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Enhancing Your Smile: More Than Just Beautiful

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Enhancing Your Smile: More Than Just Beautiful

A beautiful smile enhances anyone’s appearance. Teeth that are stained, discolored, poorly aligned, or broken can not only be unsightly, but may have an impact on self-confidence and mental health. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry has made tremendous advances in recent years and can now deliver a beautiful smile makeover. Cosmetic procedures can range from the simplest such as enhancing the color or your teeth to the more complicated, such as replacing lost teeth, as well as everything in between.

There are several different categories of cosmetic dentistry. One of the most common, simplest, and least expensive procedures is teeth whitening. Teeth can be bleached in the dentist’s office or there are over-the-counter products available to do the job yourself at home. The whitening products come in a variety of forms – toothpastes, strips, gels, and trays – and offer the best results to people whose teeth have a yellow cast rather than a grayish tone. Your dentist can help you make a decision about the best product for you.

Two relatively easy, inexpensive methods of repairing chipped or cracked teeth or changing the shape of the teeth are dental bonding and veneers. With dental bonding, a resin that is the same color as the teeth is applied. A light is then used to harden the resin, resulting in firm adherence to the teeth. With veneers, a very thin shell is applied to the front of the teeth, changing their color or shape. Veneers can be made from porcelain or resin and are not reversible.

Orthodontics can correct crooked or misaligned teeth. Commonly called “braces”, they exert pressure that over time causes the teeth to move. As the teeth move, the bony socket changes shape to accommodate the new alignment. In the earlier days of orthodontia, metal braces were the norm, but they now can be the same color as teeth, clear, or multi-colored. They can be as inconspicuous as desired, with some even attaching to the back of the teeth so as to be out of view.

A lesser known cosmetic procedure for improving the appearance of teeth is enamel shaping. It is quick, painless, and used to correct small imperfections in the teeth, such as mild crowding or uneven teeth.

Sometimes an oral cosmetic flaw isn’t with the teeth, but with the gum line. For a person who shows a lot of gum when smiling or those whose gum line is uneven, gum reshaping can be done by a cosmetic dentist. The goal is to make the teeth appear larger by excising a bit of the gum line. This can be done to as many teeth as necessary.

Gum recession is a common problem and partially exposes the root of the tooth. This exposed root may be sensitive to heat or cold and makes the tooth more vulnerable to decay in the root area. Gum recession is more than a cosmetic issue. It can lead to bone loss, resulting in the eventual loss of a tooth. A gum graft, which moves healthy gum tissue from one part of the mouth to another, can alleviate receding gums and stop bone loss. It also results in a more even gum line.

These are just a few of the procedures available to dental patients today. Consultation with your dentist to choose what’s best for you can be the first step toward a more beautiful smile and better oral health.



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