Cosmetic Dentistry: the art of science

Cosmetic dentistry creates a positive change to your teeth and to your smile. In a recent study, 41% of people polled confirmed a smile from a stranger elevates their mood. And 88% of respondents said smiling makes them feel good. Yes, there simply is no denying the power and beauty of a natural smile.

Cosmetic dentistry emphasizes the art of dentistry – not just the science. It is absolutely essential to have a good eye, a thorough understanding of dental anatomy, and a mastery of dental materials. I’m proud my patients place their trust in me to maximize their smile.

Though the topic is quite broad, here are four common treatments:

TEETH WHITENING – Whitening involves applying bleach solutions to the teeth. The bleach attacks the highly colored organic molecules that lodge between the crystals of tooth enamel (the outermost tooth covering) or in the dentin (the tooth material under the enamel). It’s these organic particles that give teeth a stained appearance. Though there are many over-the-counter options, a trained professional ensures teeth are not “over-whitened,” which causes them to look unnatural. (Think of some of the journalists you watch on the evening news.) It’s also important to keep in mind that bonding materials and fillings cannot be whitened with bleach. If you have these restorations in your mouth, I will ensure the natural teeth and the bondings stay the same color.

COMPOSITE BONDING – A tooth-colored composite resin can improve the appearance and strength of a chipped tooth – which is often a regular occurrence to my younger sports guys and girls. The “composite” is a plastic-based matrix with inorganic glass filler. A “coupler” or joining agent is used to enhance the bond between the two components. The composition of the composite varies depending on the circumstance it is to be used for – for example, biting areas require more filler for strength.

PORCELAIN AND COMPOSITE VENEERS – Designed to substitute for tooth enamel, veneers enhance teeth cosmetically by masking a variety of minor to moderate dental imperfections. Veneers are hard, thin shells of tooth-colored materials. Veneers do not stain the way teeth do, and can last more than 20 years.

TMJ ISSUES – In severe cases, patients who excessively grind and clench their teeth can impact facial outlines and the appearance of their teeth. Dental management and treatment of this disorder can dramatically improve this condition, as well as provide quite a bit of relief.