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Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry

Veneers

Veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.

Indications

Veneers are an important tool for the cosmetic dentist. A dentist may use one veneer to restore a single tooth that may have been fractured or discolored, or multiple teeth to create a “Hollywood” type of makeover. Many people have small teeth resulting in spaces that may not be easily closed by orthodontics. Some people have worn away the edges of their teeth resulting in a prematurely aged appearance, while others may have malpositioned teeth that appear crooked. Multiple veneers can close these spaces, lengthen teeth that have been shortened by wear, fill the black triangles between teeth caused by gum recession, provide a uniform color, shape, and symmetry, and make the teeth appear straight.

Dentists also recommend using thin porcelain veneers to strengthen worn teeth. Thin veneers is an effective option for aging patients with worn dentition. In many cases, minimal to none tooth preparation is needed when using porcelain veneers.

Porcelain crowns

Replace the exterior portion of a tooth to re-establish its original function and to create a natural appearance. Crowns are the treatment of choice in situations where tooth decay has destroyed most of the original tooth, when a traumatic event has caused damage, or in cases of severe enamel erosion. They are also an option for people who grind and clench their teeth so much that the original structure of their teeth has been compromised.

Whitening

Restores natural tooth color and bleaching whitens beyond the natural color. Bleaching methods use carbamide peroxide which reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15% solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide oxidizing agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and bleaches stain deposits in the dentin. Power bleaching uses light energy to accelerate the process of bleaching in a dental office.

White fillings

Is a plastic-type filling material that matches the color of the tooth. Unlike amalgam which essentially just fills a hole and requires retention features to hold the filling, composite cavity restorations when used with dentin and enamel bonding techniques restore the tooth back to near its original physical integrity. Nevertheless, time to failure is still longer for amalgam, and it has remained a superior restorative material over resin-base composites, but with poor aesthetic qualities.

Full mouth reconstruction

Full mouth rehabilitation and full mouth restoration are terms often used interchangeably to describe the process of rebuilding or simultaneously restoring all of the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.

The need for full mouth reconstruction may result from:

  • Teeth that have been lost due to decay or trauma.
  • Teeth that have been injured or fractured.
  • Teeth that have become severely worn as a result of long-term acid erosion (foods, beverages, acid reflux) or tooth grinding.
  • Ongoing complaints of jaw, muscle and headache pain requiring adjustments to the bite (occlusion).

The examination process requires records of your mouth, such as X-rays and photographs, impressions of your upper and lower teeth, models of your teeth that are made from the impressions and a model of your bite. Your dentist may also refer you to specialists (periodontist, orthodontist, oral surgeon) for a consultation in order to develop a treatment plan that is best for you.

Once your dentist has obtained all information relevant to your case, he or she will develop a comprehensive, step-by-step treatment plan to correct all of the problems in your mouth and complete your full mouth reconstruction. If you do not understand the procedure being described to you, ask for a detailed written description of the proposed treatment plan so you can review it. This can be helpful if you want to get a second opinion. Be sure you understand the risks and benefits of the recommended procedures and treatments.

Full Mouth Reconstruction vs. Smile Makeover

How does full mouth reconstruction differ from smile makeover? A smile makeover is something that you elect to have performed, while a full mouth reconstruction is something that you need.

As the makers of dental materials respond to increasing consumer demands for beautiful, natural-looking dentistry, it is becoming hard to draw a line between purely “cosmetic” (such as elective) dentistry and “restorative” (necessary) dentistry. For example, it is now possible for your dentist to treat tooth decay with a tooth-like filling material that looks natural. If you need full mouth reconstruction, the materials available today make it possible for your dentist to provide you with durable, functional and clinically sound treatments that also look natural.

It is also important to note that a smile makeover – though performed primarily to improve the esthetic appearance of the smile – requires the use of clinically proven dental materials and treatment techniques, as well as exceptional knowledge, training and skill on the part of the dentist. Many of the same techniques and equipment used for full mouth reconstruction are also used to ensure the success and long-term stability of smile makeover treatments.