New Techniques and Procedures in Cosmetic Dentistry
Dentistry for cosmetic purposes aims to improve the appearance of your teeth, smile and lips. While cosmetic dental treatments are traditionally considered elective because they do not address urgent dental problems, many of the treatments may improve oral health as well as your appearance. Cosmetic treatments include whitening, veneers, crowns, reshaping and contouring teeth. Some of the most common problems that are treated are stained teeth, gaps between the teeth, chipped and broken teeth and overcrowded teeth.
The Latest Trends in Cosmetic Dental Treatments
Technology has improved medical and dental treatments over the past few decades and cosmetic dental treatments continue to advance because of new materials and technology. The new materials are not metal-based, but all-ceramics. This change has resulted in better performance as well as esthetics. The techniques have also changed over the years.
Today, most procedures tend towards minimally invasive dentistry, and this is possible because the treatment plans include seeing specialists, including orthodontists and periodontists. Professional cosmetic dental associations strongly encourage their members to better outcomes while minimizing the damage to healthy tissue. They champion and provide minimally invasive procedures to ensure the long-term oral health of the patient.
A New Approach
Plans for restoration have become more conservative because of upgraded techniques. With the increase in technology, cosmetic dentists can bond porcelain to tooth structure. The new materials are much stronger while being thinner than in the past. Most cosmetic dentists used to focus on the teeth, with a little attention to the gums and gaps. The new approach means much more attention is being given to the gums and gaps, so gum surgery and dental implants are part of the plan.
Technology has also introduced computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) of dental appliances opening cosmetic dental treatments in the digital world. It involves several components starting with scanning the whole mouth in order to create a plan for restoration. Once the plan is finalized, the components and appliances are produced with a mill. Doctors vary in the way they use CAD/CAM. After the initial scan, some doctors send the results to a lab for completion and some do the whole process in-house.
Other technologies such as mobile imaging and cone beam have changed the world of imaging for cosmetic dentists and orthodontists.
Patients have also changed over the years. Minimally invasive treatments have become standard for many procedures that once required major surgery. Many patients today understand minimally invasive techniques, and want it applied to their dental needs. They do not want healthy teeth filed and cut as was done in the past, so they are more open to alternatives such as Invisalign and other orthodontic methods such as rapid orthodontics.
The Internet has allowed patients to research cosmetic dental techniques and materials to learn how technology has changed the field. When they meet their cosmetic dentist, they know what questions to ask to determine if they are getting the best possible plan for long-term oral health.
Common Cosmetic Dental Treatments
Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. Teeth that are stained or darkened because of food, drink, age or certain medications can be treated to look white and shining again. Cosmetic dentists have several different methods for whitening teeth. Depending on the lifestyle of the patient, whitening may last from three to six months.
Veneers are mainly used to cover broken or badly stained teeth. They can also be used to reshape teeth and close gaps between teeth. A veneer is a strong, porcelain shell that fits over the existing tooth. It is bonded to the surface of the tooth with a chemical bonding agent. It may take two appointments for applying veneers, but they may last up to 15 to 20 years.
Orthodontics offers many different types of braces and appliances to treat crooked, misaligned and overcrowded teeth. The orthodontist will examine the patient to determine the best plan. The treatment may take from one to three years, depending on the problem being addressed. Teeth can also be straightened with cosmetic procedures such as veneer bonding.
Dental implants have become the standard for treating gaps between the teeth and for replacing damaged teeth. An implant is a titanium post that is implanted in the jawbone. Over a few months, the bone actually grows around the post just as it would a natural tooth root. A crown is then attached to the top of the post. The implant looks, functions and feels like a natural tooth. One reason dental implants is considered the best treatment is because of the strengthening of the bone.
Many cosmetic dental procedures have become minimally invasive over the past decade due to advancements in the technology of materials and procedures. Patients can enjoy a more attractive smile as well as better oral health.