Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cosmetic Dentistry: A Mesmerising Smile for Everyone by Kathryn Dawson

Gone are the days when cosmetic dentistry only meant installing braces on the teeth. This field of dentistry has come to include an array of treatments, both surgical and nonsurgical, which are aimed at improving the appearance and/or the functions of an individual’s teeth. Revolutionary techniques and equipment have made such treatment possible for even those with a limited budget. These methods are mostly painless and the effects of some may last for a lifetime. Cosmetic dentistry not only enhances the facial appearance, but also improves the health of the gums and the digestive system.

Why You Need Cosmetic Dentistry

The popularity of cosmetic dentistry has risen over the years due to several advantages it offers. According to a 2007 survey sponsored by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), cosmetic dentistry has an annual revenue of half a million dollars per dental practice. The survey also indicated that 51% of the cosmetic dentistry patients were between 41 and 60 years of age.

Most people are born with at least one of the common dental flaws, like crooked teeth, chips, cracks, gummy smiles, gaps between teeth and discoloured teeth. Such flaws can be treated by the special training and techniques that are trademarks of cosmetic dentistry.

Most people are not born with the perfect set of teeth. Hence, smile makeovers are becoming increasingly common. An attractive smile contributes immensely to your confidence and self esteem and can make a difference to personal relationships and career prospects.

Here are a few cases in which cosmetic dentistry is advised:

• They are a must for teeth that have been damaged in an accident. These teeth might not hinder normal activities, like eating and talking, but can often distort the shape of the mouth and your smile.

• With the passage of time, teeth begin to lose their whiteness and shine. Cosmetic dentistry can help restore the original glow.

• Teeth that are uneven and not in a straight line can affect your looks as well as your digestion.

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Options

Teeth problems can be varying and so are the methods of cosmetic dentistry. Listed below are the most common ones:

1. Whitening: Also called tooth bleaching, it is by far the most common procedure in cosmetic dentistry. This is used for lightening discolored teeth and restoring their shine.

2. Bonding: It is used to repair sets of chipped teeth or to completely rework the smile by filling in the gaps between the teeth, replacing and whitening old fillings. The bonding material is first applied to the teeth, then shaped as per the requirement and then solidified with the use of high intensity light.

3. Porcelain Veneers: These facilitate a quick smile makeover. Porcelain veneers are used to correct stained, crooked and chipped teeth. They can even be used for resizing teeth that are either too big or too small. The process works by applying composite veneers or porcelain on the surface of faulty teeth. They typically require a maximum of three sittings.

4. Cosmetic Gum Alteration: This method is for those who have overgrown gums or gummy smiles.

Cosmetic Dentistry as a Gum Disease Treatment

Gum diseases can leave your teeth looking yellow and the gums darkened. Cosmetic dentistry can be used to counter this problem. Teeth whitening is the most commonly used gum disease treatment, as it returns the original shine and sometimes eliminates the causes of yellowness.

Other common symptoms of gum diseases include foul smelling breath, regular bleeding from the gums and, in extreme cases, persistent pain in moving the jaws. By using methods like bonding and porcelain veneers, dentists can fill in the gap present in the gum which often functions as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

One of the conditions for the success of cosmetic dentistry procedures is that the patient takes oral hygiene seriously. Oral care is of utmost importance for certain treatments, and some procedures require a relatively healthy mouth to be conducted.