4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
202 Inverness Center Dr # 202
Birmingham, AL, 35242-7635
Baldwin County Endodontics
921 Plantation Blvd
Fairhope, AL, 36532-2949
Mims, S Park D.D.S.
4101 Balmoral Dr Sw # B
Huntsville, AL, 35801-6409
Jebeles, Chris A D.D.S.
4647 Highway 280 # E
Birmingham, AL, 35242-5032
Maybe you've thought about cosmetic dentistry, but felt it was a little vain to consider it. Or the appearance of your teeth never bothered you much, because your dental health is pretty good.
Well, like it or not, "cosmetic" is more than skin deep. Most people form biases about others based on appearance. And, one of the critical factors in such judgments, is the teeth.
Teeth bleaching is a simple, inexpensive way to lighten stains and discoloration on certain teeth, front teeth are the more obvious candidates, without altering the natural structure of enamel. If you've had a root canal procedure, there may be some darkening. Some people suffer staining from medications, like tetracycline. And teeth naturally change as we age, or if we indulge in too much coffee, tea or smoking.
In any case, whiter teeth can be achieved with external or internal bleaching. The most common treatment involves cleaning the teeth thoroughly, applying a bleaching solution, and then curing it with a gentle heat source. The procedure takes just 30 to 45 minutes. After three to five sessions, you, and everyone else, will really notice the difference.
Cosmetic corrections for gaps, misshapen or chipped teeth are achieved with tooth bonding. New dental bonding materials can work wonders using a little art, and lots of science. Your cosmetic dentist can literally sculpt tooth form, or replace a gold crown with natural-colored restorations. The result is stronger than ever and makes a dramatic impact on your appearance.
Dental veneers are an option too, for teeth that need lengthening or reshaping. Veneers cover the front of a tooth entirely and work especially well where there is less stress on the teeth involved. Veneers are a durable, beautiful solution to dental imperfections.
Throughout history, dentists have tried to recreate the function and beauty of natural teeth when tooth structure has been lost. Restoring function used to be the main goal of a dentist because prior to the 1970's, dentistry lacked the proper technology to achieve fine esthetics as well as function. Dentists could only predictably offer patients a restoration that would simply "fill" the empty space. Today, dentistry has more advanced dental materials and newly developed techniques that allow dentists to offer artistically-recreated, natural-looking crowns and modern tooth bonding that would fool even the most critical eye.
Before you can understand how crowns and tooth bonding can mimic teeth you must understand why natural teeth appear as they do.
It is a common mistake for patients to think that their teeth are all one color. Your teeth are never just one color. They are a series of superimposed translucent layers of varying shades. Teeth also have different surface textures that reflect light in ways that affect the color of your teeth.
Your teeth are made up of three layers: pulp, dentin, and enamel. Each layer has a specific thickness, composition and structure. Additionally, the way light reflects off of or transluces through the layers gives you the color of your teeth. Using knowledge about the three layers of teeth allow dentists and dental technicians to recreate natural-looking dental crowns and tooth bonding.
Dental crown technicians are the true artisans in dentistry. Dentists begin the crown-making process by reducing the size of the tooth, making an impression of the reduced tooth, and selecting the proper shades of the tooth. This information is then transferred to the dental technician so a crown can be made.
Dental technicians blend science with artistic knowledge to recreate natural-looking teeth. Artistically, they use frame and reference, proportion and idealism, perspective and illusion as well as symmetry to mimic nature. Understanding the language of colors and using new dental materials and techniques has allowed the dentist to not only "fill" missing spaces but create cosmetic dentistry artwork from crowns and tooth bonding as well.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS