Then, they trim, shape, and polish the material to blend into the surface of the tooth.Bonding can repair chips, cracks, misshapen teeth, and tooth decay. For minor cosmetic issues, bonding is a more affordable alternative to fillings or crowns.
- Inlays and Onlays: This cosmetic dentistry procedure is also known as indirect fillings, which are made in-house by our Primescan Cerec Milling and placed the same day. They are used when a tooth has mild to moderate decay or insufficient tooth structure to support a filling. Provided there is no damage to the tooth cusps, the inlay is placed directly onto the tooth surface. However, when the cusp or a more significant portion of the tooth is damaged, your dentist may use an onlay to cover the tooth’s entire surface. Inlays and onlays were once made of gold but typically are made in a dental laboratory from a composite of porcelain or ceramic material and attached to the teeth with adhesive dental cement. They provide support to strengthen teeth, restore their shape, and avoid any further decay or deterioration.
- Invisalign Orthodontic Treatment: Orthodontics are not just for kids. The Invisalign Clear Aligner system has changed the game for patients looking to straighten teeth without metal braces. More and more adults are seeking treatment from clear aligners for cosmetic purposes. If you have buck teeth or crooked teeth, ask your dentist if an Invisalign might be right for you.
Education and Training
While cosmetic dentistry is a widely practiced industry, it’s not currently recognized as a specialty by the American Dental Association. Therefore, universities typically don’t offer degree programs in that area.
- Critical Elements of Smile Design
- Increase Your Understanding of the Mechanism that Drives Tooth Whitening
- Master Composite Artistry and Restore Tooth Structure
- Steps to Flawless Veneers
- How to Effectively Integrate Invisalign Treatment Into Your Restorative Treatment Plans
Reasons to See a Cosmetic Dentist
There are many reasons you might see a cosmetic dentist, including:
People with damaged, decaying, crooked, or discolored teeth may also have difficulty when eating and speaking. For others, dental issues may affect their self-esteem.
According to a 2015 survey by the American Dental Association, 33% of young people are reluctant to smile due to conditions of the teeth and mouth. Another 23% of adults have cut back on their participation in social activities due to embarrassment about their smiles.
If you feel dissatisfied with your smile, a cosmetic dentist can improve the condition of your teeth.
Cosmetic Dentist in Beaufort, SC
If you’ve been searching for a local cosmetic dentist to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted, call us at 843-986-0177 or use our online form to schedule a consultation with our Beaufort dentist. We invite you to schedule a consultation with our dentist office to see what your smile might look like once you have completed treatment. During your consultation, our dental office encourages you to ask as many questions as you would like about the procedure you are considering having done. Lowcountry Family Dentistry is conveniently located on Lady’s Island in Beaufort, SC and we see patients from the entire surrounding areas including Port Royal, St. Helena Island, Harbor Island and Fripp Island.