Your smile is one of your most important features. Cosmetic Dentistry is continually evolving, and with a variety of advanced treatment options, achieving a beautiful, healthy, aesthetic smile is made easy for patients of all ages.
If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Do you hesitate when you smile?
- Would you like to increase your self-confidence?
- Do you want to look your best in social or professional situations?
- Are you ready to reverse any dental imperfections you may have?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, cosmetic dentistry may be the answer you’ve been looking for!
Cosmetic Dentistry can bring into play one or several areas of dentistry based on your desire and need. Dr. Rugeley looks at color, alignment, spacing as well as regularity of the teeth that make up the overall appearance. Any of these can be reshaped or repaired to give a stunning look to the mouth.
Cosmetic Dentistry can include one or all of the following options:
- Recontouring the shape of the teeth
- Composite bonding
- Porcelain veneers
- Porcelain crowns/all ceramic
- Smile design
If your teeth are discolored, tooth whitening may help. Tooth whitening is any process that can make teeth look whiter. With so many products on the market it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to Dr. Rugeley about the differences between the different products.
The natural color of your teeth is inherited, just like red hair and blue eyes. As we age everyone’s teeth darken or become more yellow in color. Professional bleaching lightens the actual color of your teeth.
There are three main types of tooth whitening products:
- Whitening toothpastes – These are designed only to remove the stains on the outside of your teeth caused by foods like coffee, tea, red wine and berries.
- Home-use whiteners – This process uses passive trays with a peroxide whitening gel, and has proven over time to be the most reliable and comfortable method of whitening teeth. Length of treatment varies but more commonly takes 1-2 weeks.
- In-office whitening – This technique is performed in a dental office and generally takes about 90 minutes. The process involves applying special protection to your gums followed by applications of a higher professional strength of the peroxide whitening gel.
It is important to be aware that the color of fillings, crowns, and some stains cannot be changed by tooth whitening. This will be reviewed by Dr. Rugeley during your consultation.
Video: How Teeth Whitening Works
Frequently Asked Questions About Whitening
How long does bleaching last?
Professional bleaching changes the color of your teeth internally so over time they will slowly darken, as it is a process of aging. In order to maintain the white appearance it may be necessary to do “touch up” whitening for one or two sessions every 12-24 months using the passive trays supplied in the Home-use whitening system.
I’ve tried whitening before and it caused sensitivity. How do I avoid this?
The chemical that bleaches your teeth can increase tooth sensitivity for some patients. Brushing with a sensitivity toothpaste for 2-3 weeks prior to beginning the whitening process will often reduce and in some cases eliminate the sensitivity. For patients with very sensitive teeth we offer a special gel that can be worn in the same trays used for bleaching that will prevent or treat this side effect. In the majority of cases the increase in sensitivity is temporary and can be easily managed.
Does whitening harm your teeth?
If used in excess over very long periods of time the bleach can cause some minor changes to the tooth’s surface enamel The active ingredient in professional dental bleaching products was invented to treat dental infections. Currently it is used to prevent cavities and to treat some forms of gum disease. We will help you choose the appropriate frequency of bleaching to achieve your esthetic goals and prevent any over-use of the bleaching chemicals.
Recontouring the Shape of the Teeth
Dr. Rugeley can “reshape” your teeth by contouring tooth enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. When teeth are a little crowded or uneven, or when teeth appear too long, he can use enamel shaping to improve how the teeth look.
Cosmetic dental bonding is an easy and conservative way to repair damage or make aesthetic changes to your front teeth. These changes might be the repair of discoloration, correction of tooth position or closing spaces between your teeth. Dental bonding utilizes a tooth-colored, plastic material called “composite” that is layered onto the tooth. Composite is a very versatile material that is also routinely for small or large fillings.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip then we advise you to call the office. The bonding can generally be easily patched or repaired in one visit.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from porcelain and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. They are designed to improve the appearance of teeth and treat mild to moderate damage such as chipped teeth, tooth fractures and cavities. White spots and stripes, dark discolorations and pitting often can be corrected with the use of a porcelain veneer.
Multiple appointments are usually required for porcelain veneers. The first appointment or two will be spent completing an examination of your teeth, gums, joints and muscles. Together we will review photographs of your teeth and plan the aesthetic changes precisely. This is followed by creating a template of how your teeth will look after the veneers are in place. Then we begin the process of altering your natural teeth to make room for the porcelain. A set of veneers will be fabricated from an interim plastic material that allows us to preview the aesthetic changes prior to the final porcelain veneers being fabricated. A talented and artistic dental “ceramist” at a carefully selected dental laboratory will fabricate the veneers. On your final visit they are bonded to your natural teeth.
Porcelain Crowns / All Ceramic
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve your tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used for teeth that are broken, worn, or have portions destroyed by tooth decay. However, all ceramic crowns can be applied to teeth to enhance or change the appearance of the smile. Depending on the need and requirements this restorative technique can be used as a single restoration, multiple restorations, or in combination with veneers or implants. Dr. Rugeley will discuss with you the options available and recommend the best and most predictable solution for your specific need.
For most people, achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is the reason for receiving orthodontic care. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, correcting your concerns with braces will greatly improve the way you look and feel. Although Dr. Rugeley doesn’t offer orthodontic services in his office he works closely with the specialist and coordinates your care specifically based on your needs. Dr. Rugeley believes in maintaining the health of your teeth. So if it is possible to position your teeth with orthodontic care to achieve the desired aesthetic results then this may either reduce or eliminate the need for restorative or cosmetic dentistry. If you have questions about how orthodontics can play a role in Cosmetic Dentistry Dr. Rugeley would enjoy discussing this with you.
Every smile is unique and needs to be designed to naturally fit an individual patient’s facial structure. Digital Smile Design (DSD) provides a unique diagnostic process using the latest in computer technology to design and customize a comprehensive cosmetic dentistry virtual makeover. By simply taking diagnostic impressions, digital photos, and digital radiographs Dr. Rugeley is able to then design a smile restoration through DSD.
DSD allows us to create a detailed oral facial diagnosis through focusing on your unique dental, oral, and facial concerns. This ensures a more accurate diagnosis and clearly explains the step-by-step treatment plan, timescales, and costs at the start of the process, thanks to digitalization.
The virtual treatment solution clearly shows how and why the treatment options help to achieve the desired smile by giving you a clear vision of the proposal through mock-ups, photo-shoots, and video that can then be previewed prior to any treatment.