In the age of social media, personal image is becoming increasingly more important to people. As a result, more people than ever before have begun to seek cosmetic dentistry to improve the look of their smiles. Cosmetic dentistry is a form of dentistry that corrects functional problems while also correcting visual imperfections. The end result is a smile that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Depending on the imperfections you would like to correct, there are a variety of cosmetic dental treatments to choose from. Although there are several options, there are some that stand out above the rest. Here are the top five cosmetic dental treatments:
Whitening procedures, also known as teeth bleaching, are the most popular cosmetic procedure. This is due to the fact that a single whitening session can brighten tooth enamel by 5-10 shades, making it highly effective. Additionally, teeth whitening procedures are not invasive and are highly affordable. However, the main downside is that whitening results are temporary and only last around 1 year. During a teeth whitening procedure, a whitening gel is applied to the surface of the teeth and left in place for 30-60 minutes before being rinsed off. This gel is absorbed by the enamel and dentin layers where it breaks up discolored molecules to whiten the color of the teeth.
After teeth whitening, veneers are the next most popular cosmetic dental treatment. Dental veneers are thin shells made from porcelain or composite resin that are adhered to the front side of visible teeth. They are extremely popular due to the fact that they can correct the size, shape, color, alignment, and spacing of the teeth all in a single treatment. Additionally, veneers can be used on a single tooth or on an entire smile to obtain the desired results. However, to apply veneers, your dentist may need to remove a thin layer of enamel, especially if the veneers are made of porcelain. Once in place, veneers generally last around 10-15 years.
Composite fillings are another commonly performed cosmetic procedure that is used to restore small to medium areas of decay. Even though dental fillings are considered to be a restorative treatment, composite fillings are considered cosmetic due to their use of composite resin. Composite resin is a dental material that can be easily shaped and colored to resemble the natural tooth structure, which improves the overall look of the tooth.
Crowns and Bridges
In cases where a tooth is significantly decayed beyond the point of being able to safely be restored by a composite filling, then a dental crown may be used instead. A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is cemented over the top of an entire tooth. Before the crown can be placed, however, the decayed tissue will need to be removed and the tooth will need to be reshaped. If one or more teeth are missing entirely, then a dental bridge will be used. A dental bridge is composed of one or more fake teeth surrounded by a dental crown on either side. This allows for the replacement of missing teeth, while using the remaining teeth for support.
Dental implants are another popular cosmetic treatment used to replace one or more missing teeth. In fact, dental implants are considered to be the gold standard of tooth replacement options. This is because they are artificial tooth roots that are surgically implanted into the jaw. As they fuse with the surrounding bone, they act just like natural tooth roots and become extremely strong. Because of this, dental implants are used to support a dental prosthetic which can restore up to an entire mouth of missing teeth.
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.