Cosmetic dentistry costs
The costs of cosmetic dentistry can vary widely depending on the technique used and the extent of work done. These procedures may or may not be covered by dental insurance.
Am I a candidate for cosmetic dentistry?
There are many reasons to undergo cosmetic dentistry procedures. If your teeth have gaps or are cooked, badly stained, or worn through excessive grinding, cosmetic dentistry can give you a bright smile and more uniform-looking teeth. Most adults who are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth are eligible for cosmetic dentistry.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry encompasses a variety of techniques to improve the appearance of the teeth. Popular treatment options include:
- Teeth whitening is the process of removing discoloring stains from the teeth to make them appear whiter and brighter.
- Laser teeth whitening is similar to conventional teeth whitening, except that it uses laser energy to remove stains from the teeth.
- Veneers are used to transform crooked or badly worn teeth into a straight, white smile.
- Gum contouring or gum reshaping is used when the gums cover too much of the teeth, leaving the teeth looking too short.
Cosmetic dentistry steps
During the conventional teeth whitening process, a peroxide-based compound is applied to the teeth. Dentists are able to offer much higher concentrations than the solutions available in home kits. During the teeth whitening procedure, the bleaching gel is applied to the teeth and activated with a special light. This gel gently breaks up stains in a procedure lasting about an hour. Following teeth whitening, the gel is rinsed away and your smile will be six to ten shades whiter.
During laser teeth whitening, everyone in the room must wear protective glasses because of the laser lights being used. Once the teeth have been isolated using dental dams and other devices, a gel is spread on the teeth. This gel absorbs the laser light energy, which penetrates the teeth enamel to increase the whitening effect of this procedure. The results with both conventional and laser teeth whitening procedures vary from patient to patient.
Veneers are very thin shells of tooth-colored material, which may be made of porcelain, ceramic, or composite materials. This veneer is cemented to the front surfaces of the teeth to improve their appearance. Before the veneers are placed on the teeth, the dentist will prepare your teeth for them. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area before the dentist begins working on your teeth. This procedure involves shaving off a small amount of the front surface of your teeth, equivalent to the thickness of the veneers. Then, an impression or mold of your teeth is taken so that the veneers will fit perfectly over your teeth. This mold is sent to a dental lab which will fabricate the veneers, a process that can take several weeks.
At your second appointment for dental veneers, the veneers will be fitted to your teeth and attached using dental cement. A special light cures the cement, permanently bonding the veneer to the front of your teeth. Most veneers last about five years, depending on their material and the patient's dental hygiene.
Gum contouring may be done with a variety of techniques, including a scalpel or laser devices. The procedure involves the trimming away of excess gum tissue. Before this procedure is started, a local anesthetic will be used. In addition to cutting away excess gum tissue, the remaining gums will be reshaped to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Cosmetic Dentistry Recovery and Healing Steps
The healing process for each of these procedures usually takes just a few days. During this time, following proper dental hygiene guidelines is essential. Following teeth whitening, it is advisable to avoid both hot and cold foods or drinks for 48 hours.
Cosmetic Dentistry Side Effects and Procedure Risks
The risks and side effects of cosmetic procedure vary from procedure to procedure. Common risks include swelling, bleeding, and discomfort lasting less than a week. Rarely, an infection may occur. Some procedures, particularly teeth whitening, may result in temporary or permanently increased sensitivity.