When it comes to dental work, one of the most far reaching specialties is cosmetic dentistry. Why is this? Perhaps it’s because, with so many teeth in the mouth and so many ways to mess them up, we also need a variety of methods to fix them. Or, perhaps it’s simply because we as humans are vain, and inventing more and more ways to improve our appearance with better teeth is just our natural inclination.
Regardless of the reason, cosmetic dentistry reaches far. From moving and adjusting teeth to beautifying and replacing them, the possibilities are seriously expansive, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that if you’ve got a problem with your smile, it can probably be fixed by cosmetic dentistry.
So how far reaching do these procedures really go? Let’s take a look.
First, we’ll look at one of the more involved procedures to give you an example of the scope of work that can be completed with cosmetic dentistry. It goes far beyond dental bridges and crowns, that’s for sure! So we start with corrective jaw surgery. While it is, technically, maxillofacial surgery, it could still be described as a cosmetic procedure if your intent is to correct something like a protruding jaw or a receding lower jaw. In most cases, these conditions are handled by dislocating and relocating the jaw, so that it heals in its proper place.
Behind jaw positioning, most cosmetic procedures involve the teeth directly. Outside of moving the jaw, some of the more involved cosmetic procedures tend to be related to the placement of dental implants, this is where teeth replacement comes into play. Teeth can be replaced in a variety of ways, ranging from dental bridges (for 1 to 3 teeth) and dentures (entire rows of teeth, or sections of your teeth) to dental implants, which can replace any number of teeth (albeit, at a higher price). The options patients choose here vary greatly depending on a number of factors ranging from price, to the location of the teeth being replaced. For example, it wouldn’t be surprising for a patient to be suggested a dental implant over a dental bridge in order to replace a hard to reach tooth. Other times, a partial denture might be recommended over a fixed bridge if the space between natural and missing teeth is significant. In every one of these situations, it is important to have an open and honest conversation with your dentist about your desires, your budget, and your concerns about that various solutions available, because with so many solutions available and the ever-present fact that every patient is unique, what works for your smile might not work for someone else’s.
Beautifying Your Teeth
Some of the most popular procedures in cosmetic dentistry focus on improving the look of your teeth. This is because many of them are fast and relatively simple, giving patients a quick route to greater confidence through better teeth.
Perhaps the fastest and easiest of these procedures is in-office teeth whitening. Whereas many cosmetic dentistry procedures can seem daunting or involved, teeth whitening is frequently chosen by patients of all ages who desire a fast and effective boost to their “dental confidence” without much work, hardly any discomfort, and a very low investment. Teeth whitening can brighten your teeth up to 12 shades, making a noticeable difference in just a couple of hours. Whether you have an important event coming up, or have recently stopped smoking and want to reward yourself – options like this are popular for a reason.
On the other end of the “beautification spectrum” is dental veneers. While more expensive than procedures like whitening, dental veneers place a thin coating of expertly designed porcelain to work, disguising your natural teeth with a life-like replacement that not only looks great, but also helps add strength. Porcelain veneers can do a lot, from covering up a dead, discolored, or misshapen tooth, to concealing gaps in your teeth.
The Final Word
Whether you have a single tooth that’s bothering you or a number of tooth that mar your smile, if you’ve paid any attention you’ll know that there are options out there. The best part is, there are usually multiple options for fixing a variety of problems, ensuring that — for many teeth — there’s always something to be done.