Improving Your Smile

By: David M. Matson, DMD, FAGD

A bright and beautiful smile can give your confidence a boost. You have probably seen advertisements and signs on dental offices in your travels that tout ‘cosmetic dentist’. There is no real specialty in cosmetic dentistry, however. If you think about it – we dentists are really all cosmetic dentists as the term refers to any dental work that improves the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums or bite. In everything we do we try to improve the appearance of our patients.

Some of the common procedures that we perform to accomplish this would include bleaching, tooth colored fillings, porcelain crowns and veneers, orthodontics, contouring and reshaping and even tooth replacement. This last item – tooth replacement can take many forms, all with the idea of improving that smile as well as an added benefit of providing for a more efficient ‘bite’.

A simple yet very effective method of improving a patient’s appearance can sometimes include simply contouring or reshaping a tooth or teeth. Small chips and misaligned teeth can be treated to improve the appearance immediately. Although this will not change the color of a tooth or teeth it will dramatically change the appearance. We utilize this technique a lot in conjunction with Invisalign cases to idealize a final outcome.

Bonding is a procedure that has been around for a long time and it continues to evolve into a precise and predictable treatment. We are able to use composite materials that can be matched to the color of the patient’s teeth and are chemically bonded in place. The bonding strength has improved greatly over the years with the technological changes and if done in the right environment is very strong. We now use mostly tooth colored fillings for back teeth as it has some advantages over the old ‘silver’ fillings. The bonding of the procedure places less stress on the tooth and decreases the fracture potential over the older amalgam silver fillings. And – it looks much better!

When larger portions of the tooth are missing or compromised or we need to make dramatic changes to the shape or color we might recommend porcelain crowns or veneers. These again have improved in the ability to match tooth shades and shapes over the years. We can even make complete arch changes in what is termed a smile transition to provide a major temporary esthetic correction.

There are lots of things we can do to help you improve your smile. If you would like to talk to us we would be glad to provide you with a complimentary evaluation and offer suggestions. Materials, research and techniques have improved dramatically over the years and it is an exciting time for us.

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