One of the first things that most individuals notice about those they meet is their mouth. A healthy mouth and attractive smile can be very engaging and reassuring, while any aspect of an unhealthy mouth and suppressed smile can be disquieting and bothersome. We may not want to admit that we judge others by an aspect of how they look, but the truth is that an unhealthy mouth tends to give the impression that the individual does not properly care for himself–even if that isn’t at all true. This is why we tend to gravitate toward those who have healthy mouths and suppress showing off our own mouths if we don’t feel that they are as healthy as they should be.
When it comes to the health and appearance of their mouths, one of the primary concerns that dental patients have is the feeling that their teeth and mouth are not attractive or aesthetically pleasing. This can make them feel self-conscious and uncomfortable about speaking and smiling normally and naturally, because they are under the impression that they need to hide their mouth for some reason or other. Whether these imperfections are real or imagined, large or small, they can contribute to one’s overall oral health and confidence, and therefore need to be addressed. The way to address such issues is through cosmetic dentistry.
Cosmetic Dentistry Basics
As compared to preventative and restorative dentistry, which are focused on the maintenance and restoration of optimal oral health respectively, cosmetic dentistry is focused on improving the appearance of one’s mouth, teeth and smile. It follows then that most cosmetic dentistry procedures are elective rather than required–though there are a few restorative dental procedures that can also provide cosmetic benefits.
Following are a few of the more common cosmetic dental procedures:
- Composite bonding. Where teeth have suffered from minor decay, discoloration, chipping, cracking or wearing, composite bonding can help to restore the appearance of a healthy tooth. Once any existing decay has been cleaned out of the tooth, the dentist applies composite directly onto the surface of the tooth and then uses dental tools to mold it into the right shape. A special dental curing light is used to harden the composite, leaving the individual with a tooth that appears to be healthy and natural.
- Dental veneers. These thin “shells” are made in a dental laboratory to fit over the front of an individual’s natural teeth. They are often made from ceramic, though they may sometimes be made of other materials, and can help to hide the appearance of a number of undesirable dental issues, including crooked teeth, gaps between teeth and even cracked or damaged enamel.
- Teeth whitening. Perhaps the single most common and basic cosmetic dental procedure is teeth whitening. After teeth have been thoroughly cleaned to remove leftover food particles, plaque, tartar and other buildup, they can be whitened in order to appear even brighter and cleaner. This procedure is especially useful when considering the fact that teeth naturally tend to stain over the years due to one’s food and beverage consumption, medication and other habits like tobacco use. Whitening procedures can help to make one’s teeth younger and healthier in appearance.
- Inlays and onlays. These are often considered as required restorative dental procedures, not cosmetic dental procedures, however they do have a place in both fields. On the one hand, these indirect fillings are extremely useful in cases where there is mild to moderate tooth decay and the tooth structure will need to be adequately supported after clean out. On the other hand, inlays and onlays are made from a composite resin material that can be matched to natural tooth color and molded to restore proper tooth shape and function.
Whichever cosmetic dental procedure appeals to you, the friendly, knowledgeable staff at Today’s Dental will be happy to help you achieve your goals. For more information, contact us today.