The gambit of procedures offered by today’s dentists is massive compared to the number available only a couple of decades ago. Most family dentists offer a full complement of cosmetic and corrective procedures designed to leave patients feeling healthy and confident. In this article, we’ll review some of the most popular cosmetic and corrective procedures.
Cosmetic dentistry is a newer branch of dentistry and is not yet considered a specialty by the American Dental Association. Still, it’s a very popular field with both dentists and patients. More than half of all patients seeking cosmetic dentistry are between 41 and 60 years old, and the procedures they seek most often are teeth whitening and porcelain veneers.
Today’s teeth whitening procedures can lighten and brighten teeth in less than an hour. Smoking, drinking dark colored beverages, excessive fluoride, aging, and genetics can all discolor tooth enamel, but their effects can be reversed through professional whitening treatments. Usually, the dentist will apply hydrogen peroxide gel to teeth and use a special light to bleach away stains and discoloration.
Though tooth enamel is the hardest surface in the human body, teeth are prone to breaks and chips. Thin porcelain veneers are often applied to chipped, broken, or discolored teeth, mimicking natural tooth enamel very well. Veneers are bonded directly to teeth in order to provide a more attractive appearance.
Corrective procedures are intended to fix problems in the mouth that could lead to pain or poor overall dental health. Two of the most popular corrective procedures are orthodontics and tooth replacement.
Braces for kids is the most common use of orthodontics. Braces for kids and adults are available to straighten teeth, correcting problems with bite like overcrowding, overbite, underbite, and gaps. Though many parents are put off by how much braces cost, they are still very commonly used. A children s dentist cannot install braces, but will instead refer families to an orthodontist. Some orthodontists are experts at installing braces for kids, while others focus mainly on correction of adult bites. Regardless, orthodontists make it their business to make sure their patients have healthy, straight teeth.
Though there are braces for kids and braces for adults, tooth replacement is strictly for the latter. Dentures and dental implants can only be placed after the jaw has finished growing, meaning that many adolescents have to wait until they are at least 15 for girls or 17 for boys before they can receive dental implants. Dental implants replace the roots of missing teeth. Usually made of titanium, they provide the tooth replacement experience most like natural teeth because they are permanent and have no effect on a patient’s eating. Dentures, on the other hand, are removable and have been known to cause difficulty with eating. In the past, dentures have been made from animal teeth, human teeth, ivory, and porcelain, but today they are structured from acrylic resin.
The wide variety of dental procedures available exist in response to the wide variety of complaints that patients have with their teeth. Teeth are unique, like fingerprints, and even vary between identical twins. It is, therefore, no surprise that so many procedures have been developed to facilitate their care and health. Read this for more.