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Cosmetic Dentistry Explained

Cosmetic dentistry as explained by the Australian Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is the art and science of creating a beautiful smile.

The reasons that you might consider cosmetic dentistry are to enhance the health and appearance of your teeth, and to provide you with more confidence, making life more enjoyable and comfortable for you.

Procedures such as teeth whitening processes, bonding and applying porcelain technologies can help change a mouth's disagreeable appearance into a gorgeous smile.

But before you receive cosmetic dentistry it's a good idea to find out as much as possible about it to ensure that you know what to expect from your procedure, ensuring you have the best possible experience.

People most desire attaining straight teeth that are free of chips and stains. This is encouraged by advertisements for whitening products in the media as well as actors in television and on the screen portraying the 'perfect' smile. Badly aligned teeth are also harder to clean and are more susceptible to decay and other oral health problems.

In response, the dentistry industry have responded to consumer demands, offering many services such as orthodontics, porcelain veneers, replacement of amalgam (silver fillings) with white fillings, bleaching and bonding procedures. As it presently stands, more than 95 per cent of cosmetic dentists offer bleaching products and nearly all dentists perform some types of cosmetic dentistry services.

If you would like to improve the health and appearance of your teeth, check out the cosmetic dental procedures that are available for you.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics corrects teeth and jaws that are not positioned properly. It is important to correct crooked teeth or teeth that do not fit together well as they are harder to keep clean and therefore at a higher risk of decay and getting periodontal disease. They can also cause extra stress on the chewing muscles which can lead to headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain, and TMJ syndrome. They also take away from your appearance. Receiving orthodontic treatment can ensure you are healthier, have teeth that will last you your lifetime and give you a more beautiful appearance.

Dental Implants

For people who have lost a tooth or have ill-fitting dentures, dental implants can repair the damage, providing your teeth with the function, look and feel of natural teeth.

Dental implants look like a real tooth or set of teeth and are made from titanium that is surgically screwed to your jaw bone.

Implants are best used for replacing missing teeth. For dental implants to work you need to have enough bone in the area of the missing teeth so the implants can be attached. For people who don't have enough bone, your cosmetic dentist may conduct a bone graft.

For people who have partial dentures or a small dental bridge, implants are a great alternative. Implants are an alternative to a fixed bridge. While the implant will last forever, the crown on the top of it will last for around 15 years.

Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implants are surgically placed in your jaw bone while you are under anaesthesia. It is a very time consuming procedure if you have many implants placed. Because this is a surgical procedure it pays to find a well credited and reputed cosmetic dentist. You can experience minor swelling and bruising after surgery but it should subside after a couple of days.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can help make your front teeth look great by whitening the appearance of your teeth, closing any spaces, reshaping, realigning your teeth, and producing a lovely smile.

Veneers are thin in appearance and are bonded on the front of your anterior teeth. Veneers are often preferred over caps because there is no 'dark line' that can be sometimes seen with older front caps. They transmit light well giving you a natural look and do not require grinding of tooth structure.

Porcelain Veneers Procedure

Once you have had a thorough discussion with your dentist to work out what you want and can be done, you will have minor contouring of your front teeth and have an impression taken of them. The veneers are placed in and if you are happy with their placement they are bonded in place. Bleaching can also be used in conjunction with porcelain veneers to further enhance your smile.

For teeth that are badly broken porcelain crowns combined with veneering and other cosmetic techniques can be applied.

Maintaining Porcelain Veneers

It's important to brush and floss to avoid oral hygiene problems. Brushing and flossing won't damage your veneers. Make sure you return to your cosmetic dentist so s/he can provide you with a treatment evaluation.

Dental Crowns

Dental restoration, known as dental crowns, encase over the portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.

Dental crowns are usually made of porcelain, gold or a combination of both. The main reasons for having dental crowns are to restore a tooth to its original shape, strengthen a tooth or improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.

The great thing about dental crowns is that they help strengthen teeth. This is because they cup over the tooth and act as a splint that binds the tooth together. If you need a dental crown, your dentist will prepare by numbing your tooth and the gum tissue surrounding it. Your dentist will then reshape your tooth.

Implementing Your Dental Crowns

For a dental crown to be strong enough it must have a certain thickness. This means your tooth must be reduced to the same size as the crown so when the crown is put in place in your tooth it won't be oversized.

Your dentist must also shape your tooth in a particular way so that the crown will slip over and seat on your tooth.

When your tooth has been shaped appropriately your dentist will make an impression of your tooth and a temporary crown will be made for your tooth while your permanent crown is being constructed. Your dentist will then choose the correct shade of porcelain for your dental crown. When this has been determined your dental crown is made and implemented inside your mouth.

Gummy Smile

A gummy smile is also known as gingival display and is a condition where too much pink tissue is seen when a person speaks or smiles. A gummy smile occurs due to an enlarged upper jaw, a short upper lip, short upper front teeth, disproportionate lip length and tooth height, or a forward position of front teeth.

To correct a gummy smile, you can receive jaw surgery, periodontal surgery or orthodontic treatment as well as a combination of all three procedures. Treatment time can range from one to three years or thereabouts, depending on the growth of your face and mouth and the severity of the problem. Custom-made parts are designed by the orthodontist according to the problem being treated. The parts can be removable or fixed and made of ceramic, metal or plastic. A constant, gentle force from braces in a controlled direction can carefully move teeth into a more desirable position.

Crown lengthening and tissue recontouring procedures can also be performed. Another procedure is known as gum contouring.

Gum Contouring

Gum contouring can reduce gummy smiles by removing extra gum tissue to expose more of the tooth's crown. Gum contouring will give you a more even smile.

Your dentist can use a diode laser to accurately sculpt your gum line. Your dentist will first use anaesthesia to your gums to remove the extra gum tissue. Your dentist will then reshape the edges of your gums. A laser is used to close the excess gum tissue and to avoid cutting and bleeding.

Lip Repositioning

You can undergo repositioning of your lips to help even up your smile and make it less gummy. To do this your cosmetic dentist will take some tissue out of the inside of your upper lip. When it is removed your cosmetic dentist will stitch the lip to your gums to prohibit the muscles that lift your lip from showing a large gum line.

Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening also includes gum tissue removal. Under anaesthesia your dentist will eliminate your gum tissue to lengthen your teeth.

Laser Dentistry

Laser dentistry is the latest dentistry revolution and enables cosmetic dentists to perform certain dental function without changing or damaging the tissues in your mouth.

The most common areas that laser dentistry is used for include removing cavities, curing or hardening bonding materials such as fillings, whitening teeth and for periodontal work such as recontouring gums or removing diseased gum tissue associated with periodontal disease or that results from using certain medications.