By W. Michael Princell, DDS
Today's dentistry has much to offer in creating a healthy beautiful smile and, in the process, a healthier and happier you. Technological advances in dental restorative materials and techniques have made it possible to aesthetically enhance a worn or imperfect smile.
The cornerstone of this aesthetic evolution has been dental bonding or adhesive dentistry. This enables the cosmetic restorative dentist to “resurface” teeth with “enamel-like” porcelain to create ideal function and aesthetics. The techniques to achieve these natural results are very conservative to tooth structure and require a minimum of tooth reshaping.
Smile imperfection, such as poor color, shape, size, and “crooked teeth” can be correctly easily and comfortably. Techniques may be as simple as “shaping a tooth” for a more pleasing contour, or “whitening” for a brighter smile. The ultimate results in cosmetic dentistry are made possible with porcelain veneers. These are fine porcelain “covers” that allow total control in reshaping, concealing stains, filling spaces, and aligning somewhat “crooked teeth”.
While aesthetic enhancement is usually the patient’s chief concern, it is also paramount to address function and periodontal “gum” health. Beautiful teeth are of little value if they are not healthy and do not function properly.
Ideal function is accomplished by contouring the teeth, so that anterior teeth protect the posterior teeth, and posterior teeth protect the anterior teeth. Ideal function also makes certain that the bite of the teeth is proper and does not result in jaw discomfort.
Periodontal health pertains to the health of the gums and supporting bone, which provides the foundation for the teeth. The periodontal tissues must be healthy and stable before proceeding with restorative dentistry, especially cosmetic adhesive dental procedures.
It is also important to recognize the orthodontic limitations of cosmetic dentistry. In situations of moderate to severe misalignment of the teeth, conventional orthodontics utilizing braces is recommended prior to the restorative-cosmetic phase.
Cosmetic dentistry results can be life-changing. This is evidenced by the confidence, self-esteem and joyful emotion patients exude. It is reassuring to know we can replace missing teeth with dental implants, grow supportive bone, or restore a disfigured smile. But to be able to accomplish results, which are indistinguishable from natural teeth, raises dentistry to an art form.
Dr. Michael Princell is a family care dentist who focuses on cosmetic dentistry. You may contact the office of Dr. Princell at 317-577-2478.