In any given year, around 63 percent of adults get in to see a dentist. For some, it’s a routine checkup, while others only see their dentist for emergencies.
Of course, that isn’t the only reason why people visit a dentist. A third option is seeing a dentist for purely aesthetic reasons. For example, someone may want to improve their smile appearance.
This area of dental practice is cosmetic dentistry and has grown more popular in recent years. If you’re not entirely happy with the look of your teeth or smile, keep reading to learn what a cosmetic dentist in Lexington can do for you.
One of the more common cosmetic dental procedures that people avail themselves of is getting veneers. In essence, veneers are a hard covering that a dentist attaches to the front of your teeth. They’re a bit like a shell for your tooth that’s made of porcelain.
Veneers are often used to cover up cosmetic flaws in your existing teeth, such as:
- Chipped teeth
- Stained teeth
- Misshapen teeth
There are some limitations to veneers. The main obstacle is that you need healthy teeth and gums prior to the procedure. If you have gum disease or cavities, your dentist will insist that you address those problems first.
While veneers are primarily cosmetic, they can have real mental health benefits. Dental problems can make people very self-conscious. Veneers can help improve or restore someone’s self-confidence.
Crowns are both a functional and cosmetic procedure. For example, they can improve your smile appearance. Yet, their main function is to cover and protect a tooth that has suffered from decay or damage.
The easiest way to think of crowns is for you to imagine them as a very sturdy hat that goes over your damaged tooth. The crown adds strength to your tooth. Ideally, it also prevents any additional damage to the remaining tooth beneath it.
The crowns are custom-made to fit over your tooth. The dentist cements the crown into place.
The exact working life of a crown varies from person to person. While they can last for as much as 15 years or as little as 5, crowns will average around 10 years before you need a replacement crown.
Unfortunately, adults will sometimes lose an entire tooth to injury or decay. For example, if you fall and strike your mouth, you might break a tooth beyond repair. In cases like that, you’ll probably need dental implants to restore smile function.
The exact procedures and materials will depend on your dentist and their experience. In general, though, the procedure goes along lines similar to what follows.
The dentist will insert a post into your jawbone. The post is typically made of titanium because it offers good biocompatibility. In other words, it doesn’t interfere with bone healing after insertion.
While your jaw heals around the post, the dentist will have what amounts to an artificial tooth made that will fit into the gap between your teeth. After healing is complete, the dentist fits the artificial tooth onto the post.
Another very common procedure in cosmetic dentistry is teeth whitening. In a society where most people drink coffee and tea has its fans, stained teeth are exceedingly common. These drinks, along with several other common and popular drinks, can eventually cause the yellowing of your teeth.
The whitening process isn’t particularly tedious. In most cases, the dentist will apply a hydrogen peroxide-based gel on your teeth. The hydrogen peroxide helps remove the stain and functions as a kind of bleach for your teeth.
Much like veneers, teeth whitening can make people feel more confident about their smiles. That, in turn, can help them project a more confident and approachable attitude.
Many people reach adulthood with minimal interaction with a dentist. Granted, teeth straightening procedures are certainly more common among kids. Yet, adults with crooked or misaligned teeth often want the same kind of perfectly straight teeth you see in magazines and on TV.
Of course, the procedures that straighten teeth can also vary. With kids, you often see metal braces. For adults, braces can prove a distraction or even work against them in professional environments.
For people in that situation, they’ll often go in for a less obvious treatment option like Invisalign. While your dentist will explain the full treatment plan to you, here is a basic overview of how Invisalign works.
Your dentist will take typically take X-rays and molds of your teeth and gums. Then, a computer will generate plans for a set of molds that you’ll use over time.
The molds are typically a clear material that applies pressure to your teeth to move them into a new alignment.
Fillings are another procedure that bridges the gap between function and cosmetic dentistry. Many traditional filling materials are metallic and, when you laugh or yawn, become very obvious.
With tooth-colored fillings, your teeth retain their natural appearance. In general, dentists accomplish this by using a resin material and coloring it to match.
The only pitfall with tooth-colored fillings is that they can become more obvious if you have a tooth-whitening procedure down the road. The tooth whitening won’t change the color of the filling because the filling isn’t stained. That can leave part of your tooth looking discolored, even though it’s just the color of the filling.
Visiting a Cosmetic Dentist in Lexington
The good news is that your local cosmetic dentist in Lexington can likely provide most or all of the above procedures. If you lose a tooth in a car accident, you can get a dental implant in your hometown.
If you need something less dramatic, such as teeth whitening or veneers, they can handle that as well. Just remember, almost all cosmetic dental procedures hinge on you having healthy teeth and gums.
Slone Dental offers cosmetic dental procedures in the Lexington, Kentucky area. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Slone Dental today.