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There are a number of cosmetic dentist procedures that can be performed by a cosmetic dentist, some of which possibly being more elective than others. Still, it’s important to know what cosmetic dentistry is, why you may need it and when to visit your cosmetic dentist.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Essentially cosmetic dentistry deals with any sort of oral care that helps to correct any unwanted or even potentially dangerous issues with the teeth, which may prevent you from possessing the smile that you have always wanted. Cosmetic dentistry can be broken down into two different fields—prosthodontics and orthodontics.

When you visit a cosmetic dentist for prosthodontic services, you will generally be seeing them to address misshapen, missing or worn/broken teeth in your smile. These issues can generally be corrected in a timely manner with placement of crowns, veneers, bridges or implants.

Orthodontics, on the other hand, is focused on correcting alignment and crowding issues that prevent that perfect smile. Over time, braces can be used to straighten teeth, close spaces, and correct bite patterns.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Necessary?

While some procedures are more pressing than others, cosmetic dentistry is often necessary to achieve proper aesthetics. Don’t let the name fool you—these procedures more than just about cosmetics.

There are many cosmetic procedures that can help to preserve:

  • Integrity of your teeth
  • Bone levels around your teeth
  • Proper bite and occlusion
  • Gum health
  • And more.

These procedures often need to be taken care of by a cosmetic dentist as soon as possible. If they aren’t, they may lead to tooth decay, tooth migration and even problems with the integrity of your jawbone. Once these issues occur, reversing them can be difficult—if at all possible.

What Are Some Examples of Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry—while used to explain a type of dentistry—is still a catchall term. There are many different procedures that fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry that fix a variety of different issues.

Here are some of the different forms of cosmetic dentistry and their appropriate applications.

Composite or Porcelain Veneers

When you have a chipped, severely stained or slightly rotated front tooth a veneer can be placed to realign the tooth into your smile. When appropriate, veneers also can be placed on multiple teeth to close spaces that may exist.

Veneers cover the front surface and tip of the teeth and are generally made from a strong and aesthetic porcelain. Porcelain veneers are custom made for each patient in a lab setting.

Dental Bonding

Like veneers, dental bonding is intended for teeth that do not need to be pulled and have healthy roots below the gum-line. If you have a cracked, chipped or decayed tooth, dental bonding may be a good fit for you.

With a dental bonding procedure, a composite resin (tooth colored) filling material is applied to the existing tooth surface to create a functional and natural looking tooth that blends in with your smile. This procedure is less invasive than porcelain veneers and can often be completed by a cosmetic dentist in one session.

Dental Crowns

There are times where your teeth need to be repaired in a way that goes beyond simply an aesthetic concern. While dental crowns still fall under the title of “cosmetic” dentistry, they are generally used when a significant portion of the tooth is missing due to fracture or decay and a full coverage restoration is needed to ensure its longevity.

The process involves a cosmetic dentist installing a crown or “cap” on top of the injured tooth that not only resembles the tooth that it is covering, but also functions close to the same way.

Dental Bridges

Sometimes teeth are damaged to the point where they need to be removed. When a tooth is extracted, a replacement needs to be installed to ensure the health of the surrounding teeth and to preserve a normal bite pattern.

Bridges are literally meant to “bridge” the gap between a missing tooth or teeth with a fixed and cemented prosthetic appliance. The false tooth that is part of the dental bridge appears as if it is emerging from the bone and can be a highly aesthetic option if you are not a candidate for implants.

Dental Implants

Like bridges, dental implants are used to treat the loss of teeth. With implants—unlike with bridges—the new tooth or teeth are installed by a cosmetic dentist or surgeon by placing a titanium implant that mimics a metal tooth root into the jaw. Following a healing period when the dental implant integrates into the bone, the dentist will place a custom-made crown on top of the implant.

Dental implants are a great alternative to bridges, but they can only be installed if the integrity of the jawbone is still strong. Therefore, it is important to have any tooth injury taken care of immediately.

Braces or Invisalign

Whether they are traditional wire braces, or clear, plastic Invisalign trays, Orthodontics serves the function of adjusting the placement and alignment of teeth. If you have teeth that are rotated/crowded, you have gaps in your teeth or you have an overbite/deepbite, braces can help to realign your teeth in a manner that does not require a drill. This will both improve the function of your mouth, as well as your smile!

In some circumstances the orthodontist and cosmetic dentist may work together to coordinate treatment if you have a more extensive case requiring both orthodontics and prosthodontics.

When Should I See a Cosmetic Dentist About Cosmetic Dentistry?

Any of the situations that were mentioned above should warrant a call to your cosmetic dentist in Mobile Al about what options are available to address your personal concerns. While some of these issues may be less drastic and time sensitive than others, it’s still a good idea to look at treatment solutions, and to have your cosmetic dentist take a look to see if the problem may get progressively worse.