Scientifically, teeth are bone-like structures that help animals break down the food that gives them energy. So, in this sense, they are important to ensure that you can replenish the nutrients that go into making you an organism. But everyone knows that teeth are more than that. Aesthetically teeth are often one of the first and most important features that someone notices about you. This makes them important for self perception and external perception that others have of you!
For this reason, dentistry has evolved to be both about the structural or physiological health of teeth and gums as well as the aesthetic or “cosmetic” features of the teeth and gums. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on the appearance of the mouth and dental area (teeth and gums, and sometimes the way your bite is set up). So what exactly are some common procedures that count as cosmetic dentistry and how might one prepare for something like this?
What happens when you get teeth whitening performed?
Teeth whitening is among the most common and least invasive types of cosmetic dentistry. Firstly, most teeth whitening performed in a dental office is quite different from the whitening strips that you can get off the shelf at the local drug store.
Treatments that take place in office most often include what is called a whitening gel. You will often hear the words “bleach” or “bleaching” which has nothing to do with what you would likely call bleach. Rather, it refers to the process of removing stains from the surface of teeth.
Many times, this gel is paired with a type of light that activates and/or speeds up the whitening process. After your treatment, the dentist may send you home with some “after care” to use to prolong the appearance of your newly whitened teeth. You should follow the instructions given by your dental professional to keep your pearly whites, pearly white!
How do dental veneers work?
Getting veneers is a completely different cosmetic process from getting a simple tooth whitening. Veneers are thin pieces of material that are bonded permanently to your existing teeth. The basic idea is that they cover up your teeth’s imperfections and leave you with a smile that you can be proud of.
Veneers can be thought of as a one day smile solution because the entire process is so quick. Veneers are usually made of porcelain or composite material. They mimic teeth really well and are stain resistant. The best part is that they can be installed in a single day (after preparation appointments) which cannot be said for other dental solutions.
If you only have a couple of teeth that you wish to cover, that is perfectly fine as well. Veneers can be customized for your mouth so they can cover one, two, or all of your teeth. Veneers do not replace your teeth like an implant; they use your existing teeth as a base. Think of it like remodeling a home: you only change the appearance (or cosmetic aspect) and not the actual structure. You end up with the same basic materials but the appearance is more of your own custom cosmetic style!
Veneers can be a more permanent solution when compared to whitening, but they do cost more and require more preparation before the procedure. Both are common cosmetic procedures but come with their own pros and cons.
What should you do to get ready for a cosmetic dental treatment or procedure?
Like all dental procedures, you should always ask for and follow the advice of your dentist. Even though these types of treatments are called cosmetic, they still have some risks if you do not take them as seriously as other treatments. Here are some good practices for cosmetic surgery.
- Make sure that you make an appointment with your dentist to go over your options; they will be able to go over treatment plans and customize one according to both your goals and your budget.
- Go to all of your preparation appointments; this is especially important for veneers which have to be customized to the measurements of your teeth and mouth shape.
- Always follow the after care prescribed by your doctor! This could include followup appointments or at home treatments to prolong effects (as with teeth whitening procedures).
- And, as always, if you think something is wrong with your mouth/teeth after a cosmetic procedure (swelling, redness, bleeding, pain), contact your doctor as soon as possible. All procedures come with complication risks and early detection is key!
Here at Devaney Dentistry, we have the expertise to get you started on your cosmetic dental procedure journey right here in Greensboro, NC. We are passionate about making a custom plan that works for you since we know the value of a healthy and beautiful smile!