Cosmetic Dentistry – Part 3

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

In Part 3 of our Cosmetic Dentistry topic discussion, we will discuss some of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures:

Teeth Whitening

One of the most common cosmetic dental treatments is teeth whitening. Teeth whitening lightens teeth and helps remove stains and discoloration caused by diet, medications, personal habits, and other factors. Most dentists perform teeth whitening services if they are specialized or not. Teeth whitening is a process that will need to be repeated periodically to maintain the effect of whitening.

Surface or Below the Enamel?

There are two primary types of dental teeth whitening, surface and below the enamel. Brushing, flossing, and over-the-counter teeth whitening strips are designed for the tooth surface. Kits like the Zoom Teeth Whitening Kit from Philips utilize a combination of whitening agent and special light designed to speed up the whitening process to whiten teeth from within and under the enamel.

There are two primary methods used for cosmetic teeth whitening:

In-Office

*In-Office teeth whitening – the most effective tooth whitening service that utilizes a special whitening paste or gel. The whitening agent is stronger than what is available for home treatment and administered under the care of a dentist. Once applied, the whitening agent on the teeth is exposed to special light which facilitates a faster whitening process. One of the most common systems used by dentists for teeth whitening is known as Zoom Teeth Whitening, which utilizes the combination of a strong whitening gel along with a specially lighted mouthpiece that exposes the gel to light waves that speed up the whitening process. After the in-office teeth whitening procedure, patients will typically receive a home tooth whitening kit to help maintain the brightness achieved with the initial in-office service.

Home Care

*Home Care teeth whitening – There are two main types of home tooth whitening kits available; Over-the-counter and Professional Tooth Whitening Kits. The professional kits contain a stronger whitening mix than the over-the-counter variety but require a dental office visit. A custom mouthpiece will be molded and created for holding the whitening agent in place during at home treatment. Over-the-counter products like Crest White Strips are less expensive, but the results are not typically as good as they only remove some surface discoloration. For teeth that have a deeper stain, a bleaching agent that can penetrate below the enamel is used.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are metal posts or a dental frame implanted into the jawbone and used for anchoring artificial teeth. Unlike standard dentures, which utilize a dental adhesive to temporarily bond dentures in place, implants act as a more permanent solution for people who have lost teeth.

Because dental implants are surgically implanted into the jawbone, patients will be screened for periodontal disease and other factors that may impact how well a dental implant will heal before the procedure. Any issues with the gums or oral health of a patient will need to be addressed before having a dental implant installed.

There are two types of dental implants considered safe by the American Dental Association (ADA):

  • Endosteal Implants – Surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. After the initial hardware has been embedded and the location healed, a post is mounted to the implant, and an artificial tooth is attached to the new dental post.
  • Subperiosteal Implants – A metal frame fitted onto the jawbone just under the gum tissue. As the gum tissue heals, the frame structure becomes permanently fixed to the jawbone.

In the next segment, we will continue discussing common cosmetic dentistry procedures.