- Cosmetic procedures improve the appearance and, in some cases, function of the teeth.
- It primarily focuses on color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance.
- Your dentist can tell you if your teeth are healthy enough for cosmetic procedures and what kind of results you can expect.
It has never been easier to have an attractive healthy smile. Your dentist is the expert who is best able to recommend the right options for you that are suitable to your specific needs and treatment plan.
Bonding is used to repair teeth that are decayed, chipped, fractured or discoloured. It can even reduce gaps between teeth. A dentist mixes composite resin — a type of plastic — into a paste. They then tint the mixture to whiten or match the colour of your teeth. Several layers of resin are applied to each tooth. Each layer is hardened under ultraviolet light or laser. The dentist then shapes and polishes the resin material so the finished tooth looks natural and smooth.
Bonding can also be used to build up older teeth to make them appear younger. It is an option for people of all ages, including children, as the resin can be replaced as teeth grow.
Caps and Crowns
A cap or crown is a cover that fits over a tooth that has been broken, misshaped, badly stained or damaged by decay. It is prepared by your dentist, and usually requires more than one visit to complete.
A crown can be made of acrylic, metal, porcelain, or porcelain bonded to metal. All-porcelain crowns look more like your natural teeth. They are usually used for front teeth. Porcelain bonded to metal is stronger and better for crowns in the back of the mouth. Sometimes all-metal crowns are used for back teeth because of the metal’s strength.
To prepare your tooth for a crown, the tooth is first frozen. It’s then filed down so the cap can fit over it. The dentist makes an impression of the teeth and gums and puts a temporary cap over the tooth until the permanent cap is ready. On your next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary cap and cement the permanent crown onto the tooth. The crown will closely match the colour and shape of your natural teeth.
Bridges and Implants
Bridges and implants are two ways to replace a missing tooth or teeth.
A bridge replaces one or more missing teeth. It is called a “bridge” because it covers a gap. Bridges are false teeth anchored in place by neighbouring teeth. The bridge consists of two crowns on the anchoring teeth along with the false tooth in the centre.
Dental implants are artificial roots used to support replacement teeth. One or more small metal posts are surgically inserted beneath the gums into the jaw bone. In a few months, when the implants are fused to the surrounding bone, the artificial tooth or teeth are then attached.
There was a time when most people ended up with dentures. Natural teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. But people still lose teeth for various reasons. That’s where dentures come in. They restore smiles, give a more youthful look to the face and also allow people to eat, swallow and speak with ease.
There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Each is made from an impression of the patient’s mouth. A mold is made and the measurements are sent to a lab to be made into permanent dentures. Dentures are secured by attaching to or fitting over any remaining natural teeth or implants.
Veneers are strong, thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the teeth. They are used to repair chipped, decayed or stained teeth and may help in closing gaps between teeth. Veneers may also correct slightly crowded or overlapping teeth. If your teeth have discoloured with age, a veneer may improve their appearance.
Veneers can also be used for cosmetic reasons instead of crowns, which are more often used for badly damaged or decayed teeth. The tooth enamel needs to be ground down slightly in order to accommodate the veneer.
Veneer preparations frequently need the use of local anesthetic. Depending on the colour and shade, it may take more than one appointment to complete.
Teeth whitening is the process many people use to brighten their smile. While teeth naturally darken with age, staining can also be caused by foods and beverages like coffee, tea, wine and berries. Some medications, smoking or tooth damage can also cause discolouration.
There are many teeth whitening options available:
- whitening toothpaste, gels or strips you can buy at the store;
- at-home whitening under a dentist’s care; and
- in-office whitening.
It’s important to talk to your dentist before doing any teeth whitening procedure at home. Your teeth need to be healthy and strong enough to handle the treatment. Your dentist will consider your unique oral health conditions and can tell you which method, if any, is suitable for whitening your teeth.
Keep Your Natural Teeth
Avoid costly procedures by practicing good dental care.