Cosmetic Dentistry

There are various procedures we offer that qualify as Cosmetic Dentistry. Here are some examples:

BONDING – Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is performed to repair damage caused by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes.

First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding.  A gel is applied so the resin will adhere to the surface of the tooth.  The composite is then placed on the tooth and the bonding agent hardens with intense light. The last step is shaping and polishing to give a lustrous finish.

CROWNS AND BRIDGES – Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown (also referred to as a cap) is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth.  A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment.

Crowns may be used to:

  • Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment

A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth.  Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color.  The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.

It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible.  If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to “fall” and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite because of the changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.

Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your mouth.  The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color.  A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place.

Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with extra care and good oral hygiene.

VENEERS – Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only applied to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.

The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.

The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory.  At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic.

The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.

DENTAL IMPLANTS – A dental implant is an ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason.  A dental implant is a metal post that a periodontist or oral surgeon surgically positions into the jaw.  Once in place and bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal, a replacement tooth is attached to the post.  While implants are typically more expensive than other methods of tooth replacement, they provide superior benefits.  Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years.  They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support.

To receive implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.  You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants.