Many things can happen to your teeth that make you avoid smiling. The embarrassment of an unattractive smile can definitely lower self esteem and make life more difficult and less fulfilling. Lower self esteem can definitely impact things like relationships, happiness, personality, and maybe even career advancement. Dr. Kim can help you in his Honolulu office by transforming an unattractive smile into a beautiful one, sometimes changing their lives for the better with the boost in self confidence. Cosmetic dentistry can be as simple as matching the color of a single filling and tooth to a full mouth reconstruction with porcelain veneers and crowns along with dental implants.
Here is a video on some of the basics of cosmetic dentistry:
Restoration Types and Techniques in Cosmetic Dentistry
- Ceramic veneers are a more conservative way to completely change the appearance of a tooth. The front and sometimes sides of the tooth need to be prepared for a veneer. The inner portion of the tooth (facing the tongue or palate) is left untouched which is why they’re considered a more conservative restoration. There are several types of ceramics with varying cosmetic and strength properties.
- Ceramic crowns require more tooth removal since the entire tooth is covered with porcelain but this is the best way of protecting teeth that have lots of damage or have very large fillings in place already.
- Composite resins are known as “white fillings”. Cosmetic bonding is the process of adding resin to teeth. The resins come in many shades and are the most conservative approach. They work best when used in fillings that are not too large.
- Ceramic inlays and onlays are alternatives to resin fillings on back teeth. Ceramics can be made stronger than resins and are made to be precision fit. They’re also more biocomptible in most cases versus composite resins.
- Porcelain fused to metal (gold) crowns give the additional strength of a metal internal section which covers the tooth but is then covered with porcelain. Depending on the thickness of porcelain, these crowns can be made very lifelike too.
- Dental Implants can be used to replace missing teeth. Obviously replacing missing teeth is a very important part of creating a beautiful smile so implants are going to be strongest and best way to replace a tooth if there is enough bone present. Most are made out of titanium but there are few other choices appearing such as tantalum and zirconia.
- Dental fixed bridges (aka bridges) can be made out of ceramics but usually incorporate metal structures under the porcelain due to the extra strength necessary to replace a missing tooth. They can look very beautiful and can be done very quickly but they do require preparation of the surrounding teeth. That’s one of the main disadvantages of a fixed bridge.
- Dentures actually can be used to improve people’s smiles. Although it’s not normally the favorite choice of patients or dentists but dentures can change a horribly diseased and ugly mouth into a beautiful smile free of dental disease. Of course there are many other disadvantages to dentures but it’s definitely a decent choice in certain circumstances.
- Hybrid (type of implant denture) appliances are made of the same types of materials as regular dentures but reinforced with metal underneath in order to permanently attach to dental implants. All on 4 or implant bridges can be made out of zirconia or traditional crown and bridge materials. There are permanently cemented or screwed into implants. Thses are a way to replace all missing teeth without resorting to a removable denture.
- Gum tissue contouring (gingivectomy and crown lengthening) can help level the smile by making the gumline even and symmetrical. It’s accomplished in our office with lasers which help reduce postoperative pain and discomfort.
- Gum grafting can help add gum tissue to areas of teeth with moderate or severe gum recession. The tissue graft comes from another part of mouth or purified donor tissue.
- Teeth whitening can help most teeth that have stained over the years from coffee, tea, smoking and just plain aging. Whitening can be done in the office or at home with bleaching trays.
- Invisalign can help straighten crooked teeth which can definitely improve the smile. It can also be used to improve the functionality of the bite for better long term health of the teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry can be as simple as changing the appearance of a single tooth or as complex as a full smile makeover. And if fear of the dentist is keeping you from coming in, we will not judge anybody on the appearance of their teeth. Our job is to fix and improve smiles! We also have sleep dentistry for those who are interested in it. If you are interested then contact Dr. Tony Kim at his Honolulu office. Don’t forget to look at our Smile Makeover – What to Expect section.