What are the different options for Cosmetic Dentistry? What are the different options for Cosmetic Dentistry?

15 May

What are the different options for Cosmetic Dentistry?

We often get asked by patients what the different cosmetic dentistry options are. It’s very important for patients looking to have cosmetic dentistry done to have all the information about what is around and what can be done. All cosmetic dentistry procedures are not exactly the same and are devised for different scenarios. It’s important to make sure that a patient’s requirements are properly analysed, to ensure it really suits the patient’s needs, and what they are looking for. This post aims to offer a quick guide to cosmetic dentistry and the various procedures, and serves as a very broad note on all the options that are available.

Do you think you might want or need cosmetic dentistry but don’t know the “what” or “how” of the procedures that will get your teeth looking their best? Looking after your teeth is essential for your health as well as your appearance. Let’s run through some of the techniques available:

 

Teeth Whitening

Why? 

For stained or discoloured teeth from smoking or drinking coffee, tea or red wine.

How? 

In-office procedure where a custom mouthpiece is fitted to allow peroxide whitening agents access to the teeth (one or more visits required).  At home whitening procedures are also available from your dentist or a pharmacy (2-­4 weeks for visible results).

Special Care:  

Teeth can become stained again from smoking or from consuming food or drink that stains. Diligent oral hygiene – brushing and flossing – is a must.

 

Bonding

Why

For teeth with gaps; those that are chipped, broken, stained or cracked; for exposed roots.

How? 

Can be carried out in a single dentist visit. An etching solution is applied to the tooth, followed by a composite resin.

 

Veneers

Why

For teeth with gaps; for poorly shaped, worn or crooked teeth.

 

How? 

An impression is made of the tooth which is then buffed and the custom shell (plastic or porcelain) is fixed to the front sides of the tooth with “cement”. 

 

Benefits: 

Veneers last longer than bonding and are less expensive than crowns.

 

Crowns

Why?

For weak, broken or misshapen teeth; to hold dental bridges in place; to cover fillings, dental implants; for teeth that have undergone root canal procedures.

 

How?

A custom crown, or cap, is made after moulding the tooth in question. Crowns completely cover the tooth and are made from metal, resin, ceramic or porcelain fused to metal.

 

Benefits:

Crowns have long life spans.

 

Enamel Shaping and Contouring

Why?

Alters length, shape or position of the teeth for overlapping or irregular teeth; to

correct bite problems.

 

How?

Tooth enamel is removed or contoured quickly and painlessly.

 

Benefits:

For minor tooth flaws and healthy teeth.

 

Braces

Why?

For crooked teeth, irregular bites or jaw joint disorders.

 

How?

Metal, ceramic or plastic brackets are bonded to your teeth (front or back) to apply pressure and reposition them. Wire is guided through the brackets to guide teeth into position. Multiple visits to the dentist are required to tighten braces, over several months. A retainer is then used in the months following removal of braces.

 

Special Care Required:

Strict mouth hygiene is essential whilst wearing braces.

 

Bridges

Why?

To replace missing teeth.

 

How?

Bridges are made from gold, porcelain, alloy or a combination thereof. Teeth on either side of the missing tooth (abutment teeth) are prepared with crowns. The artificial tooth is held in place on either side by the abutment teeth.

 

Special Care Required:

The health of the teeth supporting the bridge will determine its lifespan. Good oral hygiene is critical.

 

Implants

Why?

Alternative to bridges or dentures: to replace missing teeth.

 

How?

Titanium metal “root” is inserted into the jawbone. An abutment is affixed to the metal, and a crown then fitted over the abutment.

 

Special Care Required:

Jawbone loss from periodontal disease will require a bone graft before an implant can be carried out. The procedure involves X-­rays, surgery and multiple follow up appointments to your dentist.

 

Contact Dr Serfontein, Dentist Cape Town, if you would like to take any of these procedures further.