What is cosmetic dentistry? What types of treatment are involved?
Cosmetic dentistry is any dental procedure that improves a person’s smile and appearance. These procedures include:
1) Dental Porcelain Veneers These are thin shells of porcelain that are cemented on front teeth to make one’s smile look beautiful. They require some grinding on the teeth and they are fairly expensive. Approximate cost: $4000-$10,000, depending on the number of teeth involved.
2) Orthodontics (Braces) Traditional orthodontics uses brackets and wires to move the teeth. Invisalign uses a series of trays to move the teeth. Straighter teeth are always more attractive. Approximate cost: $4500-$6000.
3) Bonding This is a term used to describe white filling material that is placed on front teeth to repair chips, cover fracture lines, fill gaps, and cover the front teeth in an effort to make teeth look more nature, even, and whiter. Using bonding techniques is a lot cheaper then porcelain crowns or veneers. Plastic or composite veneers are a form of bonding. Approximate cost: $200-$3000, depending on what is done.
4) White Fillings These are also referred to as tooth colored fillings or composite fillings. They are a great replacement for the old gray silver fillings. Approximate cost: $100-$300 for each tooth.
5) Dental Porcelain Crowns and Bridges These are used to repair very broken-down teeth and to fill spaces where teeth are missing. Since they are covered with porcelain, they look very natural. Approximate cost: $800-$6000, depending on how many teeth are involved.
6) Teeth Whitening There are various forms of teeth whitening with different costs and different effectiveness. Approximate cost: $350-$600.
Which of all the procedures in cosmetic dentistry is the best for me?
There is no one set answer. For example, if someone is in front of the TV cameras and can afford expensive dental work, then porcelain veneers are a good option. If someone wants to quickly cover some unattractive teeth but has a smaller budget, then plastic veneers would be a good choice. If someone wants to close a space between his/her front two teeth, he/she can go with orthodontics or white filling material. But if the space is real big,very large orthodontics is the best option. If someone has a really broken-down tooth and a white filling will not work, then a porcelain crown would be a good choice.
Do you ever need to use more than one cosmetic procedure to get the results you want?
Often with cosmetic dentistry, we have to use a combination of the dental procedures we have. For example, if a young patient has very real crooked teeth, we would start out with orthodontics to get them asalign the teeth as straight as possible. If after the braces, we end up with some minor spaces between some teeth, we could bond on some white filling material to conservatively close those spaces. We may first want to whiten the teeth to give us a brighter smile.
How long does cosmetic dental work last? Does it ever have to be replaced?
Just like anything, cosmetic dental work will break and wear out. If a person has poor oral hygiene, decays fast, has gum disease, or has a very strong grinding habit, the cosmetic work will break down quickly. To make cosmetic work last longer there are certain things a patient must do: have good oral hygiene, don’t avoid biting real hard items with your front teeth, wear an orthodontic retainer or night guard if needed, and see your dentist for regular check-ups.
How much time is required for some of these cosmetic dental procedures?
If the procedure is repairing a chip on a front tooth, it may take thirty minutes. If it is placing plastic veneers on 8 front teeth, it may take three hours. If a patient wants 8 top front teeth restored with porcelain crowns, it may take three weeks due to the needed lab work. If someone needs full orthodontic treatment, it may take 24 months.
Do you do cosmetic dentistry?
Yes, we do. We would be glad to review your treatment options and their costs. There is no one treatment that fits all patients. We realize that a cosmetic treatment plan must fit into each patient’s budget. We offer a free cosmetic dental consultation to give you an idea of what is possible. Give us a call.