According to the most recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly 100 percent of the adults surveyed consider a smile to be an important social asset and 74 percent of those surveyed believe that having an unattractive smile may negatively impact an individual’s ability for career advancement. These statistics indicate the high value that we place on a smile.
The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to provide an individual with the smile he or she has always wanted. This may be achieved through teeth whitening treatments, using tooth-colored fillings and/or by straightening the teeth using invisible aligners like Invisalign.
Who Should Consider Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures?
Since there are numerous cosmetic dentistry procedures available, individuals of all ages are appropriate candidates for these procedures. For example, tooth-colored fillings are ideal for patients as soon as they turn one year old. Whitening treatments are available once an individual reaches 15 years of age. Invisalign treatments can begin after all the permanent teeth have erupted.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Tooth Colored Fillings
The outside material of the tooth is referred to as enamel and is considered the hardest natural material in the body. It consists of closely-knit crystals of calcium; however, there is no living tissue in the enamel of a tooth.
The inner portion of the tooth is referred to as the dentin, which is made up of microscopic tubes of collagen that contains deposits of calcium crystals. Dentin is more porous than enamel and is comparable to bone. Unlike enamel, dentin is living tissue and it is very sensitive. The nerve tissues (i.e., the pulp) that are located in the center of the tooth transmit the sensations felt by the dentin.
Until recently, teeth were typically filled using a mixture (i.e., amalgam) of metals; however, metal-free fillings are quickly becoming the preferred approach. Since metal-free fillings are tooth-colored, they provide patients with a more natural-looking result. Furthermore, the tooth-colored fillings are able to bond with the tooth; whereas, the amalgam fillings can only sit on top. Tooth-colored fillings look and even react more like a natural tooth.
What is the Difference Between Direct, Semi-Direct and Indirect Fillings?
Each of these methods is best suited for specific circumstances:
- Direct Fillings – used when a cavity develops due to decay. This filling is applied in layers and is set with special lights.
- Semi-Direct Fillings – are designed for repairing larger areas and are also applied in layers; however, the entire restoration can be removed. Once the filling has completed setting, the dentist places it back in the patient’s mouth and bonds it to the tooth.
- Indirect Fillings – used if a complex or an extremely large restoration is necessary. When the majority of the tooth is unsalvageable, a restoration needs to be created. This type of restoration is quite involved and requires at least two dental visits to complete.
An individual who has a sparkling white smile tends to look younger, healthier and happier than an individual who does not: For this reason, many people choose to have teeth whitening treatments.
Types of teeth whitening:
- In-office, professional treatments
What is the Difference Between Professional and Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products?
Over-the-counter whitening products typically require the use of whitening gel in a tray, a paint-on gel or whitening strips for several days in a row to achieve results; however, a professional in-office teeth whitening procedure can provide amazing results in a single treatment session. A single, in-office treatment session can lighten the teeth up to eight shades in as little as an hour. Moreover, professional treatments are designed to reduce the likelihood of tooth sensitivity, which is a side effect that is frequently associated with the at-home, over-the-counter whitening products.
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
A variety of factors cause the teeth to become discolored:
- As we age, our teeth darken and become stained by certain foods, and beverages (e.g., dark-colored juices, berries, colas, wines, coffee and tea, etc.).
- Genetics plays a role in the color of an individual’s teeth because a thin layer of enamel could cause the dentin, which is yellow in color, to be visible.
- Tobacco stains the teeth.
Benefits of teeth whitening:
- Teeth whitening is an economical way to enhance your smile.
- White teeth make an individual appear more youthful; thus, improving one’s self-confidence.
- The results achieved following a professional whitening treatment can last from 12 months to several years, depending on the patient’s daily dental hygiene regimen and annual dental maintenance program.
When an individual hears the word ‘’orthodontics,’’ traditional braces usually come to mind; however, advancements in this industry have led to a variety of innovative options for straightening the teeth: One of these options is Invisalign. Invisalign consists of clear, removable aligners that fit over the teeth. Unlike traditional braces, these aligners can be removed for flossing, brushing and eating.
Issues Invisalign Can Address
Invisalign is ideal for patients who have minor spacing issues or mild to moderate crowding. Although Invisalign may be suitable for correcting a mild form of malocclusion, individuals who have severe crossbites, overbites or underbites may need a more advanced form of orthodontic treatment.
How Invisalign Works
Invisalign consists of clear, removable trays. These trays are custom-designed to fit over the patient’s teeth. Each tray is worn for a specific amount of time, which is typically 20 hours a day for one to two weeks, before progressing to the next tray. Most patients attain the desired results within six to 18 months.
Williams & Daily Dental is a family and implant dental practice located in North Raleigh, NC with a team of dedicated dentists enthusiastic in their commitment to their patients. We offer dental implants, Invisalign teeth straightening, in-office and home teeth whitening options, and Oral-B electric toothbrushes. Contact Williams & Daily at (919) 846-9070 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.