Traditional dentistry is basically centered on general oral hygiene – diagnosing, preventing and treating oral diseases on a person. Cosmetic dentistry, on the other hand, is generally viewed as focused more on the improvement of a person’s appearance by way of his teeth, mouth and smile.
Cosmetic dentistry is more on providing desired treatments and services ordered by the patient. These treatments and services provide restorative benefits and not just from the point of view of aesthetics.
An example would be the case of simple dental fillings. In the old days, dental fillings are made of gold, amalgam and other materials that leave dark spots on the teeth.
Today, you may choose the color of your dental fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that match the color of your natural teeth. In this regard, dental fillings fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry.
There are now more dental services categorized under cosmetic dentistry at present.
Inlays /onlays / bonding
Inlays and onlays are also known as indirect fillings. These are long-lasting cosmetic fillings for teeth with structural damages caused by tooth decay and the like.
They are made in dental laboratories before being fitted and bonded into place by adhesives. (In the old days, fillings were painstakingly molded into place within the mouth during dental visits.)
Composite bonding corrects teeth that are broken, chipped, decayed or discolored. The composite material (looking like enamel and dentin to blend with the patient’s natural teeth color) are applied into the cavity, sculpted and shaped into place, and hardened by lasers.
This is one of the most common cosmetic dental services availed of today. Teeth stained from smoking, food and colored drinks (and maybe also due to poor oral hygiene) are treated by bleaching them, thus enhancing one’s smile.
These are laminates made of composites or porcelain that are bonded to the surface of the tooth to correct and repair chips, cracks, worn appearance or severe teeth discoloration.
Sometimes, they are administered to correct gaps in the teeth, or dark surfaces not corrected by teeth whitening.
These are artificial tooth root replacements used in prosthetic (artificial replacement) dentistry. These are to replace a missing tooth (or more) in the gums to project a perfect set of teeth.
This procedure results in enhanced, healthy-looking smile in a person. (A perfect set of teeth projects health.)
Basically, this is a comprehensive assessment in the aesthetics of your smile (crooked, ugly, lopsided, etc.) and the procedures to improve its overall appearance. This may take not just one or two cosmetic dentistry procedures.
These can include dental veneers, implants, gingival (gums) sculpting, teeth whitening and other procedures on both lower and upper dental arches.
Full mouth reconstruction
This procedure basically provides treatment to correct altogether the many functional problems with your mouth, your bite, related muscles, teeth and bone structure.
With today’s available materials and technology, this procedure can be executed by a competent cosmetic dental professional to give you those natural-looking enhancements.
For people who are not pleased with the color, size or shape of their teeth, including the way their mouths open when they smile, cosmetic dentistry might just be able to help.