Cosmetic Dentistry Overview
“I wish I had done it sooner!” People choose esthetic dental procedures/surgery for various reasons-to repair a defect such as a malformed bite or crooked teeth, treat an injury, or just improve their overall appearance. Whatever the reason, the ultimate goal is to restore a beautiful smile. And most people wish they had done it sooner. Dr. Michaels works with a specialized lab with considerable training to achieve a natural smile for men and women of any age. Please see our Smile Gallery.
For these and many other reasons, esthetic dentistry has become a vital and important part of the dental profession.
Common esthetic dental procedures can be performed to correct misshaped, discolored, chipped or missing teeth. They also can be used to change the overall shape of teeth-from teeth that are too long or short, have gaps, or simply need to be reshaped.
To achieve the result you desire, you and your dentist must be on the same page. Because this is critically important, Dr. Michaels shows you your teeth twice before the lab ever makes them. First, impressions are taken and a specially qualified lab completes a “wax-up.” At your second visit, you will see what the lab technician and Dr. Michaels have designed based on your requests. Because you can see the result in wax, changes can be made if it is not what you imagined. After the wax-up is ready, your next appointment will include preparing your teeth and placing temporaries. This is the second time you get to see your new smile! Dr. Michaels actually uses a model of the wax-up to make your temporaries. So, when you walk out that day, you can “try out” your teeth. You will be seen in 1-2 weeks after a period of settling in, and small adjustments will be made to correct your ability to function if needed. You can also request small changes at this time. Only after esthetics and function are confirmed is the final impression sent to the lab for fabrication. So by the time you receive your final smile, you can feel confident that you know what you will look like, and that, most importantly, you will be happy with it. It is a huge gamble to change your smile without these steps; sometimes an irreversible one.
Some of the more common procedures involve:
- Bonding – A procedure in which tooth-colored material is used to close gaps or change tooth color.
- Contouring and reshaping – A procedure that straightens crooked, chipped, cracked or overlapping teeth.
- Veneers – A procedure in which ultra-thin coatings are placed over the front teeth. Veneers can change the color or shape of your teeth. For example, veneers have been used to correct unevenly spaced, crooked, chipped, oddly shaped or discolored teeth.
- Whitening and bleaching – As the term implies, whitening and bleaching, a rapidly increasing procedure, are used to make teeth whiter. This is sometimes all you need to make the difference.
Which techniques should be used to improve your smile? A dental exam will take many factors into consideration, including your overall oral health.