V) 0 3 tl) -,,;! ~ ::r tD'tD -0. ~ to OJ III V) CD t .•.••D ~ r:: ::s ::s V) to tD ::r 0 V)::b r:: Co .- 3~ ••••• ~ ,.... 0 0 " tD -+t :E • OJ > 0'" 0 r:: ..•. What are the Various Cosmetic Procedures? Modern dentistry offers a variety of ways to enhance one's smile. Actually, just a visit to the dental hygienist can improve your smile - a professional cleaning can remove unsightly stains and brighten the teeth. The choices available to you will be largely governed by the present condition of your teeth. Procedures might include: • Whitening. This is a means of lightening discolored or stained teeth without altering the shape of the teeth in any way. This may be done in the office or by means of take-home whitening kits. • Veneers. Thin porcelain laminates can be bonded to the front teeth to close gaps or change the size, shape or color of your teeth. • Bonding. Often used to fill spaces or to repair chips, gaps or tooth shape. The composite material is bonded to your tooth and then shaped and polished for optimal function and appearance. • Fillings & Inlays. Composite material to match your tooth color may be used in place of silveri mercury amalgam fillings. Porcelain inlays are also color matched and save more tooth structure than fillings. • Onlays. Used to protect fractured or damaged teeth from further damage, porcelain onlays also match tooth color. They extend over the cusps of the teeth and save more tooth structure than crowns. • Bridges or Implants. To fill a space where teeth are missing, a bridge - two or more crowns and an artificial tooth - may be used. A newer technology uses a titanium implant in the jawbone that supports the artificial tooth. • Porcelain Crowns. After removing badly damaged or decayed material, a toothlike "cap" is cemented in place. Crowns can be matched to your tooth color. • Full Mouth Reconstruction. Restoring all of the teeth is called a "full mouth reconstruction". Usually elected when major changes to your bite are required, one of the benefits of this procedure is that it allows you and the dentist latitude in pre-selecting the size, shape and arrangement of your teeth. • Orthodontics. Various procedures can be used to realign your teeth and change your bite to en hance your smile. The Importance of Occlusion (Your Bite) You wouldn't want a beautiful new car that wouldn't run. Neither would you want a beautiful new smile with poor function. Malocclusion (bad bite) is often one of the main causes of cosmetic problems. In any case, correcting the bite as part of the treatment plan is essential to insure good function as well as the durability of the cosmetic treatment. Restoring the bite and the cosmetic appearance together may require more complex treatment than cosmetics alone. This could include such things as major reconstruction of the teeth, orthodontics, or both. Correction of your smile and your bite will depend upon many factors the dentist must consider in your particular case. Not uncommonly, these factors may be signs of underlying problems with the way your teeth fit together. Through studying your history, examining your mouth carefully and performing one or more tests, the dentist will determine the status of your occlusion before proceeding with cosmetic treatment. Other Smile Factors Tooth shade (color), tooth width and length and other factors are all considered in the planning of your new smile. Cosmetic dentistry may also include non- tooth concerns about the appearance of your gums and lips. These things will be considered in the overall evaluation of your smile and may be altered as part of the treatment plan. As an example, if too much gum shows in your smile, a simple process called "crown lengthening" may be used. Bonding or reconstruction procedures can make the lips more full and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Where Do I Begin? The first step is to discuss your concerns with your dentist. Simple problems or procedures are often quickly resolved. If not, the next step would be to schedule a full evaluation and diagnosis. If the result produces more than one option as to how you might proceed, you should discuss them in detail with the dentist or treatment planner. Ask about the advantages or disadvantages of the possible options. Don't be embarrassed to discuss costs. Most purely cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance, but your dental office welcomes discussion of costs and various payment options. The Benefits of a PLeasing SmiLe One of the obvious benefits of a beautiful smile is the satisfaction that it brings you - it just makes you feel better about yourself and boosts your self-confidence. Recent studies have also shown conclusively that a pleasing smile makes others feel that you are more attractive, intelligent and successful. Modern cosmetic dentistry can be a life-changing experience. Just what is Cosmetic Dentistry? The term Cosmetic Dentistry, also called Aesthetic Dentistry, applies to any procedure that enhances your smile and improves your overall appearance. This covers a broad range of possible treatments, ranging from tooth whitening to complete reconstruction of your teeth and even applies to improvement in the appearance of dentures. While consideration of improving appearance is part of any dental treatment, because of recent advances in dental procedures and materials, patients are increasingly coming to dentists purely for cosmetic reasons - they want a more beautiful smile!