Improving Your Smile

A smile can be the most eye-catching feature of a face. With dentistry's many advances, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped or misshapen teeth. You now have choices that can help you smile with confidence. Talk with your dentist about the options for improving your smile.

Veneers

Veneers are thin custom-made shells that are designed to cover the front side of teeth. Made of tooth-colored materials, veneers are used to treat spaces between teeth and teeth that are permanently stained, poorly shaped, chipped or slightly crooked.

Veneers are made from composite resins, acrylic material, or porcelain. Placing veneers is often an irreversible process because a small amount of enamel is usually removed to accommodate the thickness of the shell. Anesthetic may be required depending upon the way the tooth is being prepared. The procedure requires just a few appointments.

Like any restoration, it is possible, over time, for the veneer to come off or for decay to develop. In that case, a new veneer may be required.

Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening - also called bleaching - is a procedure that brightens teeth that are discolored, stained, or have been darkened because of injury.

With home-use bleaching, your dentist fabricates a custom-fitted tray that holds a bleaching gel and prevents injury to the gums. The tray is worn daily or at night for about two weeks. The amount of time the tray is worn and the treatment duration may vary according to your needs and your dentist's recommendations. Although the effects of bleaching may last for several years. teeth can become stained again by beverages and foods such as coffee, tea, and berries. Consequently, periodic touch-up treatments may be needed.

Bonding

Bonding is a cosmetic procedure that can improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, broken, cracked, stained, or have spaces between them. With bonding, tooth-colored materials are attached, or bonded, to a tooth surface. The process can improve unsightly stains from coffee, tea, tobacco or certain childhood medications; front-tooth spaces; and accident-induced cracks or chips. Bonding is also used to protect exposed tooth roots that result from gum recession and to fill small cavities.

The bonding process involves preparing the tooth surface with an etching solution that allows the bonding material (composite resins) to adhere. Various color resins are carefully blended to match the existing tooth and look natural. The resin is applied, contoured into the proper shape and hardened using a special light or chemical process. It is then smoothed and polished to appear natural. Bonding may not require the use of local anesthesia or drilling and can usually be completed in one visit.

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