All forms of dental work which are intended to improve the physical appearance of the person who will receive them are all classified under cosmetic dentistry. In this branch of dentistry, the modifications are usually made on the teeth or gums. The main purpose of cosmetic dental procedures is to address aesthetic issues and achieve the objectives set by the patient with regard to improving his or her physical attributes.
A controversial practice
Although this practice is not formally recognized by the American Dental Association, cosmetic dentistry is one of the most popular subspecialties of modern dentistry. Many dentists from all around the world market themselves as cosmetic dentists. The most skilled of these dental specialists are possessed of the skills that can better the appearance of a person with missing or broken teeth. Aside from improved aesthetics, cosmetic dentistry can help provide a boost of confidence and self-esteem to a person whose appearance is markedly altered due by advanced or severe tooth and gum problems.
Advancements in materials used
There was a time when the only materials used for tooth restorations and fillings were metals such as amalgam (silver fillings) and gold. Today, the materials can better mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Since people prefer to use materials that better approximate the color of their teeth there is a constant struggle to develop better compounds and implements to affect greater improvement on the patient’s smile. It is important that the materials used in cosmetic surgery are reliable because improvement in physical appearance comes with a boost in overall confidence.
Scope of cosmetic dentistry
Although dentistry started out as a professional that is concerned mainly with tooth and gum care and interventions such as tooth extraction and tooth filling, it has evolved and expanded to include aesthetic dentistry or cosmetic dentistry. The scope of this practice includes teeth repair, lightening or whitening of teeth, reshaping and straightening teeth, for starters. The most popular cosmetic treatments availed by patients are fillings, implants, crowns, bridges, and veneers.
A primer on tooth whitening
Professional bleaching of teeth is the most popular method of tooth whitening and this procedure has many benefits. The methods available today can effectively lighten the color of teeth without risking removal of the protective outer covering. When performed by a qualified professional, application of the whitening product can lead to whitening of teeth in just a few sessions. The active ingredient of the whitening compound is carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The number of sessions will depend on how white the patient wants his or her teeth to be, but the typical duration of treatment is three to four weeks.
Another popular method in cosmetic dentistry that leads to whiter teeth is laser or power whitening. This method causes faster lightening of color since laser energy is directed to the teeth in order to activate the whitening compound. It is reported that shade of a set of teeth can change six to seven-fold with this method. Only a qualified dental professional must perform the abovementioned procedure.