Teeth stains are inevitable due to our consumption of a variety of foods and drinks (soda, spicy food, coffee, etc.). However, advanced teeth whitening technology has enabled dentists to whiten teeth without adversely affecting the tooth structure.
Almost all whitening methods are similar in concept, but some are much more effective because of the way the whitening material is delivered to the teeth. Another contributing factor is the concentration of the material, which is why less potent over-the-counter whitening systems usually don’t give patients the results they are hoping for.
The two main methods of professional whitening are tray whitening and in-office whitening. In tray whitening, an impression is taken and a custom tray is made for the patient. Then, a supply of whitening gel is given to the patient and he/she wears the tray for a few hours each day (techniques differ) for a period of time until an acceptable result is achieved. Sensitivity of the teeth is a normal side-effect of this whitening method and is almost always transitional.
On the other hand, in-office whitening is the most efficient means of whitening. There are a number of different types used, but the process is very similar for these methods; you can have your teeth whitened in one session and achieve significant results. Your dentist can give you more detailed information and help you decide which method is more suitable for you and your teeth
Cosmetic Dentistry: Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening can be one of the simplest and least expensive ways to improve your smile. Teeth can be bleached with in-office products in your dentist’s office, or you can buy a mold and gels from your dentist to bleach your teeth at home.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Dental Veneers
Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored porcelain or resin that cover the front surface of the teeth. After removing about a half-millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, these thin shells are bonded (cemented) to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Dental Bonding
In dental bonding, a tooth-colored putty-like resin, which is a durable plastic material, is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist then trims, shapes, and polishes it. Bonding can repair decayed, chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth; it is also a good cosmetic alternative to, or replacement for, amalgam or silver fillings.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Dental Crown
A dental crown, also called a cap, fits over and replaces the entire decayed or damaged tooth above the gum line, restoring its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns keep a weak tooth from breaking or hold a cracked tooth together; they can be used cosmetically to cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth.
Inlays and onlays, also called indirect fillings, are made from gold, porcelain, or composite materials and fill decayed or damaged teeth.
Dental fillings are molded into place during an office visit; however, inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory and bonded into place by your dentist. The filling is called an “inlay” when the material is bonded within the center of a tooth; it is called an “onlay” when the filling includes one or more points of the tooth or covers the biting surface. Inlays and onlays preserve as much healthy tooth as possible and are an alternative to crowns.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Dental Implants
Dental implants are titanium replacement tooth roots inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw and providing a foundation for a replacement tooth.