Every year, many people use cosmetic dentistry to improve the look of their smile. If you are one of the many people considering or committing to cosmetic dentistry, you may be wondering what your options are. Truth is, there are many cosmetic treatment options to choose from. When deciding on a cosmetic dental treatment, a good place to start is by researching the most commonly performed cosmetic dental procedures. These procedures have earned their popularity for a variety of reasons and are often go-to treatments for many people. Here are the top five treatments performed by a cosmetic dentist:
Currently, teeth whitening has been ranked as the most popular cosmetic treatment. One major reason for this is because it is also one of the easiest cosmetic dental treatments that yields noticeable results. In a single whitening appointment that lasts about an hour, teeth can become about 5-10 shades brighter. During a whitening treatment, your teeth will be cleaned and the whitening agent will be brushed onto the teeth. It is left in place for about 30-60 minutes before being rinsed. The final results of teeth whitening are generally noticed 24 hours after the whitening agent was first applied.
A close second to teeth whitening as the most popular cosmetic dental treatment are dental veneers. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are placed on the front side of teeth to enhance their appearance. One reason veneers are so popular is because they can fix numerous cosmetic issues at once. These include teeth that are broken, stained, oddly or unevenly shaped, crooked, or that have gaps. Veneers are placed with two dental appointments. During the first appointment, a small amount of tooth enamel is removed and a dental impression is taken. Once the permanent veneers have been fabricated, a second appointment is needed to adhere them in place.
Dental implants are becoming increasingly popular among individuals with missing teeth. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that act as an anchor for a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, or denture. Because they need to be implanted into the jawbone, dental implants require dental surgery and multiple dental visits. However, they offer many benefits and are considered to be the best restoration method for missing teeth. To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants, see “Dental Implants”.
Dental Crowns & Bridges
These dental prostheses are used to restore damaged, decayed, or missing teeth, as well as teeth that are stained or oddly shaped. Dental crowns are placed over a single tooth and completely encapsulate the tooth, while dental bridges are made up of a fake tooth with one dental crown on either side. To place this type of restoration, two appointments are usually required. The first appointment is needed to reshape the teeth getting dental crowns and take a dental impression for the dental lab. The second appointment is used to fit and cement the permanent dental crown or bridge.
Cosmetic dental treatments that use dental composite resin include composite fillings and dental bonding. Both treatments can be completed in one appointment and are able to be completely customized to the tooth’s texture and color. Composite fillings are used to fill small dental cavities, while dental bonding is used to repair teeth that are oddly shaped, chipped, cracked, or have gaps between them. Composite resin must be placed one layer and a time, and each layer must be hardened before placing the next layer. The final layer will then be shaped and polished to blend in with the surrounding tooth structure.
These five treatments are currently the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available. As you can see, however, they are all different from one another and offer different pros and cons. To learn more about these treatments and to determine which is best for you, it is recommended to schedule a consultation with your local cosmetic dentist to discuss your options.
Michael C. Shuck graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor of science in Biology. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the Medical College of Virginia, Cum Laude. He takes part in many volunteer outreach events, including Virginia’s Mission of Mercy project, Virginia Special Olympics, Give Kids a Smile, and the Jamaica Project. Dr. Shuck also is a regular volunteer at Williamsburg’s Olde Towne Medical Center. He actively participates with Virginia’s Donated Dental Service. Dr. Shuck has been a practicing dentist in the Williamsburg, Virginia area since 2007.