Poets have written many a verse about inspirational and enigmatic smiles. The elusive “perfect smile”, which has in past generations been limited to the luck of genetics, is now available to everyone. Cosmetic dentistry has removed all barriers to ownership of dazzling smiles. As more and more men and women get more conscious about their smile, cosmetic dentists are offering increasingly varied services.
Whether a childhood fall that led to chipping off of that incisor, those gallons of black coffee devoured while burning the midnight oil, or the once 32 dwindling in numbers due to a parasite invasion popularly called ‘cavities’ – everything can be corrected with one (or several) swooshes of the cosmetic dentist’s wand. But remember that it isn’t always cheap. Depending on the procedure, you may feel your pocket lighter by one to several thousand dollars.
Some of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures include bonding of front teeth, whitening of yellow teeth, and using tooth-colored fillings, which almost blend in with the natural color of teeth. However, there are still many more that exist. So, here is a list of some key cosmetic dental procedures that can help your smile dazzle:
Bleaching or whitening
Both the enamel and the underlying tooth structure (the dentine) are not impervious to stains, and often yellow over time. Bleaching is a popular method for treating moderately stained or discolored teeth. Here the dentist makes a mold of your teeth to make a custom ‘mouth tray’. This ‘mouth tray’ is filled with bleaching material and is pressed against the tooth surface without letting it come in contact with the gum tissue. The tray is generally worn for up to 2 hours a day. A noticeable improvement can be seen within 2 weeks.
Here the dentist ‘bonds’ a tooth-colored resin onto the tooth in order to repair a fractured or worn or chipped tooth. This process can also cover up a discoloration on a tooth, or close a small space or gap between two teeth. The dentist coats the tooth with a bonding liquid and then shines a light on the tooth to set it. All this is done after he prepares the tooth by etching it. A putty-like material is then placed on the tooth which is then made into the desired shape. A trim and polish later, the end product is ready to steal a heart. And the best part is that it will be 3 to 5 years before the bonding may need to be repaired.
Porcelain laminate veneers do the same job as bonding does, only it is a stronger way to repair a broken tooth. Veneering can also cover up discoloration and even change the shape or size of your teeth. The process comes with the advantage that the luster will not be lost.
Recontouring uneven teeth
This is basically a procedure to reshape an uneven tooth so that it’s a better match with the entire set.
Braces are a very common method of changing one’s appearance. An orthodontist who is involved with diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems caused by poorly positioned teeth prepares and attaches the braces. These braces come as fixed or removable appliances. The idea is to use this appliance to gently move the teeth and bone until they are in a desirable position. The process may take anywhere between 18 months to 30 months (or sometimes even longer) for the desired result.