Cosmetic Dentistry: An Overview

In today’s society, an increasingly large amount of stock is placed in a person’s physical appearance. Weight gain, blemishes, shape and contours can all contribute to an individual’s self image, and the face is, of course, the most commonly critiqued. Cosmetic dentistry – a shockingly large and lucrative industry – is geared toward perfecting and shaping an individual’s smile. In making adjustments to the teeth, gums, and jaw, cosmetic dentistry is reshaping (literally) the faces of today.

In order to help improve a patient’s self-image cosmetic dentists work to change stained or dark teeth, chipped teeth, crooked teeth, missing teeth, and gingivitis in order to create the elusive “perfect” smile. There are a wide variety of options from which to choose, all of which are expensive but well worth it to some people.

Cosmetic dentistry encompasses not only surgery, but also tooth whitening processes, laser whitening, bleaching, and micro-abrasion. Patients are pleasantly surprised to discover that, after undergoing cosmetic dentistry, their appearance can be improved in just a few days or weeks.

Cosmetic Contouring
Cosmetic contouring is the process by which a dentist reshapes the teeth. Usually, this involves only the front six teeth of the upper and lower jaws, leading to a brighter and more pleasing smile. Cost: up to $5,000.

Esthetic Partials
An esthetic partial is a porcelain tooth, and there can be only one or several, depending on the case. This is different than dentures in that it isn’t an entire mouth of teeth, but one or a group. Technology has refined the process of esthetic partials sufficiently that it is almost impossible to tell when a tooth is porcelain. Cost: $600-800 per tooth.

Veneers
These are sometimes referred to as porcelain laminates or porcelain laminate veneers, which serve to create a new front surface for teeth. This is an alternative to cosmetic contouring, and can also serve to whiten teeth which are dark and stained. Cost: $950-2000 per tooth.

White Fillings
Years ago, white fillings did not exist and were instead called Silver Amalgam fillings, which did not last as long and were not as attractive. They are strengthened by white inlays or outlays that improve the duration of the fillings, and are a prime choice for patients who need selected teeth filled. Cost: $150-500 per session.

Crowns
These are fairly common devices used to strengthen a tooth that has been heavily filled. Usually crowns are recommended by a dentist, and look very similar to a regular tooth. Cost: $950-2000 per tooth.

Invisible Braces
Gone are the days when large, tacky metal braces forced a young person to suffer through treatment. Now, dentists can place clear brackets and wires on teeth in order to make them almost invisible. Cost: $5000-8000 for full treatment.

Bonding
Bonding can help patients who have chipped teeth or who have wide gaps between teeth that are unsightly. Bonding involves applying a resin filling that will close the caps and cracks in teeth. Cost: $500-1600 per tooth.

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