Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry can be any type of dental procedure which enhances the patient’s teeth and their smile, thus improving a person’s overall appearance and self-confidence.

  • Dental Technology
  • Composite Fillings
  • Dental Implants
  • Porcelain Crowns (Caps)
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Porcelain Fixed Bridges
  • Porcelain Inlays
  • Porcelain Onlays
  • Tooth Whitening

Dental Technology

Introduction

Dental technology is a combination of both art and science of using dental instruments, dental equipment and creating remedial replacements for teeth. The dental replacements may be artificial teeth, dental crowns, tooth bridges, braces and more. Dental instruments are tools that dental professionals use to perform treatment. They include mirrors, probes, retractors, dental drills, burs, excavators, burnishers, pluggers, scalers, curettes, forceps, elevators, chisels, etc. Dental equipment includes the dental chair, X-ray unit, sterilizers, air rotors, compressors, micro motors and so on. Dental technology aids in restoring the function and structure of the teeth. It eases the job of the dentist and hygienist and facilitates normal functioning of the teeth. Use of professional dental software in assisting and planning patient treatment is also a part of dental technology.

Process

The execution of dental restoration/filling involves the management of dental instruments and equipment. Preparation for dental restoration involves usage of a variety of materials such as ceramics, metal alloys and plastics. The steps for the dental restoration process are –

  • Designing the model (mouth or tooth) by the impression that is collected from patient
  • Creating the model (customized) to make it look natural and function normally
  • Screening the model for correct size, shape and color
  • Fixing the model in the mouth

Other newer dental technology procedures –include:

  • Tooth whitening
  • Laser treatment for tooth decay
  • Dental implants (permanent replacement of lost teeth) Digital radiography (sends images to a computer by wireless method, no need for conventional X-ray)
  • Kinetic cavity preparation (spraying away the decay without drilling)
  • Bonding and adhesives (seal the tooth and blend naturally)
  • Electronic dental anesthesia (usage of electric pulses to pacify nerve sensation)

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use for the front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Closing space between two teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Worn teeth

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions after your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Dental Implants

Single Tooth Replacement

Missing a single tooth can be a result of traumatic injury or a birth-related abnormality. It can also occur due to dental caries (tooth decay) or a failed dental procedure. The missing tooth can be replaced with various options such as fixed partial dentures, resin-bonded bridge, fixed bridge or single dental implants. The best option for single tooth replacement is a single dental implant with ceramic crown.

Single dental implant procedure: Your dentist will examine your teeth with the help of X-rays and prepare for the procedure. An implant will be inserted into the jaw bone with a temporary tooth placed over it. After the implant bonds with the jaw bone, a permanent ceramic tooth called a crown will be placed on the implant and will immediately start functioning as one of your natural teeth.

Other alternatives include:

  • Tooth-supported fixed bridge
    This procedure involves reducing the adjacent two teeth to place crowns which will support the bridge with the false tooth between them. It is easy to install and provides good aesthetic appeal.
  • Removable partial denture
    The partial denture is made of plastic and is removable, but is a temporary option.
  • Resin-bonded bridge
    This type of bridge can be installed quickly and provides a high aesthetic appeal. It consists of a metal framework with wings that attach to the back of the adjacent teeth with a false tooth bonded to the framework. The downside is the resin-bonded bridge may fall off and need replacement after a few years.

Multiple Teeth Replacement

Loss of several teeth can induce lack of confidence and aesthetic appeal. Multiple tooth loss can also lead to many oral health problems such as gum disease, tooth damage and issues of misalignment. Various options to replace multiple teeth include:

  • Multiple single-tooth implant restoration involves insertion of an implant into the jawbone to replace the tooth root. When this heals, an abutment is added which is covered by a crown.
  • Conventional Removable partial denture (RPD): This denture can be removed daily to allow for cleaning of teeth. It consists of a metal framework, denture teeth and acrylic.
  • Removable partial denture with implants: The implant used increases stability and support and prevents display of the metal framework such as with conventional RPD.
  • Fixed partial denture: Two teeth on either side of the missing tooth/teeth is reduced for the placement of crowns which will be connected to the artificial teeth between them for support. Replacement may be required in future.

Full Arch Replacement

If you are missing a full arch of teeth either in the upper or lower jar, or both, there is a permanent solution where you do not have to wear removable dentures. A full arch replacement involves insertion of implants to replace the missing teeth in one or both jaws. A fixed bridge is then anchored to the dental implants as a permanent solution for a full arch replacement. The number of implants required will depend on the anatomy of the oral cavity, the type of bridge, presence of opposing teeth and number of teeth required to be replaced.

Installation of the implants to replace the lost teeth roots is the first step. While the implants heal, your dentist will place a temporary fixed-bridge which will allow you to perform activities such as smiling, chewing and speaking without the need for removable dentures. When the implants have healed, your dentist will attach the permanent bridge over the implants. This may take a couple dental visits to complete depending on your situation. With the permanent bridge in place, it is difficult to tell the difference from natural teeth and many patients report extreme satisfaction with the results.

Porcelain Crowns (Caps)

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored) crowns are the most popular. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.

Reasons for crowns:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings
  • Tooth has a root canal

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shape the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment, your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Porcelain Veneers

Lumineers

Veneers, also called porcelain veneers or porcelain laminates, are thin wafer-like, tooth colored material applied to the front portion of the teeth to improve their appearance. Dental veneers are indicated to correct and repair tooth chips and cracks, improve a worn appearance or correct severe tooth discoloration. Veneers may also be recommended if you have gaps in your teeth or if you have not had success with teeth whitening.

Lumineer is a brand of veneers that offers ultra-thin, translucent materials that maintain the natural appearance of your tooth enamel. Lumineers will help your teeth appear uniform, straighter and whiter. It is a pain-less procedure and a permanent whitening solution for your teeth. Lumineers differ from traditional veneers as they are much thinner and do not require grinding down of the teeth prior to applying them.

Your dentist first creates a mold of your teeth, decides on the acceptable shade of tooth color and then sends the mold to the lab to create customized lumineers. On your second visit, your dentist will apply them onto the tooth surface without the need for injections or drilling.

Porcelain Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. This type of bridge consists of two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.

Reasons for a fixed bridge:

  • Fill space of missing teeth
  • Maintain facial shape
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability
  • Restore your smile
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance

What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, your permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented later.

You will receive care instructions after the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

Porcelain Inlays

An inlay restoration is a custom-made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented into the tooth by your dentist.

Inlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Inlays are an ideal alternative to conventional silver and composite fillings. Also, they are more conservative than crowns because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of inlays.

As with most dental restorations, inlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for inlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings

What does getting an inlay involve?

An inlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom inlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an inlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your inlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new inlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction after your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new inlay.

Porcelain Onlays

An onlay restoration is a custom-made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. It is made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.

Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for onlay restorations:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings

What does getting an onlay involve?

An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

You will receive care instruction after your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, a proper diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new onlay.

Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

Having white teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients. Basically, there are two main ways to whiten teeth, one is Take-home whitening system and the other is In-chair whitening system.

Take-home whitening is more common in people who prefer the comfort and privacy of their home to achieve the desired results. In-chair whitening consists of high-strength whitening gels that is activated by a high energy light source under the supervision of your dentist. Since tooth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to consider replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. In-chair whitening involves replacement of any restorations that are being done after bleaching to match with the newly bleached teeth.

In-chair whitening may achieve up to eight shades lighter in a 90-minute treatment session. Tooth whitening is not permanent. A touch up may be needed after a year or so, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.

Reasons for tooth whitening:

  • Fluorosis (excessive fluoridation during tooth development)
  • Normal wear of outer tooth layer
  • Stained teeth due to medications (tetracycline, etc.)
  • Yellow, brown stained teeth

Procedures

In-chair tooth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom clear plastic trays.

At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit, and adjustments will be made if necessary. The trays are worn with special whitening solution either twice a day for 30 minutes or overnight for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.