Cosmetic Dentistry

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic DentistryDentistry is the field of medicine that covers everything that goes on in the mouth — the teeth, the gums, and even the tissues and bones underneath the gums. This may sound like dentistry deals with only a relatively small portion of the human body, but the field itself is remarkably complex. In fact, dentistry can refer to so many different areas and specializations that the American Dental Association alone has outlined nine different subsectors of the field.

But even those nine specializations aren’t enough — there’s an entirely separate organization that deals with a type of dentistry that’s becoming more and more popular in recent years: cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry deals not with the health or the functionality of the teeth primarily, but rather the appearance. In other words, cosmetic dentistry is all about how your smile looks — and you might be surprised by how much cosmetic dentists like Dr. Allen Gotora from Stellar Dental in Maryland can change.

What kinds of problems can cosmetic dentistry treat?

Everyone’s perception of what a “beautiful smile” constitutes may be different, but most people can agree on the features that are not in a beautiful smile. These are the features that cosmetic dentists work to alter, and can include:

  • Stained or otherwise discolored teeth: Everyone’s teeth start out slightly yellow to light grey hue, but, over time, everyone experiences some amount of tooth discoloration. This is because a number of different factors can have staining effects on the teeth. The majority of these are based on what we eat. A number of common foods and drinks like coffee, tea, blueberries and red wine have particularly strong staining effects. However, some contributing factors like genetics and aging are less controllable. Luckily, a number of cosmetic dentistry procedures can help control and even reverse any discoloration that has occurred.
  • Cracks, chips, and other structural damage of a tooth: Just as your teeth can become stained over time, they can be damaged as well. Although the enamel material that protects the softer insides of your teeth is the strongest substance in the body, unexpected pressure from chewing on hard objects, a blow to the face, or even a bad fall can chip or crack a tooth. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the results. Cosmetic procedures can seamlessly repair these damages and return your teeth to their previous shape.
  • Irregularities in a tooth (like craters and bulges): But, what if the irregularities in the tooth aren’t caused by an outside factor? What if the tooth just naturally has craters and bulges? Cosmetic dentistry can fix these kinds of problems as well, subtly altering the appearance of the tooth in question until it resembles the image you have in mind.
  • Malocclusions (misalignments) in the teeth: Furthermore, cosmetic dentistry doesn’t just deal with problems with individual teeth; it can fix problems between the teeth as well. You’re probably familiar with orthodontics which can correct malocclusions (misalignments) in the mouth, but you might not have known that other, cheaper cosmetic procedures can sometimes provide similar results. Dental bonding and porcelain veneers, for example, can fix minor problems like gaps between the teeth.
  • Missing teeth: Finally, cosmetic dentistry provides solutions for the age-old problem of dentistry: missing teeth. Regardless of how you’ve lost a tooth (through an accident, to prevent spread of infection, or just naturally because of aging), dentists are able to work out solutions to fill the gap with prosthetics. A variety of solutions for attached prosthetics exist, and the technology only gets better with time.

What kinds of procedures does cosmetic dentistry include?

Cosmetic dentistry procedures come in a variety of forms, and differences in specializations between dentists can exist. Stellar Dental offers the most common and, more importantly, the most effective procedures including (but definitely not limited to) the following:

  • Teeth whitening: Because discoloration is such a widespread problem, a number of over the counter whitening products do exist. However, all of these commercially sold pastes, gels, and mouthwashes pale in comparison to the professional teeth whitening services offered by cosmetic dentists. Dentists have access to more powerful solutions that can be dangerous when handled by a layperson, and professional whitenings can thus have a far greater effect than anything else you could find.
  • Dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and dental crowns: Dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and dental crowns are procedures that function in similar ways–they all offer a way to “cover up” imperfections in the teeth, hiding any irregularities can shielding the tooth from danger. The main difference lies in intensity:
    • Dental bonding is the cheapest but least reliable procedure that shields the teeth with a thin layer of resin;
    • Porcelain veneers are thicker and stronger shells made from a porcelain material; and,
    • Dental crowns are porcelain “caps” that fit all the way around a tooth.

Depending on your situation, one may be better than the others, but only a dentist can prescribe the appropriate treatment for the situation.

  • Dental prosthetics: There are a variety of different cosmetic procedures for attaching dental prosthetics, and each one differs drastically from the rest. For example, dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants are some of the most common types of dental prosthetics, but the prosthetics and the procedures look vastly different from each other. Again, consulting a dentist is the only way to figure out which solution would work best for your situation.

If you’re interested in finding out more about any of these procedures, give Dr. Allen Gotora from Stellar Dental a call to get more information! Dr. Gotora can be reached at our main practice via phone at (301) 754-1900 in Silver Spring, Maryland, or via our website http://stellardentalllc.com/.