What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry includes all procedures and treatments done to improve the appearance of the teeth, gums and/or bite.
What does it include?
Cosmetic treatment includes the following procedures:
• Reshaping and contouring
• Using Laminates and Veneers
• Gum lift
What benefits do these treatments offer?
Whatever the reasons may be, undergoing cosmetic treatment can address all dental problems leaving the person with a beautiful smile and helps them regain self-confidence.
However, it may not always be just cosmetic. Many of these procedures rectify associated functional problems such as an improper bite.
Who requires Cosmetic Dental Treatment?
Cosmetic treatment is usually done to treat a gummy smile, discolored/yellowish, chipped, mis-shaped or missing teeth.
How are the procedures done?
1. Bleaching/ Tooth Whitening: Most common cosmetic dental procedure. It is used to make teeth whiter and lighten the discoloration caused due to medications, coffee, tobacco use, etc.
It is a 45 min to 1hr procedure. The first step includes the patient’s initial assessment including the medical and dental history and clinical exam of the teeth and gums. A shade guide is used to determine the tooth color/shade. This helps the dentist and the patient to appreciate the results at the end of the procedure.
A protective layer is carefully painted on the gums and papilla (the tips of the gums between the teeth) to reduce the risk of chemical burns. The bleaching agent is then applied on the tooth surface, left on for a few minutes and washed off.
NOTE: Not all stains can be lightened by the process. In case of sensitive teeth, gum disease or worn-out enamel, the dentist may discourage tooth whitening.
2. Reshaping and Contouring: Imperfections such as slight overlapping or irregularly shaped teeth, tiny chips, or excessively pointy tooth surfaces, can be fixed with reshaping and contouring. The procedure is performed using specialized instruments and techniques. Dental X-rays are taken before the procedure to ensure that the teeth are healthy. The dentist then identifies the specific areas on the teeth that need sculpting. Instruments are then used to artfully eliminate or minimize the imperfections on the teeth. Finally, the teeth are smoothed and polished.
3. Laminates and Veneers: These are wafer-thin; custom-made shells of tooth-colored material (porcelain) designed to cover the front surface of teeth. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing the color, shape, size, or length of the teeth.
The procedure requires the dentist to take an impression of the tooth/teeth. Before the veneer is cemented onto the surface, the dentist will slightly buff the tooth to compensate for the added thickness of the veneer. Once the bonding agent is between the veneer and the tooth, a light beam is used to harden it. Final finishing is done in the end. The dentist may call the patient after a week for a follow-up visit after the procedure.
NOTE: The entire treatment requires atleast 2-3 sittings to allow for the fabrication of the veneer. A temporary veneer is placed onto the teeth for that duration of time.
4. Gum lift: It is a cosmetic dental procedure that raises and sculpts the gum line. The procedure involves reshaping the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.
NOTE: This is a slightly invasive procedure and requires administration of a local anesthetic agent.