What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is focussed on creating a brighter and more enhanced smile. This is achieved by providing a number of cosmetic services such as braces or orthodontics, teeth whitening and bonding or veneers to provide an overall dental health as well as cosmetic dental health. This aids in an improvement in self- esteem and confidence of the person.
Some of the very common cosmetic dentistry procedures are tooth coloured restorations and fillings, tooth bonding, tooth whitening, orthodontics, porcelain veneers, dental implants, crowns or caps, enamel shaping and contouring, bridges and periodontal plastic procedures. Over the past decade, the technology involved with cosmetic dentistry has evolved at a staggering rate and it is surprising, the kinds of results that can be achieved by cosmetic dentistry.
Cosmetic dentistry is not credited as an actual speciality in the field of dentistry. Any dentist can claim to be a cosmetic dentist despite their experience or skill.
Before opting for any kind of permanent treatment for cosmetic purposes, one must understand fully, the pros and cons associated with it.
1. Porcelain Veneers- With the help of a specific bonding process, porcelain veneers (thin shells) are fixed on a tooth. This is used to restore damaged, uneven or even discoloured teeth. These are also used to give a rounder appearance to the face by providing longer and squarer teeth. Also, fuller lips and smoother lip lines can be achieved by the use of porcelain veneers.
Pros- Repair of discoloured, chipped or broken teeth and teeth gaps. Gives a straight looking, enhanced smile.
Cons- Fragile, irreversible, risk of trauma, increase in teeth sensitivity and not everyone is eligible to get veneers.
2. Porcelain crowns- Some crowns are made up of porcelain only while others have a metal shell set on a tooth and then a porcelain layer over it and are called porcelain fused metal (PFM) crown . These crowns are used to restore decayed and cracked tooth
Pros- As opposed to porcelain over PFM crowns does not have a dark line as it has a natural colour that imitates the tooth colour. These look natural, are non-allergic and can be performed in one seating.
Cons- These are more fragile as compared to PFM crowns. These also cause hypersensitivity in tooth. They have a worse fit, require more teeth reduction and are costlier than PFM crowns.
3. Orthodontics- Also called dental braces consist of a combination of brackets, wires and banding which is fitted on a person's teeth and left for a few years to correct overbites or under bites.
Pros- Corrects bites and straightens teeth.
Cons- Causes pain and discomfort, embarrassment especially for children, can get stained. Also, might damage teeth, difficult to clean, great initial discomfort and difficult routine adjustments.
4. Whitening- Bleaching agents such as carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide along with light or laser are used.
Pros- Three to eight shades of lightening can be achieved. It eliminates yellow and discoloured teeth.
Cons- Increased sensitivity, irritation and soreness around gums and surrounding tissues.
5. Implants- Also called dentures, is an artificial tooth root and is made up of titanium and other materials.
Pros- One or multiple teeth can be implanted. Gives full functionality of a healthy tooth.
Cons- Requires surgery and recovery time is high. The tooth/ teeth will need replacement, causes slight bone loss around the implant over the years.
6. Amalgam filling replacement- Used when dental fillings are needed to match with a person’s natural tooth colour.
Pros- Better than silver fillings as these do not contain mercury, are the natural colour of teeth, does not turn tooth gray, bonds well and less tooth removal required.
Cons- Needs replacements every seven to ten years, not suitable for large fillings and a dry field is required for it placement.