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So Many Choices!

posted Mar 21, 2014, 8:32 AM by Dr. Elham Khajavi


    These days, the choices for cosmetic dentistry have blossomed!  Dental procedures are much easier and quicker with better results than in years past.  Let’s take a look at some of the cosmetic procedures available to the dental patient today.

            Teeth whitening, or bleaching is one of the top cosmetic procedures performed today in dentistry. Starting back in the late 1980’s, dentists started prescribing home-applied bleaching (tray bleaching) and other products and techniques for tooth bleaching that could be applied both in the dental office and home.  The tooth whitening market has evolved since that time.  Today we have professionally applied laser treatments performed in the dental office, dentist-prescribed/dispensed patient home-use whitening kits, over the counter whitening agents purchased by the consumer including whitening agents added to toothpastes and mouth rinses and often bleaching materials given to the dental patient after in-office laser bleaching has been performed!  So many options since “bleaching” was introduced years ago.

            Dental implants are another cosmetic procedure that can be performed in today’s dentistry.  Believe it or not, the first dental implants date back as far as 600 AD among the Mayan culture in South America.  Back then, shells, ivory, and animal bones were pounded into the jaw to try and replicate the look and function of a missing tooth – ouch!  Thankfully, the procedure and placement of dental implants has come a long way since then!  Today, implants are an effective and popular way to replace missing teeth and are an excellent long-term solution for restoring your smile.

 Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body.  Posts are surgically placed in the jaw where they function as a sturdy anchor for a replacement tooth.  Next, the bone around the implant heals, a process call “osseointegration” which means “combines with bone.”  The time table for this process to occur depends on the individual patient; usually within six months. Lastly, an artificial tooth, called a crown, is placed over the implant and resembles the natural shape, color and size of the missing tooth.   

 Dental bonding and Porcelain veneers are two other examples of cosmetic dentistry performed in the dental office.    Although very different procedures, they both have the same goal of restoring or improving your smile.  Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth colored resin material is applied and hardened with a special light, which “bonds” the material to the tooth.  These “bondings” can be applied for repairing chipped or cracked teeth, to improve discolored teeth, to change the shape of a tooth and also to protect a portion of the tooth’s root that has been exposed when the gums have receded.

Porcelain veneers, on the other hand cover the entire front surface of a tooth.  They are composed of a wafer-thin shell of porcelain that is bonded onto the front side of a tooth to create a cosmetic change due to discolored, worn, chipped or misaligned teeth.  This procedure creates a very “life-like” appearance when cosmetic changes are requested by the patient.

As you can see, they are many options open to patients in dentistry today who wish to change the appearance of their smile.  Finding the “right” cosmetic procedure for you has never been easier!