cosmetic dentistry

According to a recent study from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), smiles are the most pleasant physical feature on a person, as many people find smiles more attractive and appealing than eyes, body shape, or hair.

Since a beautiful smile is so highly regarded, and greatly outnumbering other characteristics like the body, hair and legs, so nowadays the demand for aesthetic dentistry is rapidly growing.

In order to achieve a beautiful smile design, based on each person’s main concern, There are many different types of cosmetic dentistry procedures to fit people’s wants, needs, and budget.

A cosmetic dentist who is responsible for a variety of procedures never finds some limited methods sufficient and will use a combination of several methods to achieve the goal of dental beauty. It is worth noting that. Always consult with a cosmetic dentist about all possible methods before undergoing cosmetic dental treatment.

Here we try to briefly explain some of the most common methods of cosmetic dentistry and discuss the pros and cons of each to some extent.


A guide to the different types of cosmetic dentistry

The most common cosmetic dentistry procedures are:

  • Composite veneer
  • Dental laminate
  • Zirconia crowns
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Gum contouring 
  • dental bleaching
  • Dental bridge
  • gummy smile makeover
  • Dental implant
  • old fillings Replacement 
  • fixing decayed front teeth
  • Gingival grafting


Dental aesthetics and composite bonding veneers

Composite veneers are the most common and usual type of tooth covering to improve the appearance of the teeth and the overall smile. This type of tooth covering is  literally a minimally-invasive type of cosmetic dentistry, helping to shape the teeth into a more desirable appearance. 

In this method, the cosmetic dentist is using composite resin on top of your existing teeth to correct cosmetic imperfections and are applied in a sheer layer. Then they have your composite veneers polished to restore their glossy surface, making them look good and more resistant to staining.

Advantages of Composite Veneer

  • it is much more affordable than porcelain laminate. 
  • Composite veneers can be applied in one appointment, due to procedure being sculpted directly onto teeth the same day.
  • It does not require special training and most dentists are capable of doing it.
  • It is a minimally invasive procedure and generally involves almost no drilling, consequently, no local anesthetic is mostly needed. 
  • Composite veneers can be color-matched to your teeth, And the result will be achieved quickly. 
  • This type of cosmetic dentistry is adapted to the individual needs of each person to achieve the desired teeth shape and color.
  • Tooth filling can be performed alongside composite veneer treatment simultaneously


Disadvantages of Composite Veneer

  • Composite veneer is weaker than porcelain and over time it is more likely to chip although more composite can be added to restore it. After all, material will need to be repaired or even replaced more frequently 
  • Since composite is more porous can stain easier than porcelain veneers, affecting the colour of the veneer, by this stage they may not look especially appealing, The habits and diets of an individual can basically contribute a lot to the extent of staining. 
  • as mentioned above, due to its being porous can absorb bacterial plaque unless it is properly polished.
  • it is likely that composite veneer makes the tooth look protruded and bulky, as a result of a considerable amount of the material must be layered to prevent the natural shade from peeking through.
  • The quality and appearance of composite veneers highly depend on the skill and experience of the dentist that makes them.
  • Typically, they look great for 4-5 years, then following the shine tends to wear of and stains form at the edges, composite resin veneers will need to be replaced after around 4 to 8 years


What is Laminate on teeth?

Dental laminate is a thin ceramic shell that is cemented on the front surface of a tooth to improve its shape, color and overall appearance of your smile. 

Porcelain Laminate Veneers also referred to as dental laminates are the two terms used interchangeably, generally are cosmetic tooth covering made of “porcelain” that are layered which transform the way your smile looks by covering up any visible flaws.

Preparations for porcelain laminate veneers typically start with administering a local anesthetic by cosmetic dentist followed by the cosmetic dentist removing enamel from the front of the teeth. Numbing the patient’s teeth is required so they do not feel pain as enamel is being removed. The thickness removed is proportional to the thickness of the porcelain laminate veneers that will be bonded on the patient’s teeth.

Once all the teeth that will be covered with veneers have been prepared, depending on the equipment available in the dental clinic, either an impression or digital scan of the patient’s mouth is taken and sent to a dental lab where porcelain laminate veneers are made either manually or digitally. 

When custom veneers are ready and sent back to the office, will be installed on the prepared teeth by the dentist. If needed, alterations are made before cementing the veneers into place. The patient’s teeth appearance and smile should be transformed entirely at this time.

Advantages of porcelain laminate veneers

  • Providing natural tooth appearance In cases where there are a range of cosmetic flaws such as spaces, discolouration, staining, chipped or fractured teeth, can all be dealt with by porcelain veneers at the same time.
  • In suitable cases that are executed well by the cosmetic dentist and well looked after by the patient, porcelain veneers can be expected to give 10 -15 years service due to Its very durable material and being long lasting solution. 
  • Porcelain veneers mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth and characteristics of tooth enamel fantastically well. Resulting in matching the existing teeth very closely.
  • Porcelain veneers are relatively much less likely to affect the nerve inside the tooth than full crowns, due to the amount required to remove the tooth structure because of the thin shell of the porcelain veneers with a thickness of 0.6mm, providing a conservative alternative as part of a Hollywood style makeover. 
  • The shape, colour and size of the veneers will be customized for each patient within the limits of their mouth to give them the personal smile with natural teeth appearance that have always wanted.
  • Once the decision to have porcelain veneers has been made, it is relatively quick to have them completed improving shape, colour and position of your teeth at once, in addition to its little recovery time for the patient to be good to resume normal function once porcelain veneers are set firmly to their teeth.


Disadvantages of porcelain laminate veneers

  • One of the most important disadvantages of porcelain veneers is that porcelain Veneers can be an expensive option when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. Porcelain veneers tend to be more expensive than other methods like composite veneers because they require more laboratory work.
  • The teeth need to be reshaped to fit the porcelain veneers and this process is irreversible. If the patient decides a few years later that no longer wants them as this cosmetic dental procedure needs a little removing of the natural tooth that they can’t go back to their natural teeth.
  • There is always a Possibility of chipping or deboning from the prepared teeth.


What is the role of Crowns in cosmetic dentistry?

Dental crowns are used for numerous reasons to benefit patients, and cosmetic dentistry is one of them. Crowns are not only placed because a tooth is damaged. They are also used to replace a tooth that has fractured, cracked or broken or simply is not appealing to the eye.

There are several possible options available for patients in need of dental crowns, including PFM and zirconia crowns which are considered to be the most widely used:

PFM crown

Porcelain fused to metal is a crown with the metal framework and the layer of opaque porcelain needed for masking the underlying metal grayish shade. 

Zirconia crown

There are three distinct types of Zirconia crowns to be offered: Porcelain-fused-to-Zirconia, full contour all-translucent Zirconia and the strongest one which is Solid zirconia, or “monolithic zirconia,. Porcelain-fused-to-Zirconia is a type of crown which is composed of zirconia as a strong base material with a layer of porcelain to give it a more natural appearance. Full contour Zirconia crowns either solid monolithic or translucent, Thanks to zircon as a material which is extremely strong, they can be thin, which means that a dentist can be more conservative in tooth preparation leading to save more patient’s natural teeth.

All-ceramic crown

Many people consider Porcelain or ceramic crowns providing the best and most natural look, however it’s relatively one of the more brittle options. Although it is still tough, Accordingly, dentists tend to use zirconia, since it has closely tooth color matching properties and makes the porcelain less likely to break.

Benefits of Zirconia Crown

  • It looks like a natural tooth due to its properties that closely match a natural tooth.
  • Zirconium is a non-toxic biocompatible metal with its excellent mechanical properties, chemical stability and biocompatibility is ideal for dental restorations. As a result, In cases where is metal toxicity concerns, zirconia crown is the best option.
  • Preservation of the natural tooth is quite often the priority of dental professionals which can go a long way toward ensuring overall dental health. Consequently, since Zirconia crowns do not require as much removal of the natural tooth, preservation of the teeth can be ensured relatively more with zirconia crowns.


Disadvantages of Zirconia Crowns

  • Specialized Dentist Required: Not every dentist is experienced and equipped to produce a full zirconia veneer. This type of crown requires expertise and specialized equipment to ensure optimal results.
  • Higher Cost: Zirconia crowns can be more expensive than other types of dental crowns, such as porcelain fused to metal (PFM) crowns.


What effect does orthodontics have on the cosmetic of teeth?

Orthodontics is a method used to correct misalignment of teeth, which can have a significant impact on the appearance of one’s smile. This method involves moving the teeth gradually into their correct positions within the jawbone, ensuring a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing smile.

Orthodontics can be done in three ways:

Removable orthodontics

This method involves using orthodontic appliances that are placed in the mouth, along with wires of varying shapes, to move the teeth. This technique is often used for children to guide jaw growth.

Fixed orthodontics

This method involves attaching orthodontic brackets, which can be made of metal or ceramic, to the teeth. The necessary movement is then created by placing wires inside these brackets, which gradually move the teeth into the desired position. This technique is highly effective and can correct many dental irregularities.

Invisible orthodontics

This method involves using transparent appliances that are custom-made to fit each individual’s teeth. By changing these appliances every two weeks, the teeth are gradually moved until they are in their correct position. However, this method may not be effective for correcting severe irregularities.

In conclusion, orthodontics can significantly improve the appearance of one’s teeth and smile. By using one of the three methods outlined above, dental irregularities can be corrected, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing smile and improved confidence.

Advantages of Orthodontics

  • Straightening Teeth: In orthodontics, teeth are gradually moved and aligned, resulting in a more beautiful and functional smile. Unlike dental porcelain veneers, there is no need to shave down teeth to create a beautiful appearance.
  • Flexible Payment Options: The cost of orthodontic treatment is often divided into installments, making it more affordable for patients.
  • Improved Oral Health: After treatment, it becomes easier to brush and floss teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. This can lead to healthier teeth and a longer lifespan for them.


Disadvantages of Orthodontics

  • Limited Cosmetic Changes: While orthodontics can improve tooth alignment, it does not change other aspects of the teeth’s appearance such as their shape or color.
  • Lengthy Treatment: Orthodontic treatment typically lasts for several months to a couple of years, requiring patients to have patience and dedication.
  • Hygiene Challenges: The fixed orthodontic method can make it difficult to maintain good oral hygiene, leading to tooth decay and other issues.
  • Temporary Changes: After the treatment, the beautiful teeth and the shape of the smile may change over time if proper maintenance and follow-up care are not taken.


Gum smile correction

Gum smile correction is a cosmetic dental procedure that addresses the issue of excessive gum display when smiling. In some individuals, a large portion of their gums is visible when they laugh, which can affect the appearance of their smile. Ideally, a beautiful smile should showcase more teeth and less gum.

There are several methods for correcting a gummy smile, including the use of lasers, porcelain veneers or composite veneers, frenectomy, and adjusting lip tension with a dental laser. These techniques are aimed at minimizing the amount of gum that is visible during smiling.

Advantages of Gum Smile Correction

  • Increased Self-Confidence: By improving the beauty of the teeth, gum smile correction can boost a person’s self-confidence and improve their overall well-being.
  • Improved Oral Hygiene: Individuals who undergo gum smile correction are more likely to become interested in maintaining good oral hygiene habits, as they take pride in the appearance of their teeth.
  • Minimally Invasive: With the use of lasers, there is no need for gum surgery and stitches. The procedure can typically be completed in just half to one hour.


Disadvantages of Gum Smile Correction

While there are typically no major disadvantages to gum smile correction when performed by a skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist, it is important to note that there may be some risks associated with the procedure.

These risks may include temporary swelling or discomfort in the treated area, as well as potential changes to the shape or size of the teeth.

As with any cosmetic dental procedure, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your dentist before undergoing treatment.


How Does Teeth Bleaching Improve Their Appearance?

Many people desire to have white teeth, and teeth bleaching is a popular dental cosmetic procedure that can achieve this goal. If your teeth are healthy and clean but appear yellow or discolored, bleaching may be the best solution to enhance their beauty. The process is usually performed in two ways:

In-office bleaching

A special device is used to apply the whitening material to the teeth and activate it, resulting in a noticeable improvement in the teeth’s color.

At-home bleaching

A mold of your teeth is taken, and a bleaching tray or stent is created to fit your teeth. You are then provided with the bleaching materials to use at home. You apply the bleaching material into the stent as instructed by your dentist and wear it for a few hours daily, gradually achieving whiter teeth.

Advantages of Teeth Bleaching

  • If high-quality materials are used, your teeth will not be damaged.
  • The teeth are whitened without any physical manipulation.


Disadvantages of Teeth Bleaching

  • Using cheap, low-quality or non-standard materials may cause tooth sensitivity.
  • The whitening effect may not be noticeable if low-quality equipment is used.
  • Teeth with large fillings or veneers are not affected by the bleaching process.
  • High-quality materials and equipment come with high prices.
  • The whitening process may take time, requiring patience to achieve the desired results.
  • Colored food or drinks should be avoided during the teeth bleaching treatment.


How does a dental bridge improve the appearance of teeth?

A dental bridge is a solution for replacing missing teeth. While dental implants are typically recommended, there are several situations where a dental bridge may be a better option:

  • When there is significant bone loss in the jaw after tooth extraction and it is not possible to place an implant in the remaining bone.
  • When bone grafting is not possible due to the person’s general health condition or the individual does not want to undergo surgery.
  • When the dentist is unable to place an implant in the location due to the position of the remaining teeth or the shape of the jawbone.
  • When the teeth adjacent to the edentulous area have undergone denervation treatment, and require the application of denervated tooth cover.
  • In some cases, an anterior tooth bridge can produce better aesthetic results than implants.
  • When the individual is in a hurry to fill the toothless area and cannot wait for the waiting period of the implant placement.
  • When the individual does not want to undergo dental implant surgery.


Advantages of Dental Bridge

  • A dental bridge can help fill in the gap caused by missing teeth, which can improve the appearance of your smile.
  • It can also help restore the ability to chew and speak properly, which may have been affected by missing teeth.
  • Dental bridges can be customized to match the color of your natural teeth, so they blend in seamlessly and look natural.
  • They are a faster solution compared to dental implants and can be completed in a week.
  • Dental bridges can be a better option if there is not enough bone to support a dental implant.


Disadvantages of Dental Bridge

  • The teeth adjacent to the edentulous area need to be trimmed, which can weaken them.
  • It is difficult to clean under the bridge, which can lead to decay or gum disease.
  • If one of the anchor teeth gets damaged or decayed, the entire bridge will need to be replaced.
  • The problem of bone loss is not addressed, and the remaining teeth can shift, causing bite problems.


Gum Lifting

Gum Lifting, also known as crown lengthening, is a dental procedure that involves removing excess gum tissue to expose more of the tooth crown. This can help improve the appearance of a gummy smile, where the gums cover too much of the teeth when a person smiles.

Advantages of Gum Lifting

  • Aesthetic improvement: By removing excess gum tissue, more of the tooth crown is visible, giving the teeth a longer and more balanced appearance.
  • Improved oral hygiene: With less gum tissue, it is easier to clean the teeth and maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Enhances confidence: A more attractive smile can boost a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem.


Disadvantages of Gum Lifting

  • Requires anesthesia: The procedure can be uncomfortable and may require anesthesia.
  • Sensitivity: Teeth may be more sensitive after the procedure.
  • Limited applicability: Gum lifting is only suitable for cases where excess gum tissue is the cause of the gummy smile. It may not be effective for other causes such as a short upper lip or a small jaw.


How do dental implants help the aesthetic of teeth?

Dental implants are a highly effective way to replace missing teeth after extraction. The decision to extract a tooth should always be made in consultation with a dentist, who can assess the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment options.

Dental implants offer numerous advantages, including improving the aesthetics of the teeth. For instance, they can provide a permanent solution for those who have struggled with unstable or removable dentures. Implants should be placed by a qualified implant specialist, and in some cases, the procedure can be done without surgery, making it a minimally invasive and painless option.

Advantages of Dental Implants

  • Dental implants replace both the root and crown of the tooth.
  • They help to preserve the bone and prevent its deterioration.
  • The resulting tooth looks and feels natural, emerging directly from the gum.
  • Dental implants have a long lifespan and do not decay or corrode.
  • The gap between teeth allows for easy cleaning with dental floss.
  • The gums around implants tend to be healthier, with reduced risk of infection and inflammation.


Disadvantages of Dental Implants

  • The process of getting dental implants can take some time, requiring patience.
  • Cost may be a barrier for some people.
  • The success of the treatment is highly dependent on the expertise and experience of the dentist performing the procedure.
  • Proper care is necessary to prevent implant infection, much like with natural teeth.


Replacing the old filling is necessary to create a beautiful tooth

To enhance the appearance of teeth, it’s necessary to replace amalgam fillings with composite ones. Black amalgam fillings are not aesthetically pleasing, and they can detract from the overall appearance of the teeth. Many people wonder whether it’s better to opt for black or white fillings.

However, with the advent of new and improved white tooth filling materials, there’s no doubt that replacing old black fillings with composite is the better choice. Composite fillings not only look more natural, but they also have better quality than amalgam fillings.

Advantages of replacing old fillings with composite

  • Removal of leakage: Replacing old fillings helps to remove any leakage that may have occurred in the old filling. This helps to prevent further decay and damage to the tooth.
  • Prevention of tooth decay: Tooth decay is commonly seen under old amalgam fillings. By replacing them with composite fillings, the progress of caries can be prevented and the nerve of the tooth can be protected.
  • Easy detection of decay: Composite fillings make it easier to detect the beginning of decay in teeth. As a result, dental problems can be addressed in their early stages, before they become more serious.


Disadvantages of Replacing old fillings

There are some potential disadvantages to replacing old fillings with composite:

  • Cost: Composite fillings may be more expensive than amalgam fillings, especially if you have multiple fillings that need to be replaced.
  • Time: Replacing old fillings can take more time than getting new fillings. It may require multiple appointments to complete the process.
  • Sensitivity: After getting a new filling, you may experience some sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures for a few days.
  • Durability: Composite fillings may not last as long as amalgam fillings, especially if they are placed in areas of the mouth that are subjected to a lot of pressure from chewing.
  • Aesthetics: While composite fillings are more aesthetically pleasing than amalgam fillings, they may not be as strong and durable in certain situations. For example, if you have a large filling that needs to withstand a lot of pressure, your dentist may recommend an amalgam filling instead of composite.


Filling decayed front teeth while maintaining aesthetic appearance

Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see dentists only applying a composite layer on teeth for cosmetic purposes without addressing any underlying decay.

If you are considering any cosmetic dental work on your front teeth, it’s important to ensure that any existing decay is removed before applying veneers or any other cosmetic treatment. Failing to remove decay can lead to further complications such as reaching the nerve of the tooth, which may require root canal treatment. This can also compromise the aesthetic appearance of the tooth.


Gingival Grafting for Improved Dental Aesthetics

Gingivitis is a common dental issue that can impact a person’s appearance. Teeth grinding is a leading cause of gingivitis, and in today’s stressful world, many people suffer from this condition. Grinding wears away the gum tissue on the surface of the tooth and root, leading to decay.

Once the underlying cause is addressed, such as teeth grinding, it’s essential to correct the damaged gum tissue. Gingival grafting is a treatment option that involves taking tissue from the palate or using artificial gums. The best approach to gum grafting will depend on the patient’s specific case and the advice of a qualified dentist after a thorough examination.

1 Comment

  • Afton Jackson
    19 October 2023

    It’s really helpful how you described the different ways cosmetic dentistry can make use of composite materials. I do think that those methods will be much safer and more manageable for me as a way to help my teeth look presentable again, especially during public gatherings. Once I find a cosmetic dentist in the area, I’ll ask them to see which of these methods will work for me

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