When you hear “cosmetic dentistry,” what do you think of? Whitening is the first answer for many people, followed by dental aligners like Invisalign. These are popular options for good reason, which is why we offer them. (It’s also why we extended our summer whitening offer.) Cosmetic dental work, however, doesn’t begin and end with these treatments.
There are a variety of other cosmetic procedures that can dramatically improve your smile and how you feel about it. A good way to navigate your choices is to ask yourself what you want from your “smile upgrade.” It may be an isolated issue — receding gums or a single tooth that stands out in a way you don’t like. For other patients, there are a few issues they want to address gradually over time.
Once you’ve identified your smile priorities, the next step is determining how to reach your goal. The following is a guide to help you understand your cosmetic choices. These are some of most successful options for helping patients improve their smiles.
VENEERS: Dental veneers are thin, custom-made coverings of tooth-colored porcelain or resin for the front surface of the teeth. These shell-like coverings can change the size, shape and color of teeth, so they’re popular among patients looking to improve the overall appearance of their smile. Some of the issues that veneers can resolve are cracked or damaged enamel, crooked teeth and noticeable gaps between two teeth.
BONDING: With dental bonding, we apply a durable plastic material and harden it with a high-intensity light, bonding the material to the tooth. We trim, shape and polish the material. This process allows us to repair decayed, worn, chipped, cracked or misshapen teeth. It creates the appearance of a healthy tooth.
REPLACEMENT FILLINGS: If you have silver-colored fillings, we can use bonding to replace them with tooth-colored composite material. The resin mimics the natural appearance of your tooth, and we use color-matching so the new filling doesn’t look out of place.
IMPLANTS: This is the solution for many patients with tooth loss. We insert the implant to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. Then we fit the implant with a crown to create a natural-looking replacement for the entire tooth. The process allows the patient to transform a missing tooth into a long-term replacement that’s nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding natural teeth.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES: A crown fits over and replaces a damaged or decayed tooth above the gum line, restoring its appearance, shape, size and strength. Crowns, also known as caps, are functional because they prevent a cracked tooth from breaking, but they’re also used to cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth. Bridges combine crowns with a false tooth, allowing you to replace a seriously damaged tooth while also strengthening and improving the appearance of the teeth.
INLAYS & ONLAYS: For inlays and onlays, the material is fabricated in a dental laboratory to make the color matching more precise. Also called indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are attached to the teeth with dental adhesive. They strengthen teeth, restore their shape and prevent further deterioration or decay. This option is typically used when there isn’t enough tooth structure to support a filling, or if there’s mild to moderate decay.
GUM REPAIR: Gum recession can be caused by aggressive brushing, teeth grinding, periodontal disease, aging, tooth position and more. The appearance of the receding gum line often bothers patients who have this problem. A gingival graft restores the gum line to its proper height, improving the look of your smile while also preventing tooth decay and reducing sensitivity caused by exposed roots.
Bringing Your New Smile To Life
If you’re interested in improving your smile, call us at 781-245-2299 or send us an email through our website. Mention the “smile makeovers” you saw in this blog and we’d be happy to provide you with a free cosmetic consult.
Because cosmetic and restorative dentistry often overlap, some dental insurance plans cover select cosmetic procedures. There are also insurance plans that offer benefits for elective treatment, so it’s worth asking your employer’s HR department or your benefits provider.
If you’re uninsured, ask about Future of Dentistry’s Membership Program, which may be able to help you meet your smile goals.
Many patients also find that financing programs like CareCredit help them pay for treatment gradually — regardless of whether they’re insured.
There are many ways to help you achieve your “smile upgrade.” Our staff is happy to help you understand both the treatment itself and your financial options. We take pride in the fact that our staff never tries to “upsell” treatments that you don’t want or won’t benefit you.