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Cosmetic Dentistry: Making People Smile

By: Paula B. Tyner, RDH

Did you know that just one visit to a dental office can change your life? By changing your smile, you can change your life! Did you realize that cosmetic dental work can make you instantly look 10-15 years younger, and have a gorgeous smile all without cosmetic surgery!

Your smile says a lot about who you are. A beautiful smile and healthy smile is an expression of confidence. Since your smile makes a significant impression on the people around you, it’s important that your smile makes the impression you want it to make. Creating a beautiful smile means different things to different people. If you had a perfect smile, what would you look like?

Thanks to advancements in modern dental care, a variety of options are available to help any person have a dazzling new smile more easily today than ever before. These advances have provided your dentist with natural looking materials and can give you an improved smile that looks and feels great!

Dental Whitening: The most common cosmetic dental procedure is dental whitening. Dark colored teeth can be lightened with specially formulated bleach. A peroxide-based whitening gel is applied to the teeth, in-office or take-home options available. Depending on the amount of discoloration, a person could average 5 shade changes in a very short period of time.

Orthodontics: Orthodontics (braces) is an area of dentistry that deals with straightening teeth and correcting irregular bites. Teeth that are overcrowded, overlapping, crooked or severely gapped may need orthodontic treatment. TMJ problems (which include pain in the jaw joint) can sometimes be treated with orthodontic appliances and braces as well. So often people have headaches and popping in this joint and don’t realize that they might get relief simply by treating the incorrect position of their jaw.

Bonding: Chipped, gapped, discolored or oddly shaped teeth can be treated with bonding. The dentist applies resin that matches the color of the teeth. However, bonding isn’t as hard as porcelain and will need to be replaced occasionally.

Porcelain Veneers/Crowns: Alternately, a more permanent option to change the appearance of one’s smile would be porcelain veneers. Veneers are an option to correct staining, chipped, or crooked teeth. Veneers are made of translucent material, which is applied to the front of the teeth. When applied correctly, porcelain veneers are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth. Porcelain crowns also known as a "cap", is placed over a tooth that has been modified. Crowns are generally used when the damage to a tooth is so extensive that filling material cannot make the tooth strong enough. Crowns are also a cosmetic option to significantly change one’s smile.

Creating a beautiful smile means different things to different people. You can slightly enhance your look or completely change it. Do any of these apply to you?

  • I wish my tooth color was whiter
  • I wish I had a broader smile
  • Some of my teeth are too small or too large
  • I wish my teeth were straighter
  • My smile shows too much space between some of my teeth
  • I would like to change some features of my smile
  • I hesitate to smile

If so, remember that you can "Change your smile and change your life."