What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
This is an informal branch of dentistry that involves all the dental work done to improve the appearance of the teeth, gums and bite of the patients. It focuses in improving the dental aesthetics like colour, position, shape, size, alignment and the overall appearance of the teeth. The dentists who practice this branch of dentistry are called Cosmetic Dentists.
The dentistry specializations that comprise the cosmetic dentistry industry are:
- Prosthodontics:This specialty focuses on the dental prosthetics. It is also called prosthetic dentistry. It deals diagnosing, treatment plan, rehabilitation and maintenance of the function of the oral cavity. This specialty usually deals with patients with missing or deficient teeth or oral and maxillofacial tissues.
- Orthodontics:This specialty deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of the teeth and jaws of patients that are not aligned properly.
- Endodontics:The diagnosing and treating of diseases that affect the dental pulp is taken care of by this dental specialty. A common endodontic treatment is the root canal therapy.
This specialty deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the supporting structures of the teeth, which includes the gums, alveolar bone, cementum and periodontal ligament.
Cosmetic Dentistry Options
The common treatment options available under cosmetic dentistry are:
- Type I: Dental Material addition to teeth or gums
- Type II: Tooth or Gum removal
- Type III: Processes without removal or addition of dental material, teeth or gums
- Type IV: Dental Aesthetics
These types are explained below:
Type I: Dental Material addition to teeth or gums
Some of the dental procedures that are part of this type of cosmetic dentistry include:
- Dental Bonding:
In this dental procedure, the dentist applies customized tooth-colored resin to the tooth using adhesives, which is then hardened or cured using blue light. It gets its name because materials are bonded on to the tooth.
- Porcelain Veneers
These are semi-translucent dental implant that can be made similar to the existing natural teeth. These provide strength and resilience similar to the natural tooth enamel.
- Dental Crowns
This procedure is a dental restoration process where a dental crown is capped or encircled around a tooth or a dental implant. This is usually applied in cases where there is a large cavity in the teeth.
- Gum Grafts
This is a periodontal procedure where a gum tissue is grafted to cover the exposed root surfaces or to strengthen the band of keratinized tissue.
Type II: Tooth Structure or Gum removal
Some of the procedures that are part of this type are:
This dental procedure is involved in the removal of tiny portions of the tooth enamel to alter the tooth’s length, shape or surface.
This dental procedure involves the removal of part of the gums in the mouth, usually due to a disease or for a favourable healing or for a restoration of a physiologic gingival contour.
Type III: Processes without removal or addition of dental material, teeth or gums
Some of the dental procedures under this type are:
- Teeth Whitening
This procedure is used to provide external bleaching to the teeth. Safe and widely used whitening agents are used to bleach the teeth by direct contact.
- Laser Whitening
This procedure is performed using laser to bleach the teeth. The dentist will paint the teeth with a bleaching agent, which is then activated by using laser.
- Gum Depigmentation
This dental procedure is performed to lighten and remove the dark spots and patches that are seen on the gums, which was caused due to melanin.
Type IV: Dental Aesthetics
This type of cosmetic dentistry involves some of the following orthodontic procedures that provide an improvement in the face and a better smile.
Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore