FAQ's > Cosmetic Dentistry

The information presented below is only for informational purposes. Your surgeon will talk to you about details regarding your specific procedure.

What are some types of cosmetic dentistry procedures?
Tooth Bleaching - This is done when you want to whiten dark, dull or stained teeth. It is a simple procedure that is done by taking an impression of your teeth and making a duplicate model. A clear tray is then molded from this model and is then filled with a bleaching gel and placed directly over the teeth. It should be worn for several hours during the day or night for at least 1-2 weeks.

Bonding - Bonded composite resins can be used when teeth are chipped or slightly decayed. First, the tooth structure is cleaned and etched and then a clear adhesive is applied to the area needing bonding. Once applied, a tooth colored bonding material is placed on the tooth. It is permanently hardened and fused to the tooth with a hand held white light gun. Bonding makes a great tooth colored filling for small cavities and broken or chipped surfaces. It can also be used to close spaces between teeth. Additionally, it is used to cover the entire outside surface of a tooth to change its color and shape. For the latter two applications, bonding has its limits. It may not be strong enough, aesthetic enough, or durable enough for certain individual situations. 

Porcelain Laminate Veneers - Porcelain veneers (sometimes referred to as laminates) can change an entire smile. Porcelain laminate veneers are quick, painless, and dramatic and they can change the shape, color, size, and arrangement of teeth or any combination of these factors. They can be used as an alternative for orthodontic treatment. The procedure consists of first shaving a thin layer of outer tooth structure. An impression is then taken of the prepared teeth and is sent to a laboratory. In the lab, a ceramist will make very thin porcelain facings consisting of all the changes in shape, size, color and teeth arrangement that are needed to have a great looking smile. The laminates are then bonded onto the prepared teeth with a white light gun. The bonding material acts as an adhesive for the laminates. Porcelain laminates are the most popular technique used for dramatic smile makeovers.

Porcelain Jackets - When there is not enough tooth structure left, or the chewing demands in the mouth are too great for laminates, a stronger, more extensive restoration is needed. Porcelain jacket crowns are used in this case. Porcelain jackets are pure porcelain crowns placed on a fully prepared tooth. They are the most life-like of all full crown type restorations. The technique consists of preparing the teeth. Next, an impression is taken and then sent to the dental lab where the porcelain jacket is produced. Finally, they are placed in the patient's mouth and permanently cemented onto the teeth.

How many office visits will I need to improve my smile?
The number of visits varies for each person and is dependent on the amount of work that needs to be done. Sometimes, you can dramatically improve your oral health and appearance in just a couple of visits. Talk to your dentist about your goals and concerns so the best plan can be developed for your individual situation.


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