In this age of modern dental technology, new methods are emerging every day to improve one’s physical appearance and overall quality of life. A smile can say a lot about a person, and influence the way others perceive him or her. Fortunately, there are orthodontists and oral surgeons who specialize in cosmetic dentistry, correcting abnormalities of the teeth and structure of the jaw.

These cosmetic procedures may require several sessions of oral surgery or simply one visit. Less invasive methods for improving the appearance of the teeth include teeth whitening procedures. Here is a breakdown of what the most common cosmetic dental procedures consist of – and how they might improve one’s quality of life:

1. Teeth Whitening Procedures

This is probably the most common cosmetic dental procedure. Patients who are not satisfied with the results of over the counter teeth whitening preparations may elect to have a professional procedure performed. Professional teeth whitening is designed to remove staining on the surface of the teeth that causes a yellowish discoloration. This may be done by the use of abrasive chemicals or laser treatment.

A cosmetic dentist may bleach a patient’s teeth or provide the necessary bleaching materials for the patient to apply at home. If performed at home, a dentist will need to make a fitted tray that conforms to the patient’s mouth. When undergoing a bleaching procedure to whiten teeth, the effects will not last permanently, and the patient may elect to have annual procedures done.

An in-office procedure performed with the use of special whitening gel may provide permanent results. This procedure is sometimes referred to as Britesmile whitening and typically costs several hundred dollars when performed by a cosmetic dentist. Another one-time procedure to brighten one’s teeth is known as laser whitening. It can be more costly than most procedures, but the major advantage is that it only takes one office visit for fast and noticeable results.

Teeth Whitening Procedures

2. Porcelain Veneers As An Alternative To Crowns

Individuals who have imperfections of the teeth, such as chips or irregularly shaped teeth, may elect to have porcelain veneers. The porcelain veneers may be more expensive than the plastic variety, but they are typically durable and create a very natural looking appearance. Expect the veneers to last several years; in some cases up to 15-20 years.

The veneers are “glued” over the natural teeth and require less removal of the tooth to place them. Many patients prefer the porcelain veneers for small gaps in the teeth as well, and enjoy the advantage of not having to be concerned about staining. The procedure of applying porcelain veneers typically takes about two office visits.

3. The Versatility Of Dental Implants

An individual that is missing a tooth may choose to have a dental implant to hold an artificial or “false” tooth in place. This procedure is done surgically, by implanting titanium into the jaw bone. In order for the procedure to be successful, the patient needs to have sufficient bone material to anchor the implant. Dental implants are another alternative to bridges, as the implants are designed to last a lifetime.

Replacement of the crown atop of the implant may be necessary after about 12 years or so. Many individuals consider dental implants to be more natural looking than dentures, and more comfortable as well. Unlike some dentures which can fit loosely or incorrectly, causing difficulty with chewing or speaking, dental implants provide total functionality.

Finding A Skilled Cosmetic Dentist

In conclusion, it is important to take into consideration a few important factors when considering cosmetic dentistry. Obviously, obtaining a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist is vitally important. Considering the dentist’s credentials should be a top priority, as well as how much experience he or she has had in performing the procedure you plan on having performed.

A dental hygienist may be able to provide referrals, and word of mouth from friends and family may be helpful as well. It is also helpful to view before and after photos of the completed dental work the specialist has performed. It’s also a good idea to inquire about the technology used for the procedures, such as laser and imaging equipment.

Choosing a qualified cosmetic dentist that makes his patients feel comfortable and at ease is imperative for a positive experience. The initial consultation should inspire confidence, and the patient’s questions should be answered to his satisfaction. Enlisting the services of a cosmetic dentist is a decision that may effect how a person feels about his appearance for a lifetime.

This is a guest post by Jon Engle. To find a Waco dentist or find a dentist office in your area, consider Castle Dental.

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