Cosmetic dentistry, once reserved for the wealthy and famous, synonymous with Hollywood, has extended its reach, as nearly every dentist now offers various options to the millions of people raring to arrange for a procedure.
Focusing on the appearance of a person’s teeth, mouth, and smile, cosmetic dentistry covers a wide range of issues, with today’s materials guaranteeing remarkable durability and a natural look.
People are responding to this trend, showing an apparent infatuation, despite cosmetic procedures being classified as elective and generally not covered by insurance. A report from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) clarified that two-thirds of patients are female, with their average spending on cosmetic operations being slightly less than $4,000 in 2007.
Dr. Xieng Khan Lee, a member of the American Dental Association, Minnesota Dental Association, and Minneapolis District Dental Society, has shared everything you need to know about cosmetic dentistry.
What Can Be Done?
Several cosmetic dentistry procedures are available for patients to contemplate, ranging in price, Dr. Xieng Khan Lee says.
For anyone who is pursuing those pearly whites, teeth whitening can handle discoloration or staining problems. In your dentist’s office, teeth can be bleached for roughly $500, or you can purchase a mold and gels from your dentist to perform the bleaching at home. Whitening products, such as specific kinds of toothpaste, rinses, and white strips, are another option, found over the counter at retail stores.
Dental veneers are highly thin, custom-made shells of porcelain or resin that cover the front surface of the teeth. A dentist will first remove about a half-millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, then cement the thin shells to the front of their teeth. Through this method, you can alter a tooth’s color, size, shape, or length. Each tooth can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,300, so be sure that you are committed and need this procedure.
Another choice is dental bonding, which sees a tooth-colored resin applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light. Once the material bonds to your tooth, the dentist will trim, shape, and polish it to repair any decayed, chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth, says Dr. Xieng Khan Lee.
A dental crown is utilized to fit over and replace the entirety of a damaged or decayed tooth above the gum line, working to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. By opting for a crown, you ensure that a weak tooth will hold up and not break.
Inlays and onlays, made from gold, porcelain, or composite materials, fill decayed or damaged teeth. During an office visit, the dental fillings are molded into place, but the inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory. An alternative to crowns, inlays, and onlays preserve what is left of the healthy tooth.
Finally, dental implants are titanium replacement tooth roots inserted into the bone socket of a missing tooth. When the jawbone heals, it grows around the metal post, keeping it securely in place and providing a foundation for a replacement tooth.
Which Dentist is Ideal?
Before finalizing your decision for a cosmetic procedure, Dr. Xieng Khan Lee is adamant that you take your time in selecting the proper dentist to deliver your shiny smile. Unlike other specialists, cosmetic dentist work does not require additional education or certifications. Narrowing down the search can be a tedious process, but you can use patient references, a dentist’s portfolio of previous treatments, and evidence of continuing education to help. Look for a dentist who is a member of the AACD, which demands a diligent study of cosmetic dentistry procedures and passing an examination to become a member.