Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any type dental treatment that improves the look of a person’s teeth and smile. This can involve anything from:
Teeth whitening is a straight forward, no invasive procedure that uses carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide to whiten the teeth. The procedure can be done at home or in the dental chair.
While many whitening options are now available, including over the counter products, dentist-supervised treatments remain the safest and most effective procedures for lightening discolored teeth.
To whiten a single root filled tooth internal bleaching may be necessary. This involves placing some bleach on the inside of the tooth and leaving it for a period of time. Several bleaching sessions may be necessary for this kind of tooth.
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Porcelain veneers are tiny shards of tooth coloured custom-made porcelain laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth. They are an option for closing gaps or disguising discolored teeth that do not respond well to whitening procedures.
Porcelain veneers are completed in two visits spaced approximately two weeks apart. In a typical case a small amount of enamel is removed from the front of the tooth. An impression is then taken so a cast can be made of the prepared tooth. A temporary covering will then be placed over the prepared tooth to protect it while the porcelain veneer is being made.
At the second visit the veneers will be tried in for fit, shape and colour. If everyone is happy the veneers will be cemented into place. Porcelain veneers last longer that composite veneers and are a far more conservative alternative to full crowns because only a small amount of enamel has to be taken away.
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Composite bonding is a procedure in which a tooth has a small amount of enamel removed then has a tooth coloured plastic bonded to that surface of the tooth. The plastic is then moulded into shape and set hard by the dentist shining a special white light on it.
Composite bonding can be used to close gaps in front teeth, repair a chipped tooth, cover a dark tooth and re-contour a slightly crooked front tooth. Tooth bonding is relatively inexpensive, looks natural and easily repairable.
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A crown is a hollow cap that fits over a specially prepared tooth and is cemented into place. Crowns can be used for aesthetics and also function. If a tooth is not structurally sound a crown can be placed on it to help reduce the stress on the tooth when biting.
Crowns are completed in two visits spaced two weeks apart. In the first visit, also known as the crown preparation, the tooth will be reduced on all sides. An impression and other records are then taken and sent to the laboratory. A temporary crown is then placed over the reduced tooth to reduce sensitivity and protect the prepared tooth over the next two weeks.
At the second visit the crown will be tried in for fit, shape and colour. If everything is correct it can be cemented into place.
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Bridges are false teeth, known as a pontics, which are fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in areas left by missing teeth. Two crowns hold it in place, these are attached to adjacent sides of the false tooth. This is known as a fixed bridge. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth.
Fixed bridges cannot be taken out in the same way that partial dentures can. In areas of the mouth that are under less stress, such as the front teeth, a cantilever bridge may be used. Cantilever bridges are used when there are teeth on only one side of the open space. Bridges can reduce the risk of gum disease, help to correct some bite issues, and even improve your speech.
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This involves removing parts of the enamel to improve the appearance of the tooth. It may be used to correct a small chip or alter the length, shape and position of teeth. The removed enamel is irreplaceable and is only done in small amounts as it may expose the dentin if done in excess.
Read more about Tooth Reshaping
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