While most Americans understand the importance of regular dental visits to promote dental health through thorough teeth cleanings and screenings for tooth decay and gum disease, cosmetic dentistry is a field that is gaining recognition and popularity. The term “cosmetic dentistry” is something that most people have probably heard, but do you really know the scope of what cosmetic dentistry entails?
Cosmetic dentistry is, put simply, the process of improving the appearance of teeth, including their shape, color, and symmetry. It differs from general dentistry in that it is concerned not simply with oral health, but with aesthetics as well. Cosmetic dentistry is part science – using up-to-the-minute advances in tools and materials, and part art – envisioning and realizing the beauty of an improved smile.
What you may find interesting is that symmetry, not color or shape and the positioning of your teethin relation to your face, gum tissue and lips is what makes a smile aesthetically pleasing. It is much more important to have teeth in the appropriate positions and symmetrical from left to right than to have very white teeth that don’t fit appropriately into your smile.
Many Cosmetic problems in dentistry are easy to fix. Poorly shaped teeth or broken teeth can be repaired with bonding or veneers. Dark teeth can be whitened with an oxidizing agent, either with over the counter whitening treatments, or for more difficult cases, custom whitening by the dental office. In some cases, simple reshaping of your gum tissue with a diode laser can drastically improve the appearance of the underlying teeth.
More complex cosmetic improvements, which may include multiple teeth and involving the function of your jaws, require much more knowledge on the part of the dentist. The types of materials utilized and the ability to communicate with the dental laboratory with the correct language and appropriate photography are all part of successful cosmetic dental procedures. With these cases, experience is very important.
The most advanced cosmetic dentistry may involve a combination of everything we have talked about. In cases where teeth may have been lost many years ago, or many teeth are worn, the remaining teeth will shift and move as your bite changes. In these cases it is not just a matter of simply bonding the teeth or placing veneers, but completely restoring the original form and function of your teeth. This type of reconstruction requires a significant amount of training and experience by the Dentist, and may include a combination of braces, gum surgery, crowns and complex laboratory work.
Ultimately, however, all the training in the world will not make an expert cosmetic dentist. The artistic ability of the practitioner and the ability to see the finished product from the start of treatment, the skills of the chosen laboratory technician and the communication with the laboratory is what creates successful cosmetic dentistry.
At Modern Dentistry, we employ the latest advances in cosmetic dentistry. I keep myself abreast of developments in the field and I continue my education and training with frequent seminars and workshops. If you have concerns about the appearance of your teeth and the quality of your smile, I urge you to consider some of the latest options available to you. After all, everyone deserves to smile with confidence.
Todd A. Pizzi DDS
307 Grafton Street
Shrewsbury, MA 01545