Cosmetic dentistry is a sub-category of the dental profession; its main focus is on improving the appearance and alignment of an individual’s teeth and gums. The doctors in this profession are referred to as cosmetic dentists, and are further classified as prosthodontists and orthodontists. Prosthodontics refers to the diagnosis, management, rehabilitation and maintenance of certain oral conditions like tooth loss as well as oral and maxillofacial tissue. Orthodontics, on the other hand, is an aspect of dentistry that is involved in the study and treatment of tooth irregularities, malocclusions, as well as disproportionate jaw structures.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures that people can avail of if they feel like they need to improve the appearance and function of their oral cavity. Cosmetic dentistry offers more than just the simple tooth extraction which we’ve always associated it with. Among the most popular is tooth bleaching which collects about $600 billion dollars per year and grows at an annual rate of 20%. Bleaching is done using dentist-maneuvered treatments as well as over-the-counter products. Food, drinks and cigarettes cause severe discoloration of the enamel over time. Fortunately, there’s bleaching which effectively restores the teeth into its pristine white brightness.
There’s also enameloplasty which mainly involves the sculpting of the tooth’s enamel so that the teeth’s appearance can be improved. It’s pretty much similar to sanding wood in order to smoothen it out and shape it better. This treatment is usually prescribed to people who have crooked, chipped or very long sets. To refine the teeth and protect the dentin from getting too exposed, amalgam paste may be applied and re-contoured. This is pretty similar to another procedure, called bonding, except that for the latter, the enamel is not touched.
Now, we move on to the fourth most popular cosmetic dental procedure – the application of dental bridges. Also known as pontics, this method is actually common among those who have lost some of their permanent tooth due to involvement in a collision accident or because it had to be extracted as an intervention to irreversible tooth decay. Through this technique, the lost tooth can be replaced with two porcelain crowns which are introduced into the gums to fill in the empty spaces. They are estimated to last about 10 years with good oral hygiene. In some occasions, partial dentures are applied so that the person can still have those replacements adjusted.
Veneers, which are basically porcelain laminates, are used to bond teeth together. They are thin and custom-made to fit your own mouth’s contour. And they are put on to close gaps or disguise stained teeth that were not successfully treated with whitening.
When it comes to dental surgical procedures, gum lift or reduction is among the most in-demand treatments in cosmetic dentistry and its aim is to make that part of the mouth more proportionate to the rest. The dentist will raise and sculpt the gum line and cut out the tissue and underlying bone structures. The procedure will take a few hours to accomplish, and a few weeks before one can fully recover, but the results are usually well worth it.