The desire for straight white teeth has led to a rapid rise in the popularity of cosmetic dental procedures. Advanced dental materials and improved techniques have enabled dentists to provide beautiful smiles while resolving several issues that can impair oral health.
Cosmetic Dentistry vs. General Dentistry
There can be considerable overlap between cosmetic and general dentistry. However, the two areas of dentistry differ in their focus and approach to dental care and treatment.
General dentistry focuses on preventing, diagnosing, and treating common dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections. It primarily concentrates on maintaining oral health and hygiene, treating dental diseases and conditions, and restoring the function of your teeth and gums. Some common general dentistry procedures include comprehensive oral examinations, oral cancer screenings, regular dental check-ups, professional teeth cleaning, fillings, extractions, and root canals.
On the other hand, cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth, gums, and overall smile. It may involve procedures that are not necessarily essential for oral health but aim to enhance the aesthetic appearance of your teeth. Some of the common cosmetic dentistry procedures include:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Porcelain veneers
- Dental bonding
- Porcelain crowns
- Orthodontic treatment
- Dental implants
- Full mouth rehabilitation
Cosmetic dentistry can typically address and improve several issues that can impair your smile. Five of these issues are discussed below.
1. Addressing Stained or Discolored Teeth
Stained and discolored teeth can be a significant hindrance to a beautiful smile. While some minor staining can be improved with home oral care, you may benefit from treatments such as professional teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, dental bonding, or porcelain crowns. Discoloration can occur for various reasons, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Certain medications
- Consuming certain foods and drinks
- Medical conditions
- Tobacco use
2. Addressing Misaligned Teeth
Misaligned and crooked teeth can cause several cosmetic and functional dental problems, such as the following:
- Cosmetic issues. Misaligned or crooked teeth can cause cosmetic problems, such as a less attractive smile and a lack of confidence.
- Difficulty biting and chewing. Misaligned or crooked teeth can create problems with biting and chewing food.
- Jaw pain and headaches. When teeth are misaligned, it can cause stress on your jaw muscles, leading to pain and headaches.
- Speech difficulties. Misaligned teeth can make saying certain words difficult.
- Gum disease and tooth decay. Misaligned teeth can be more difficult to brush and floss adequately, leading to a higher risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry offers a range of options to correct misaligned or crooked teeth, including:
- Braces. Traditional metal braces or newer options like clear aligners can straighten misaligned teeth.
- Porcelain Veneers. Custom-made porcelain veneers can be used to cover and correct minor misalignments and crookedness.
- Porcelain Crowns. Porcelain dental crowns can correct more severe misalignments and restore damaged or decayed teeth.
Correcting misaligned or crooked teeth can address functional issues and improve cosmetic issues, leading to a more attractive smile and increased confidence.
3. Addressing Chipped or Cracked Teeth
Chipped and cracked teeth are among the leading reasons people seek cosmetic dental treatment. There are many causes of chips and cracks, including:
- Biting down on hard objects. Chewing on hard objects such as ice, candies, and pens can cause your teeth to chip or crack.
- Trauma to the face. Trauma, such as a sports injury or car accident, can damage your teeth and affect jaw alignment.
- Tooth decay. Tooth decay weakens the structure of teeth, making them more susceptible to chipping or cracking.
- Grinding or clenching. Chronic grinding or clenching of your teeth, also called bruxism, can put excessive pressure on your teeth and cause them to chip or crack.
- Age. Our teeth can become more brittle and more prone to chipping or cracking as we age.
- Dental work. Previous dental work, such as fillings or root canals, can weaken your teeth and make them more susceptible to chipping or cracking.
In addition to dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and crowns, you may want to consider the cosmetic dental option of full mouth rehabilitation if you have extensive cracking or chipping of your teeth.
4. Addressing Gaps Between Teeth
Gaps between your teeth can result from genetics, chronic thumb-sucking as a child, gum disease, and small teeth. These spaces can cause you to be self-conscious about the appearance of your smile. Cosmetic dentistry offers several solutions to address gaps, such as:
- Dental bonding. Dental bonding involves applying tooth-colored resin to the teeth to fill in gaps and improve the appearance of your smile. This is a quick and affordable option for addressing small gaps.
- Porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin, custom-made shells that are bonded to the front of your front teeth. They can be used to close gaps between teeth and address other cosmetic concerns such as discoloration or misshapen teeth.
- Orthodontics. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to address gaps between teeth. Traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign can gradually shift the teeth into their proper positions, closing gaps in the process.
5. Addressing Missing Teeth
Over 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth, and over 36 million do not have any teeth. You might be missing one or more teeth for several reasons, including tooth decay, gum disease, and trauma. In addition, as people age, they become more susceptible to tooth loss due to wear and tear on the teeth and gums.
Missing teeth can significantly impact your oral health and quality of life, making it difficult to speak and chew properly. It can also adversely affect your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Whether you are missing one, several, or all of your teeth, cosmetic dentistry can restore your beautiful smile with treatments that can include one or more of the following:
- Dental implants
- Porcelain veneers
- Porcelain crowns
The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry offers numerous benefits beyond just improving the appearance of your smile. It can also improve your overall oral health and self-confidence. By addressing problems such as those mentioned above, cosmetic dentistry can help improve the function and durability of your teeth, leading to better oral and general health.
In addition, a beautiful smile can boost your self-esteem and confidence, leading to a more positive self-image and improved quality of life.
Schedule an Appointment
Call us or contact us online to learn more about the cosmetic dental services at Palmetto Dental Arts.