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Cosmetic Dentistry

The Differences – and Similarities – Between Traditional Dentistry and Cosmetic Dentistry

Very simply “traditional dentistry” focuses on oral hygiene and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral disease. Another type, known as “cosmetic dentistry,” focuses on the improvement of the appearance of a person’s teeth, mouth, and smile. In short, traditional dentistry is made up of restorative, general, and/or family practices that handle problems where treatment to the teeth is necessary, and “cosmetic dentistry” consists of elective – or desired – services.

It should be noted, however, that cosmetic dentistry also provides restorative benefits. Dental fillings, for instance, are a common solution to treat decayed teeth. In the past, most dental fillings left spots on the teeth, because they were mostly made from gold and amalgam, among other materials.

Interestingly, dental fillings may currently be categorized as cosmetic dentistry. That’s because fillings that are made from porcelain or composite materials more closely match the color of human teeth. This means that the natural appearance of a person’s teeth and smile is more natural and easier to maintain. One trend which many people are following is replacing their older fillings with newer, tooth-colored ones which will enhance their oral appearance.

Cosmetic Dentistry Trends

Thanks to modern technological advancements, the ability to make teeth look natural through cosmetic dental treatments is much stronger and more reliable. In fact, many dentists today regularly tend to use conservative cosmetic dentistry techniques to preserve as much of a patient’s natural tooth structure as is possible. Other technologies, such as lasers, are also used in cosmetic dental procedures. Now, dentists can perform cosmetic dentistry right in the Cornerstone Dental office and don’t need to send referrals to specialists. Many factors ranging from certain procedures such as “smile makeovers” to shorter recovery times are now possible in cosmetic dentistry.

What Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments are Currently Practiced? In Alphabetical Order…

Composite Bonding: Through the practice of composite bonding, teeth that are chipped, broken, discolored, or otherwise decayed may be repaired or undergo an improved appearance. Enamel and dentin are combined into a composite material that gets applied into either a patient’s cavity or on the surface of his or her tooth. Then, the composite material is sculpted into shape and contoured. Finally, with the help of high-intensity light, the composite is hardened, which results in restored teeth that blend seamlessly with the rest of the patient’s surrounding tooth structure.

Dental Implants: When a patient suffers from tooth loss, they frequently choose dental implants as a remedy. These are artificial tooth root replacements that make up part of a prosthetic (or artificial replacement) procedure that compensates for tooth loss. Patients not only enjoy the benefits of a beaming smile but a more youthful appearance as well. (That’s because missing teeth cause the face to “sink in,” making a patient look older than he or she might be.)

Dental Veneers: These are composite or porcelain laminates that can be adhesively bonded to the surface of a patient’s tooth. The many applications of dental veneers range from filling in gaps to repairing chips and cracks in teeth, which also improves their appearance from extreme discoloration. Dental veneers are also an effective alternate option to teeth whitening.

Full Mouth Reconstruction: A patient who is considering a smile makeover may learn – upon consultation with his or her dentist – that treatment might be necessary to correct functional problems of the mouth’s bite, muscles, teeth, and bone structure. And patients who’ve already had full mouth reconstruction don’t have to worry. The current materials that are applied will result in treatments that are durable, functional, and clinically sound – and which also leads to a natural-looking smile.

Inlays and Onlays: The terms “inlays” and “onlays” define fillings that are made from porcelain or composite materials. Also known as “indirect fillings,” this treatment is both a long-term and cosmetic solution for providing a “filling” to teeth that have experienced tooth decay or some form of structural damage. Inlays and onlays are unique because they are designed and created in a dental laboratory before being fitted and bonded into a patient’s mouth. This is the opposite method of the application of traditional dental fillings, which are molded and fitted during a dental visit.

Smile Makeover: This is not a standalone procedure, and it takes time and consideration. A smile makeover requires a complete assessment of a patient’s “smile esthetics,” so that its appearance can be improved. One or more cosmetic dentistry procedures – dental veneers, dental implants, gingival sculpting, and teeth whitening – complement this procedure, which is often required for teeth in both the upper and lower arches.

Teeth Whitening: Most everyone has heard of teeth whitening, which is probably the most recommended of all cosmetic dentistry procedures. Due to smoking, food, drinking coffee, tea, red wine, or overall poor oral hygiene, a patient’s teeth often get stained, and bleaching them may enhance the appearance of his or her smile.

So, there are many cosmetic dentistry options that are available to help anyone who wishes to improve the appearance of his or her smile. Are you unhappy with yours? If so, please check out our detailed articles that cover cosmetic procedures and learn about the various treatments available to brighten your smile. Interested in scheduling an appointment with a cosmetic dental specialist in our Middletown, NY office? Call 845-342-4668 to learn more.

Are you experiencing trouble with your teeth that a crown or bridge could fix?

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