Taking care of your dental health is very important, but sometimes you also want to improve the look of your teeth or smile. At Great Care Family Dentistry, we understand the need to address cosmetic issues with your teeth, and we provide multiple services to help you get the look you want. Here are some of the reasons patients see us for cosmetic concerns:
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Issues with spaces or gaps between the teeth, especially in the front
- Yellowing, discoloration, or staining of teeth
- Teeth that are misshapen or misaligned
What Services Does a Cosmetic Dentist Perform?
Depending on your concerns, we may perform one or more of the following services to address your needs:
This is one of the most common cosmetic procedures we do for patients. Many people have concerns that their teeth are stained, discolored, or simply aren’t white enough. In the modern world, there are many environmental factors that can contribute to darker or stained teeth – drinks like coffee, soda, or wine, cigarettes, some health problems and medications, difficulties with oral care, aging, genetics, and even some healthy foods are all possible causes.
Sometimes patients attempt to use at-home whitening kits first, but these efforts are usually unsuccessful. Over-the-counter whitening products utilize peroxide, a strong whitening agent, but due to safety concerns, consumer-market whiteners can only contain small amounts of peroxide. A higher concentration could cause burning if it gets on the gums – and if you’ve ever used an at-home whitening kit, you probably understand how easy it is for the whitening solution to end up somewhere it shouldn’t be! Whitening toothpaste has even lower concentrations of peroxide and doesn’t achieve enough lightening effect for many people, but even these can cause gum irritation for some individuals.
By contrast, a whitening treatment at your dental office is carried out in a professional environment where we can protect the gums using a dental dam. This allows us to isolate the teeth and use a stronger concentration of peroxide to achieve the whitening you need. In some cases, we may also make you a custom whitening tray to use at home to prevent further staining or discoloration. An in-office treatment is both safer because it protects the gums completely, and is more effective. Additionally, we’ll offer advice on keeping your teeth white, and we can advise you if more treatments are likely to be helpful.
In this procedure, we use tooth-colored composite resin, similar to what we would put in a filling, to cover cracks, discoloration, or other cosmetic issues. Bonding can even be used to change the shape of a tooth so that it more closely resembles other teeth. But unlike a filling, it doesn’t require drilling into the tooth, and it’s removable if the effect doesn’t look the way you want. The resin can be matched to your teeth but does not respond to whitening treatments, so if you also need whitening services, we may do these first.
One important thing to know about dental bonding is that it typically lasts around five to seven years. Then the bonding may start to deteriorate or chip off and will need to be replaced. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that your dentist will examine any cracks or chips in your teeth carefully before proceeding with bonding because sometimes a cracked tooth requires a crown to protect it from further damage.
Veneers are thin, durable shells made out of ceramic or porcelain, which are attached to your teeth with strong cement. They can be used to cover a variety of concerns, including chips, cracks, and stained areas that haven’t responded to whitening treatments.
Veneers do require removing at least some of the existing enamel, although different types may demand more or less enamel erasure. Depending on the level of change to the existing enamel, they may or may not be reversible. Generally, veneers will last about ten years before they need replacement.
Sometimes you may have one or more teeth that are shaped differently than the others or don’t seem to fit with the rest of your teeth. In some cases, we may be able to reshape a tooth by removing some of the enamel. However, there is only so much tooth enamel, and in certain situations, this may not be a good option. If so, we might recommend bonding or veneers instead.
Some patients feel that their gums cover too much of their teeth or look “gummy.” You may indeed have more gum tissue due to genetic or other factors, and if so, we can gently clear away some of the excess gum tissue and reshape the gum line, so it looks more natural and balanced. Gum contouring is also sometimes recommended as a treatment for gum disease if too much plaque is trapped in the gums.
Some patients have soreness, swelling, or pain after a gum contouring treatment, so we recommend taking the day off work. The pain usually responds to over-the-counter pain relievers and goes away within a day or two. In the meantime, eating soft foods and brushing gently can help you avoid aggravating the pain.
Can a Cosmetic Dentist in Gwinnett Help with Crooked or Misaligned Teeth?
We’ll look at your teeth and determine if they are crooked or if some of the teeth may appear that way due to being misshapen. If it’s the latter, we might be able to adjust the teeth with contouring. But when teeth are significantly crooked or misaligned, we will usually refer you to an orthodontist who can address the problem with braces. In more complex situations, such as a pronounced overbite, underbite, or crossbite, you might also benefit from consulting an oral surgeon.
What If You Also Need Restorative Dental Treatments?
We always begin a consultation about cosmetic dental work by examining the teeth and checking to see if any restorative treatments are necessary so that we can do all your treatments in the ideal order. In some cases, restorative work itself can also have cosmetic benefits. For example, if you have a significant crack that requires a crown, it will both cover up the crack and protect your tooth from further damage. Composite fillings come in a wide range of shades and are chosen to match the surrounding teeth, so we may do your whitening treatments first.
Will Your Dental Insurance Pay for Cosmetic Dentistry?
In most cases, it will not, unless you need a restorative treatment that also happens to make cosmetic improvements, like a crown or gum contouring. If you have questions or concerns about costs, our office staff are always available to answer them for you.
Contact a Top Cosmetic Dentist in Gwinnett County Today
If you want to know more about cosmetic dental procedures and options for improving your smile, please call our office today. Our friendly administrative staff will be happy to help you set up an appointment for a consultation, so we can go over your needs and goals. We’ll examine your teeth and recommend a complete treatment plan to achieve the look you want.