In addition to general dentistry, such as cleanings, there are cosmetic dentistry procedures. Since most people don’t view these as essential, it is common not to be as familiar with cosmetic dentistry procedures as with general dentistry practices. Take a closer look at some of the procedures that are the most popular, so you can get a better idea of whether they would improve your dental health or smile.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
As the name implies, cosmetic dentistry is dentistry that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth instead of their strength or functionality.
Importantly, you will notice that not everyone includes the same procedures in cosmetic dentistry. While every dentist is likely to consider tooth whitening to be cosmetic, whether or not a crown or other procedure qualifies as cosmetic can vary. Some dentists consider crowns to be restorative.
That means that as we outline the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures, you should keep in mind that not all dentists will consider all of them to be cosmetic. How your dentist classifies them will vary.
Many Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures Also Have Functional Purposes
As you look at the various cosmetic dentistry procedures, you will notice that many of them also have functional purposes. Many prevent already-damaged teeth from becoming more damaged. Many also make it easier to chew food.
Teeth whitening is easily one of the most common types of cosmetic dentistry. You can use home teeth whitening kits but get better results when your dentist whitens your teeth.
Whitening your teeth can be incredibly helpful for your self-esteem and confidence. It will brighten your smile, countering many different potential causes of discoloration.
Tobacco is among the most common reasons for discolored teeth, but dark beverages and other causes can also be to blame.
Just keep in mind that teeth whitening does not prevent future discoloration. That means that if you continue to smoke or drink teeth-staining tea, you may find yourself in need of another whitening procedure.
Not everyone considers tooth-colored fillings cosmetic, but to some extent, they are. After all, they can look more natural than metal fillings or those made from other substances that would be more noticeable.
Of course, fillings have an important medical purpose, protecting your teeth and preventing future problems after the removal of a cavity.
Veneers are another type of cosmetic procedure. These are thin shells that fit over your teeth and make them look whole. This improves your smile, hence their designation as cosmetic.
That being said, veneers can also provide functional improvements. Dr. Sharma uses them to treat gaps between teeth, chipped teeth, and cracks. They are also useful in treating discolored teeth if only a few teeth are affected.
Importantly, veneers come in several materials. For veneers that look like natural teeth, you typically want to opt for porcelain ones. If you are looking for veneers in Chicago, we can help you find the perfect fit.
With bonding, your dentist applies a resin substance to your teeth. This substance is moldable, giving Dr. Sharma the freedom to create a natural shape and appearance for your tooth. This procedure is suitable for treating misshapen, discolored, chipped, or cracked teeth. It is frequently considered cosmetic because the resin used is designed to look like your natural teeth.
Crowns are essentially caps that sit on top of your teeth. Dentists use crowns to improve the appearance of your smile, but they can also hide and protect chipped, decayed, or poorly-shaped teeth.
You can get crowns in various materials and colors. As with veneers, choosing porcelain crowns helps make them look the most like your natural teeth.
Some people consider dental implants to be cosmetic dentistry, but this is not always the case. These are replacements for missing teeth. As such, they improve the appearance of your mouth by filling in the gaps where you previously had teeth. At the same time, however, they are also highly functional. They let you chew and talk normally and can even prevent your jaw from losing strength because of the missing tooth.
Keep in mind that technically, a dental implant is just a small piece of titanium that gets implanted into your jawbone. From there, your dentist will attach a fake tooth of some sort, such as a crown.
This process is time-consuming, as you usually have to wait about six months between having the implant placed and the crown placed. This gives your mouth enough time to recover enough to support the crown with ease.
Invisible braces such as Invisalign are another dental procedure that is sometimes but not always considered cosmetic. They are certainly a more aesthetically-pleasing method of straightening your teeth, making them a popular alternative to braces. On top of that, any type of orthodontics will improve the appearance of your smile.
Of course, straightening your teeth, whether with traditional braces or invisible ones, also has functional benefits. It can make it easier to chew and talk and reduce friction between teeth. It can also fix overcrowding or an overbite.
Cosmetic dental procedures improve the appearance of your smile or your teeth. However, many of them also protect your teeth or improve your ability to chew. Because many of these procedures have a functional aspect in addition to an aesthetic one, how dental offices classify procedures may vary. For example, some may consider all crowns to be cosmetic, while others will only consider porcelain crowns or those that look like natural teeth to be cosmetic. You can work with our cosmetic dentist in Chicago to help you through the process.
From straightening your teeth with braces to preventing further chips with crowns to replacing missing teeth with implants, cosmetic procedures can treat a range of issues. Your dentist can help you decide if one of the above procedures is necessary for your oral health or would at least improve it. At the very least, all of the cosmetic treatments mentioned above should improve the appearance of your smile and, therefore, your confidence in it.