Today, cosmetic dentistry is more popular than ever, from whitening the shade of teeth and shaping to closing spaces and replacing teeth. Dentists have a wide array of tools and techniques to help you improve the look of your smile and improve your self-confidence in the process.
Before deciding to have any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to know the benefits and risks and what you can expect. Make sure you’re clear about what it will cost, how much experience your dentist has with the procedure, and whether any special maintenance will be needed afterward.
Bonding—Bonding is a restorative procedure for teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored, or misaligned.
Composite resin is bonded to the tooth, formed to the proper shape, and then trimmed, smoothed, and polished to a natural appearance.
The bonding procedure can often be completed in a single office visit. It can dramatically improve the appearance of a tooth. Since the composite resin is a plastic material, it is more susceptible to staining from coffee, tea, and cigarettes. Bonding typically lasts three to five years before it needs to be replaced.
When bonded to the teeth, the ultra-thin porcelain veneers are virtually undetectable and highly resistant to staining. For strength and appearance, their resemblance to healthy enamel is remarkable.
With proper care, porcelain veneers will brighten your smile for years to come.
Tooth Whitening—This is the most conservative way to change the shade of your teeth.
An impression is taken to make a customized tray to hold the bleach against the teeth. A tray will be made for both your upper and lower arch. The material is used each night for about a week to 10 days and, at the end of this time, significant whitening should occur. For very severely stained teeth, crowns or porcelain veneers may be more appropriate.
When you pick up your trays, you will be given the bleaching gel and instructions on how to use it. We will note the starting shade of your teeth. At the end of your bleaching period, you will come back in for a quick follow up to check your gum tissue and see how many shades your teeth have lightened.
Over-the-counter bleaching agents are available for purchase at drug stores and pharmacies. However, these products, while sometimes effective, are limited in their ability to customize their delivery system. If the trays are too big, the teeth become lighter but the gum tissue is likely to become irritated. If they are too small, the teeth do not bleach uniformly.