Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetics and esthetics are an area of dentistry where there is a true marriage between the art and the science of medical care. The variety of things that can be done to close spaces, improve color, change shape and size of teeth, are extraordinary. These can be done with a variety of techniques, and the cost ranges tremendously.
We can create a different appearance of the soft tissue, the gums, the way the lips fall on the teeth. First, a comprehensive examination is necessary to determine the patient's particular wants and needs. Please keep in mind that, in our opinion, the worst treatment is one that does not make you satisfied. Many times a patient's general wants and needs can be unrealistic; however, most patient's can have their expectations met in a budget that may be satisfactory for them.
The most important part of cosmetics is proper diagnosis. Many times we must first determine whether the staining and color problem is intrinsic (within the tooth), or extrinsic (outside the tooth). Once this is determined, we must be realistic in our expectations of tooth whitening. One of the disadvantages of tooth whitening is that it is not permanent, and many times it has to be redone, usually every six to eighteen months. A patient's diets high in red wine, caffeine and tea products, and grape juices, can cause staining on the teeth. We also find that smoking, particularly cigars and cigarettes, can have a deleterious effect on our cosmetic results.
After the whitening usually comes veneers or bonding. Veneers are where we place a coating over the tooth. This coating can be a composite or resin material (which is mostly plastic) and has the advantage of being completed in one visit. Unfortunately, it can also chip and stain and need to be redone on a more frequent basis. The other option is to use a porcelain or glass material, which tends to take two visits or more. However, the advantage is that porcelain tends to be significantly stronger, more lifelike, and lasts longer.These veneers can be used to not only change the size and shape of teeth, but also reduce spaces.
Many times on our adult patient's, we find that the veneering is an excellent option over orthodontics. Even when the adults have their teeth straightened, there is often dissatisfaction with the color and shape of their teeth. Cosmetic veneering provides not only immediate improvement on the size and shape of teeth, but can significantly improve the color of the teeth.

Other types of cosmetic dentistry are the replacement of silver amalgams or metal or gold-type crowns with more appropriate materials called composites that can restore the tooth back to its natural size, shape, and color.

Cosmetics is a wonderful area, particularly gratifying to our practice. It is important that an excellent line of communication be established so that the patient's specific goals and objectives are always met.

Regular general dentistry is primarily concerned with curing or eliminating pathologic conditions in the mouth and replacing or restoring teeth with a variety of dental materials. The emphasis is on function more than cosmetics. But for many people, that's not enough.