Strong teeth and a beautiful smile are essential for several reasons, both esthetically and healthwise. An attractive smile, or lack thereof, impacts your oral health. Additionally, self-confidence and how people perceive you from the outside is also affected because your smile is usually the first feature someone notices. On this note, you must strive to keep your smile in check.
However, from time to time, a person’s smile could be threatened by dental problems such as chipped, crooked, discolored, broken, stained, or misaligned teeth. If you have any of these issues, you may feel insecure and embarrassed to open your mouth. Fortunately, these issues can be addressed by cosmetic dental procedures. All you have to do is reach out to a cosmetic dentist as soon as possible.
At Washington Dental, we’re experts in cosmetic dentistry and are dedicated to delivering excellent results to all the patients seeking help in Carson, CA. Our team of cosmetic dentists offers quality services when it comes to cosmetic dental procedures. Whether you are looking for a simple fix or a more intensive reconstructive procedure, you can rest assured that we will help you achieve a beautiful smile. Call us today to set up a consultation with one of our expert cosmetic dentists.
Defining Cosmetic Dentistry
The (ADA) American Dental Association hasn’t clearly defined what cosmetic dentistry (also called esthetic dentistry) is. However, dental specialists define it as dental techniques that enhance the appearance of your teeth. These techniques don’t necessarily improve the health of the teeth, oral hygiene, or treat oral diseases—they primarily aim at correcting your self-image and smile and provide restorative treatments. Put otherwise, many cosmetic dental procedures aren’t essential, but they could bring a wide array of benefits, such as improving your confidence, doing routine cleaning easily, and reducing teeth grinding (bruxism).
Cosmetic dentistry procedures range from simple treatment to more complex surgical procedures, depending on the patient’s needs. When determining what option is best for your needs, a dental specialist may first examine your oral/dental health. Each smile and self-image are unique. Therefore, each smile requires a given procedure and not the other. An expert dental professional will evaluate your medical history and your needs at the initial consultation before telling you what procedure best suits you. Common procedures in the cosmetic dentistry field are:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental veneers
- Inlays and Onlays
- Dental bonding
- Dental bridges
- Dental crowns
- Smile makeover
- Gap-tooth replacement
- Tooth replacement
Each of these procedures is used to achieve specific purposes and provide treatment for particular cases.
Why Opt for Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dental procedures are performed to correct chipped, missing, and discolored teeth. They’re sophisticated and simple solutions for fixing smiles based on an individual’s outcome. Per the experts, there exist several reasons why a person could be unhappy with their smile. For instance, the most prevalent causes are teeth crowding, teeth gaps, and tooth discoloration.
Dental veneers are the most requested treatment option since they can fix all the cosmetic problems mentioned above. You want to have a dentist who is qualified in the specific area of treatment you’re seeking. For instance, all dental specialists learn cosmetic dental techniques in traditional dental schools. However, some dental specialists invest more money and time into advancing their cosmetic dentistry education, making them high-equipped than those who haven’t made that same investment. Therefore, finding a dentist specializing in cosmetic dental procedures ensures you’ll receive the best quality treatment.
If you have missing, severely decayed, or damaged teeth, you may undergo a dental implant procedure to replace the tooth. Your dentist will first attach a titanium screw to your jawbone at the area of the missing tooth to provide support. Then, he/she will insert the implant into the jawbone socket of the missing tooth. If you’re receiving an implant for a damaged or decayed tooth, the dentist will first remove the tooth before undergoing the usual dental implant procedure. Inserting implants is quite an intricate surgical procedure that requires a professional to handle and regular check-ups.
With time, the tissue and bone fuse to the dental implant, securing the replacement tooth inside the mouth. After it’s properly attached, the implant blends into the adjacent natural teeth. You’ll have to practice thorough oral hygiene during and after the dental implant placement procedure to clean food debris and plaque from the area undergoing treatment.
Implants are a good option for patients with missing teeth. When you have them in place, shifts or deterioration of the jawbone may stop or reduce. If you’ve lost teeth or if they’ve fallen out, the remaining ones may become unstable, leading to more complicated issues. Dental implants will take care of this problem and restore a proper mouth function that allows better chewing with a mouth full of teeth.
Dental crowns are also called dental caps. They fit over the damaged or decayed teeth. These caps can prevent weak teeth from breaking or are used to cover severely discolored or misshapen teeth cosmetically. They may also be utilized to cover other dental procedures like enamel fillings, dental implants, dental bridges, or root canals.
Crowns are generally made from porcelain, giving them a more natural appearance because it resembles an original tooth and it’s more durable. For dental crown insertion, your dentist will first create an impression of your teeth during your initial visit to mold a natural and fitting cap. On the second visit, he/she will place the crown on top of the affected tooth.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and Onlays are also called indirect fillings. They’re used when teeth are too decayed that they can’t support a typical filling. Indirect fillings are molded in a dental lab, and a cosmetic dentist bonds them into place. An Onlay refers to when the filling covers more or one part of your tooth or covers the tooth’s entire surface. An inlay is where the material is bonded in the center of the tooth.
Inlays and Onlays are an alternative to dental crowns. They preserve more of your tooth’s natural surface, at the same time restoring and strengthening the tooth after deterioration or decay. Before, indirect fillings were made from gold. Nowadays, they’re made from a composite of ceramic or porcelain material and fixed to the teeth using adhesive dental cement.
If you have gaps between teeth, dental bridges could be the ideal cosmetic dentistry option. As the name suggests, the dental bridge procedure involved bridging gaps within the teeth. You could also opt for this if you have missing teeth. Apart from enhancing your smile’s appearance, this procedure also restores teeth and mouth functionality.
Dental bridging entails using artificial teeth (pontics). The dentist places these artificial teeth in-between two original teeth for additional support and strength. Apart from fixing the pontics to the original teeth, the dentist may even attach them directly to the jawbone using a strong adhesive, based on your situation. There four primary types of dental bridges — cantilever, traditional, implant-supported, and Maryland. What dental bridge is recommended for a particular patient is based on their specific situation, such as their oral health.
The procedure to insert dental bridges is more intricate and needs more than one dental visit. The dentist will first create an impression of your teeth and then mold and shape the artificial teeth to resemble your natural teeth. This is done during the first visit. During this stage, the dentist may give you a temporary dental bridge.
On the second visit, the dentist will place the artificial teeth in the mouth and cement them into their intended place. The dental bridge lasts up to twenty years after placement if you practice good oral hygiene. It is a naturally-looking and durable solution for imperfections that arise because of missing and gapped teeth.
Dental bonding is done to repair cracked, broken, chipped, misshapen, discolored, or decayed teeth using a tooth-colored composite resin. Here, the dental specialist applies the tooth-colored composite resin to the affected tooth then hardens it using ultraviolet light. He/she then trims, shapes, and polishes the material to blend into the tooth surface. If the tooth is decayed, the dentist will first drill out the decayed part before applying the composite resin.
Dental bonding effectively covers the damaged part of the tooth, giving a healthy-tooth appearance. It’s generally a restorative procedure meant to achieve natural results that blend into your tooth’s surrounding structure.
Composite bonding closely resembles procedures like dental veneers, crowns, and fillings. However, this has its unique benefits. For one, it is a more affordable alternative treatment option than the others if you’re addressing minor cosmetic problems. Bonding is also one of the simplest and quickest procedures, and it can help in situations of receding gum. Finally, bonding is a procedure that doesn’t remove as much tooth enamel as other processes, thus retaining more of your tooth’s natural structure.
Dental bonding also doesn’t last long like many other procedures, and it might require more upkeep. Additionally, bonding treatments might be chipped with time, requiring fixing. Although bonding can help with stains and discoloration, it may also become stained with time. As with the original teeth, you’ll still need to maintain good oral hygiene practices when it comes to bonding. If you’re considering composite bonding, you should weigh these benefits and drawbacks. Your dental specialist can help you determine whether this cosmetic dentistry option is ideal for your case or not.
Veneers are thin, white caps made from ceramic, resin, or porcelain. They are custom-made for every patient to look like their original teeth. These can correct multiple cosmetic problems, from damaged or cracked enamel, noticeable gaps between teeth to crooked teeth. The dental specialist uses a dental adhesive to fit the veneer onto the front side of every tooth. Before fixing the dental veneers, your dentist will first remove a little bit of the tooth enamel from your teeth surface so the caps can be realistically bonded to the teeth.
Apart from the function mentioned above, dental veneers can be recommended to fix stained or discolored teeth if routine teeth whitening becomes unsuccessful. Not only do veneers improve the appearance of the teeth, but they also strengthen them more.
Common reasons that make you go for dental veneers include teeth discoloration or staining, cracked or chipped teeth, misaligned or uneven teeth, and gaps in teeth. Dental veneers provide visible corrections to the teeth.
There are different dental veneers, including composite veneers, palatal veneers, porcelain veneers, Lumineer veneers, Cerec veneers, and temporary veneers. Your dentist recommends a given type of veneer based on your specific needs and its affordability. Typically, veneers last for several years and will continue providing an enhanced appearance for as long as they last.
Dental veneer attachment is done in a simple process that could be conducted in only one visit. And after this simple procedure, you’ll see a lasting outcome that could significantly improve your smile.
Teeth whitening is one of the most basic cosmetic dentistry procedures— and one of the least expensive. It could be conducted at home or your dental specialist’s office, usually in only one visit. With time, teeth may be stained from medications, food, drinks, or other practices like smoking. Most people opt for teeth whitening so they can brighten their smiles more.
First, your dentist will clean your teeth to remove tartar, plaque, and food particles, then conduct the teeth whitening procedure using a bleaching agent. The teeth surface will bleach, resulting in a whiter, brighter appearance than the teeth original color.
You can also use over-the-counter products such as Whitestrips, rinses, and toothpaste to whiten your teeth. However, these can only achieve medium results (three shades) over an extended period (one or two weeks). For optimal results with these products, you‘ll need to use them for over four weeks. On the other hand, professional tooth whitening achieves a shade up to five to eight times lighter over just a short period.
As mentioned above, teeth whitening can be done in only one visit, and it could be quick. However, based on how severe the discoloration and stains are, you may need to make several visits to the dentist for treatment. However, it’s worth noting that teeth whitening isn’t permanent. Your teeth may be discolored or stained again by drinking and eating certain drinks/foods and having poor dental/oral hygiene.
If you have missing tissue or teeth, dentures might be an ideal treatment option. Dentures are partial or complete sets of removable teeth. Based on the number of teeth you’re missing, your dentist will help you determine whether you should go for a partial or complete set. Often, partial dentures are recommended when a patient hasn’t lost all or most of the teeth. Dentures correct your smile and the functionality of your mouth.
The procedure to receive dentures starts with the dentist creating an impression of your mouth, which will help them mold a set of dentures that fits comfortably and perfectly. After that, he/she will then fix the molded dentures, which you’ll start using right away.
Dentures are durable if you take proper care of them. Often, over time, the dentures may have to be remade, rebased, or realigned because they wear off as you use them. After receiving the dentures, you have to treat them like you would your original teeth. By this, it means they need regular cleaning and maintenance.
Clear Aligners and Dental Braces
Clear aligners and dental braces are orthodontic treatments, but they can also fall under cosmetic dentistry by nature. This is because many people who invest in clear aligners or braces do so to enhance their appearance. However, in some instances, these dental appliances may be medically necessary. They are used to correct a misaligned jaw (malocclusion) or crooked/crowded teeth. They’re made of ceramic or metal, wire, and bonding material that attaches them to the teeth.
Braces and clear aligners work by putting pressure on the teeth and jawbone, making them move into their correct position with time. Treatment with dental braces/clear aligners is generally effective, but their effectiveness is based on the patient and their ability to carefully follow the dentist’s instructions.
There are different types of braces. What kind your dentist recommends is based on various factors, like your age and whether you have an overbite apart from having crooked teeth. These types include metallic, lingual, ceramic, and invisible braces. Braces and clear aligners are custom-made and individual to each person’s needs.
The gum contouring cosmetic procedure changes your gums’ shape. During this process, your dentist cuts away excessive gum tissue that’s causing a gummy smile. A gummy smile is when you have too much gum tissue above your upper teeth. Gum contouring is also used to restore exposed teeth due to receding gum.
Tooth replacement is another common cosmetic dentistry procedure. As the name implies, this process is performed to replace missing teeth and restore your smile’s appearance. As far as tooth replacement is concerned, there are several options, including dental bridges and implants. As we mentioned, your dentist will first discuss what option best suits you based on your specific situation. You could even opt to receive dentures if you are missing multiple teeth.
A smile makeover isn’t just one procedure. Instead, it’s a set of comprehensive procedures designed to enhance your smile’s overall appearance. As the name implies, this form of treatment aims at providing a total transformation.
Usually, before undergoing this set of procedures, your dentist comprehensively assesses your smile to determine what’s required to enhance its general appearance. After the assessment, he/she may recommend several cosmetic procedures, including what we have already mentioned (veneers, implants, teeth whitening, dental bonding, crowns, dentures, bridges, tooth replacement, and gingival sculpting).
Additionally, this procedure encompasses the entire mouth, meaning it may impact multiple teeth. A smile makeover is done to improve the general esthetics of a smile and your mouth structure. When undergoing a smile makeover, the dentist will consider a smile line and teeth length, proportions, color, and texture. With these details in mind, the dentist sculpts your teeth into a beautiful smile.
Smile makeover procedures differ from one person to another. Because each smile is unique and everybody has their problems, a smile makeover is personalized to target a specific issue. However, the outcome is the same for everybody— a beautiful smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry and Dental Insurance Coverage
Most cosmetic treatment options are not covered by insurance since they’re often elective as opposed to essential. But if the procedure is medically necessary, insurance providers will cover it.
- Teeth whitening— isn’t insurance-covered
- Veneers— not insurance-covered
- Crowns— not covered
- Braces— insurance may cover this partially, based on the insurance plan and age.
- Gum contouring— insurance could partially cover this if the procedure is necessary for oral health reasons.
- Clear aligners— insurance could partially cover this based on the insurance plan and age.
- Dental bridges and implants — covered by insurance
- Dental bonding— is partially covered if it’s necessary for the health of your teeth
Contact a Cosmetic Dentist Near Me
Cosmetic dentistry helps boost your confidence by giving you a whiter and brighter smile. Therefore, if you have any issue that proves to threaten your smile, like uneven, discolored, gapped, missing, broken, or chipped teeth, cosmetic dental procedures may be ideal for you. And if you’re going for these procedures, you want to find a cosmetic dentist who specifically offers the option you are interested in to give you more guidance on what procedure best suits you.
At Washington Dental, we love assisting patients who feel embarrassed about their smiles to feel and look their best. We offer these patients the best-quality cosmetic dentistry services to give them a gentle and lasting solution for their dental problems. We use the most modern techniques and equipment that help serve our patient’s best interests. We also conduct our procedures with the utmost regard for the patient’s comfort and convenience. If you seek cosmetic dental services in Carson, CA, call us today at 310-217-1507 to know more about what procedures we offer and what will best suit your needs.