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Improve Your Smile Through Cosmetic Dentistry

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A smile is one of a person's most defining features. In fact, most people would say that a great smile is one of the first things they notice about someone else. A healthy smile helps create a good first impression. It can lead to positive perceptions about your personality, job performance, and many other aspects of your life.

If you're not happy with your teeth, you may be surprised at how much cosmetic dentistry can do to improve your appearance, self-esteem, and overall quality of life. It's a good idea to seek a professional opinion before undergoing any cosmetic dental procedure, so you know your options and the expected results.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is a branch of dental care that focuses on improving the appearance of teeth, mouth, and smile. While cosmetic dentistry procedures are generally elective rather than essential, some treatment cases also provide restorative benefits.

Cosmetic dentistry is used to improve the appearance of your smile by repairing or replacing teeth. You may benefit from cosmetic dentistry if you have:

  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Gaps between your teeth
  • Uneven teeth or bite
  • Crooked teeth

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Cosmetic Dentistry

If you're looking to enhance your smile, you'll want to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist. They can help examine your teeth and determine the best course of action for your individual needs. 

Here are some of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures available:

Teeth whitening
Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures. It involves bleaching your teeth to remove stains and make them whiter. Professional whitening is more effective than home whitening kits, so it's worth paying for a dentist to do the job right. Expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for professional whitening. Top-up products are also readily available, so you will never have to feel self-conscious about your smile again.

Cosmetic tooth bonding
Cosmetic tooth bonding can repair small chips and cracks in teeth, fill in gaps between teeth, or cover stained or discolored teeth. The procedure involves placing a tooth-colored resin on the tooth's surface and carefully shaping it to look like a natural tooth. The resin is then hardened with an ultraviolet light or laser and polished to blend in with the rest of the tooth. The composite material used in tooth bonding is similar in color to natural teeth, and it can be shaped to fit your mouth perfectly. This procedure is relatively inexpensive, painless, and can be completed in one visit.

Dental bridges
A bridge consists of one or more false teeth (called pontics) anchored to natural teeth (called abutments) on either side of a gap in your smile. The pontic is fused between two crowns which serve to hold it in place in your mouth. The three together form a single false tooth that fills in the space of a missing tooth. Your bridge will be custom-made to match your existing teeth so that it blends in seamlessly with your smile. Dental bridges can correct small gaps between teeth, but they may require reshaping the adjacent natural teeth for proper support.

Dental crowns
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that covers over a tooth to restore its damaged or misshapen tooth to its normal size, shape, and color. It can be used either for cosmetic purposes or to protect a weak tooth.

If you have a cracked, broken, or severely discolored tooth, then you may benefit from dental crowns. In order to make your crown, the dentist will first file down your tooth and then take an impression of it. That impression is sent to a lab where your custom-made crown will be created. A temporary crown is placed on your tooth until your custom crown is ready.

The placement of dental crowns is similar to getting a filling. The dentist will give you local anesthesia before filing down the damaged or misshapen tooth so that it can fit properly under the cap. After taking an impression of the tooth and filling it down, the dentist places a temporary crown over the tooth until the permanent crown arrives from the lab. At this time, another appointment will be made to remove the temporary cap and place the permanent one on top of your filed-down tooth.

Dental implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a permanent base for fixed, replacement teeth. Compared to dentures, bridges, and crowns, dental implants are a popular and effective long-term solution for people who suffer from missing teeth, failing teeth, or chronic dental problems. They are designed to blend in with your other teeth, and they are the most natural-looking.

Most dental implants are made of titanium, which allows them to integrate with bone without being recognized as a foreign object in our body. Over time, technology and science have progressed to greatly improve the outcomes of dental implant placement. Today, the success rate for dental implants is close to 98%.

Must know: Dental implant placement typically requires oral surgery and several months of healing.

Dental Veneers
Veneers are thin pieces of durable, tooth-shaped porcelain that are custom made (for shape and color) by a professional dental laboratory. They are bonded onto the front teeth to create a beautiful and attractive smile.

Porcelain veneers are usually recommended because they resist stains better than composite veneers, but both types can be very effective in improving your smile. Veneers are used to cover up imperfections on the front of your teeth.

Invisalign
Invisalign is a revolutionary new way to straighten your teeth without braces. It is virtually invisible, and you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are no problem. Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to straighten your teeth without metal wires or brackets. Invisalign is virtually undetectable, which means hardly anyone will know that you're straightening your teeth.

The convenience of the virtually invisible aligners makes it easier to continue doing all the things you normally do - from brushing and flossing to eating whatever you like. And because the aligners are removable, you can eat and drink what you want during treatment by simply removing the aligners for a short time. The Invisalign process will also allow you to view your own virtual treatment plan when you start so that you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete.

Takeaway

There are numerous different cosmetic dentistry procedures that a dentist can offer in order to help fix some of the dental problems an individual may have. If a person feels self-conscious about how they look when they smile, cosmetic dentistry can be used as an excellent solution. By going to a specialized dentist for cosmetic dentistry, you can often have positive experiences that will change your self-perception for the better.

About the Author Dr. Stuart A.Curry

Dr. Stuart A. Curry

Dr. Stuart A.Curry grew up in Vestavia Hills, AL. He graduated as the valedictorian of his high school class at VHHS in 1996. He received a Presidential Scholarship to the University of Alabama, and graduated with a B.S. with honors in 2000. His major was Environment Science with an emphasis in Pre-Dental. 

Dr. Curry was then accepted to The University of Alabama School of Dentistry at Birmingham. After this four year school was completed, he graduated in 2004. After Dental School, Dr. Curry served 3 years active duty in the United States Air Force at MacDill AFB in Tampa, FL. During these 3 years Captain Curry was a General Dentist for over 9,000 airmen and officers, and 4,000 dependents on this base. During his time at MacDill AFB, he was able to hone his skills as a general and cosmetic dentist. 

After his active duty service was over, Dr. Curry moved back home to start “Stuart Curry Dentistry” in 2007. He opened the doors to his practice in October of 2007. By starting this practice, Dr. Curry was able to start the type of dental practice he always envisioned. With friendly, caring staff and a safe, clean environment, Dr. Curry is a dental home for thousands of patients in the Greater Birmingham area. 

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