A smile can be the most eye-catching feature of a face. With dentistry’s many advances, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, or misshapen teeth. You now have choices that can help you smile with confidence.
Even the most subtle change in your smile can make a dramatic difference in the way you look and feel about yourself. Talk to your dentist about the options most suitable for you, what your expectations are and the dental fees involved. Some options are:
Bridges If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference in chewing and speaking. There are options to help restore your smile. Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as alleviating the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth. Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Crowns If you want a smile that’s your crowning glory, you may need a crown to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance. It can cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth left. It can be used to attach a bridge, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. A crown is a good way to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped. It’s also used to cover a dental implant. If your dentist recommends a crown, it’s probably to correct one of these conditions. Your dentist’s primary concern, like yours, is helping you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright — literally, your crowning glory.
Tooth whitening (bleaching) brightens teeth that are discolored or stained. Bleaching may be done completely in the dental office or the dentist may dispense a system for you to use at home.
Bonding can improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, broken, cracked, stained, or have spaces between them. With bonding, tooth-colored materials are applied, or bonded, to the tooth surface.
Enamel shaping involves modifying teeth to improve their appearance by removing or contouring enamel. The process, which often is combined with bonding, usually is quick and comfortable and the results can be seen immediately.
Veneers are thin custom-made shells designed to cover the front side of teeth. Made of tooth-colored materials, veneers are used to treat spaces between teeth and teeth that are chipped or worn, permanently stained, poorly shaped or slightly crooked.
Braces are not just for kids. Orthodontics may be needed if teeth are crooked, crowded or do not meet properly. If your dentist thinks you should see a specialist for treatment, he or she will refer you to an orthodontist.