This discipline is a subset of the general practice. Typically, cosmetic dentistry applies to any work designed to improve how teeth, bite, or gums appear. The work typically does not focus on the function of the teeth, though the two aims often coincide.
The discipline comes in a few different varieties. Bonding, veneers, laminates, crowns, and grafts fall into a general category of applying material to the teeth or gums. The removal of material involves enameloplasty and gingivectomy. Gingivectomy is the removal of tissue from the gums. Enameloplasty is the removal of enamel from the teeth. There are pigmentation changes as well, such as whitening or depigmenting the gums. The teeth can also be straightened, which is called orthodontics.
Whitening is the most common procedure in cosmetic dentistry. This is also called tooth bleaching. Many over-the-counter products are available, but their effectiveness is debatable. They also vary depending on the chemicals and the strengths of the chemicals present. Whitening from dental professionals is the most widely recommended procedure. It is the safest, reliable, and effective.
Reshaping is often accomplished with an enameloplasty. Removing some of the enamel can reshape the tool to have a more attractive appearance. This usually happens when a tooth is chipped. Excessively long teeth and crooked teeth can also be corrected by removing some enamel. Enamel is irreplaceable, though, so this should not be taken lightly.
This is the opposite of enameloplasty. Bonding is the application of a composite material that resembles enamel. It is shaped and polished to resemble the natural teeth.
These are false teeth. They are also known as pontics. Dental bridges are the areas between two crowns to fill the empty spaces left by teeth that are missing. They are held in place by crowns on opposite sides of a replacement tooth. A fixed bridge such as this can replace multiple missing teeth. However, they cannot be removed. Alternately, cantilever bridges are used to fill the space where there are only teeth on one side of the missing tooth. These are most commonly used on the front teeth, which are under less stress. They can correct issues with bite, improve speech, and reduce gum disease risk. So, in this sense, they fall into the field of cosmetic dentistry but they still have medical benefits.
These are porcelain laminates bonded onto the teeth. They are very thin and custom-made for each tooth. They are especially useful if a tooth or multiple teeth are not easily whitened.
This is, as the name implies, the process of raising and shaping the gum line. The doctor might only need to alter the tissue. In some circumstances, he or she will need to reshape the bones as well.
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