What is cosmetic dentistry and how can it improve my smile?
A Cosmetic Dentist works with front teeth, recreating a natural looking smile, natural looking teeth. Cosmetic dentistry is a variety of possibilities, which means is it can be simple as a chipped tooth where we just smooth or shape. It can be a missing tooth structure that needs rebuilding with filling material or cosmetic bonding. It could be a porcelain veneer, a lab process that is made by dental lab technician or it can mean a full crown. Also today’s cosmetic dentistry includes dental implants which are very common and very popular with very good results. Dentures or partial dentures are part of cosmetic dentistry too, because anything that enhances the smile that makes us think of cosmetics is cosmetic dentistry.
What is dental cosmetic bonding?
Dental bonding is essentially the direct method of using filling material to replace any part of your tooth that has chipped, broken down or is missing. Dental bonding is a little bit less expensive way to fill in the missing tooth structure. It may not last as long as a veneer. A dental veneer is a lab-created porcelain way to replace the tooth structure. But with cosmetic bonding, we use filling material that is tooth colored and color matched to your surrounding teeth. We fill the missing tooth structure in, make it contoured, shaped and function in replace of the missing tooth structure.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are indirect methods of replacing tooth structures or closing gaps, spaces, broken tooth by using dental porcelain. Veneers today can be very, very thin. There is actually quite a popular movement of the no prep veneers, you definitely would be a bit cautious about because it is very limited who can actually be a candidate for a no prep veneer. This means that the dentist does not have to drill off any tooth structure at all to have the space for the veneer to go over. You can think of it as little egg shell of tooth structure that placed and bonded right over your teeth and dental veneers are very esthetic, they look good. Of course, the best outcome depends on the laboratory that your dentist uses.
What should I look for in a cosmetic dentist?
What you should look for in a cosmetic dentist would be before and after photos, cases that they have done. Ask about their experience level and what type of procedure they have done. Ask what type of photography they use, if they even use photography. You definitely want a cosmetic dentist who is very familiar with photography. Photography is a huge part of communicating with not only you as a patient desire, but also the laboratory technician that is going to be helping to create the veneers, crowns, implants or even dentures, partial dentures. With any procedure that requires a laboratory technician, you want to have photography as a huge part of the process in communicating your desired outcome. You want to look for a dentist that has taken extra courses, continuing education, studies with institutions, especially esthetic institutions.
You want to just ask your cosmetic dentist where they learned their expertise, beyond dental school because dental school does teach cosmetics but only to a certain degree. If you want to have good results, you want to go to someone who has taken extra courses. We are not talking about a weekend course, we are talking about courses that are three or four days at a time, multiple times to study this at the level. Also, there is a huge difference in the quality of laboratory technicians. The laboratory technicians are the ones that are going to be fabricating the dental veneers, the dental crowns, the dental implants or the dentures and the technician’s skill level is sometimes over looked. There is an unbelievable difference in quality of the dental technicians that we see and there are differences of prices of course so those are all just good thoughts for you to think about when you talk to your dentist about cosmetic dentistry.
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