The objective of cosmetic dentistry, which is elective dental work, is to improve the appearance of the teeth and to enhance one’s smile. Cosmetic dentistry does not contribute to the health of the teeth.
The art and science of dentistry has made advances such that one need not remain resigned to stained or chipped teeth. There are several cosmetic techniques available that allow one to correct dental anomalies that can impair appearance. These include:
The process of bleaching or tooth whitening helps to brighten teeth that become dark with age or get stained due to smoking, tea/coffee drinking, etc. Bleaching removes extrinsic as well as intrinsic stains. The process, which can be carried out once every three years, is carried out largely by using a hydrogen peroxide solution. Bleaching can whiten teeth by up to 5 times the original shade. A bleaching tooth tray that carries the peroxide solution can cost between $200 – $500.
The appearance of teeth that have spaces in between or are cracked and chipped can be improved by the bonding process in which a hard, sterile, and inert tooth-colored plastic is affixed to the teeth. The manner in which bonding is done affects the shape, size, and appearance of teeth. The composite fillings wear more quickly than the traditional silver fillings and patients are usually advised to refrain from hard foods that may result in the chipping of the bonding material. The bonding process takes 10-15 minutes for a tooth and can cost around $300 to $700 for a tooth. The bonded restoration stains similar to natural teeth.
These are extremely thin shells used to cover the front side of the teeth. Porcelain veneers are more resistant to stains and chipping as compared to bonding. They are bonded to the teeth using a special bonding material and can be used to alter the appearance of teeth, provide fullness to the upper lips, and fill gaps between teeth. Porcelain veneers enable a more consistent appearance as compared to bonding, they do not stain and a veneer treatment can last for up to 15 years. Veneer application on a single tooth can cost up to $2,000. As compared to the application of crowns or caps, teeth are ground to a lesser extent during veneer treatment.
Orthodontics and periodontics
Orthodontics deals with the prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces are used in orthodontics for the treatment of crooked teeth, protruding teeth, widely spaced teeth, an underbite, etc. Metal braces made from titanium are expensive and need to be worn for 2-3 years. Non-invasive straightening braces cost less and require to be worn for a lesser period of time. Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth and are ideal for those who lay emphasis on cosmetic appeal. Periodontics helps individuals to enhance their smile by altering the contours of the gums, it is a simple surgical process accomplished using laser and can cost up to $2,000.
Porcelain crowns are used for broken teeth, teeth with silver filling or those with excessive decay, and also teeth that have undergone root canal treatment. Crowns can be matched to tooth color.