What Is Considered “Cosmetic Dentistry”?

Around 60% of Americans don’t like the look of their smile. If you have crooked or discolored teeth, you might feel self-conscious every time you meet someone new, and this can seriously affect your life. Your smile influences your confidence, social interactions, and self-esteem. At Smith Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Jacksonville and Surf City, North Carolina, we offer various treatments to help you achieve a happy, healthy smile.

What Is Considered “Cosmetic Dentistry”?

Cosmetic or esthetic dentistry enhances the aesthetic aspects of a person’s smile and overall oral appearance. It goes beyond addressing functional issues and prioritizes treatments that improve the color, shape, alignment, and overall visual appeal of teeth. Common esthetic dentistry treatments include teeth whitening, a process to brighten and remove stains from teeth, and dental veneers that cover imperfections.

Dental bonding for repairing chips or cracks, and orthodontic treatments like braces or aligners are also common. Dental implants provide a permanent solution for missing teeth, while gum contouring reshapes the gum line for a more balanced smile. The goal of esthetic dentistry is to boost confidence and contribute to a positive self-image.

Teeth Whitening

Natural teeth can become discolored over time due to age, poor oral health, and the consumption of staining substances like coffee, tea, and tobacco. The outer layer of teeth, the enamel, can accumulate stains and discolorations, leading to a less vibrant smile. During teeth whitening, we use bleaching agents, usually containing hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to break down and remove these stains.

We apply the whitening gel directly to the teeth or use custom-fitted trays that hold the gel against the teeth. Light-activated systems may enhance the bleaching process. The effects of the treatment often last for several months, especially if you maintain good oral care habits and avoid staining substances.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin shells, usually made of composite resin or porcelain, custom-designed to cover the front surface of teeth. They are used to address cosmetic concerns like discoloration, uneven spacing, and chipped or misshapen teeth. Getting dental veneers involves a consultation, tooth preparation, and placement. During the initial visit, we assess the state of your teeth and take impressions.

Then, we remove a small amount of enamel from the teeth to accommodate the veneers. The impressions guide the fabrication of custom veneers, which are then bonded to the prepared teeth during a subsequent appointment. Dental veneers are durable and can last for many years if you take good care of them. However, habits such as teeth grinding, biting on hard objects, and using teeth as tools should be avoided, as they can damage veneers.

Dental Bonding

Like veneers, dental bonding is designed to improve the appearance of your teeth. This treatment uses a tooth-colored resin material to repair chipped or cracked teeth, fill gaps, or enhance tooth shape. The process begins with your dentist preparing the tooth surface and applying a bonding agent to ensure the resin adheres properly. The malleable resin is then sculpted, shaped, and hardened using a special light.

Once the bonding material is set, we further refine and polish it to blend with your natural teeth. Dental bonding is a relatively quick and cost-effective option for enhancing smiles, but it is not as long-lasting as veneers or crowns. While bonding can last several years with proper care, it may be more prone to staining and chipping compared to more resilient materials. 

Orthodontic Treatments

If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, you might need an orthodontic treatment. Aside from affecting your appearance, misalignment can lead to issues like difficulty in cleaning teeth, increased risk of cavities, and even jaw pain. Orthodontic treatments use devices like braces or clear aligners to improve bite function, address crowded or crooked teeth, and improve the appearance of the teeth. 
On average, treatments take anywhere from several months to a few years. Regular adjustments are made to the braces or aligners to gradually shift teeth into their desired positions. If you have braces, you have to brush and floss your teeth with special devices and avoid certain foods to prevent cavities and other issues. Aligners are easier to take care of, and they don’t limit your food choices. 

What Is Invisalign? 

Invisalign is a popular treatment that utilizes custom-made, clear aligners to straighten teeth. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign offers a discreet and removable solution for patients who want a less obtrusive way to correct a misalignment. The aligners are made of a smooth, BPA-free plastic, making them virtually invisible when worn. Patients receive a series of aligners that progressively shift the teeth into the desired position.

The major advantage of Invisalign lies in its removable nature. Maintaining and cleaning the aligners is easy, and most people won’t even know you’re wearing them. Additionally, Invisalign aligners typically cause less discomfort than traditional braces and are known for producing results in a comparable timeframe. 

Dental Implants

Dental implants replace missing teeth and restore oral function and aesthetics. They are necessary when natural teeth are lost due to decay or trauma. Unlike traditional solutions like dentures, implants provide a permanent and stable foundation for artificial teeth. The implant, usually made of titanium, is surgically placed into the jawbone, where it fuses with the bone over time.
The process involves an initial consultation, implant placement surgery, and a healing period during which the implant integrates with the jawbone. Once fully fused, a custom-made crown is attached, completing the restoration. Implants are known for their longevity, as they can last for several decades when properly taken care of. 

Gum Contouring

Also known as gingival sculpting, gum contouring reshapes the gum line to enhance the appearance of your smile. You might opt for this treatment if your gums are uneven, cover too much of the teeth, or if there are irregularities that affect the aesthetic balance of the smile. Excessive gum tissue can create a “gummy” smile, while receding gums may expose too much of the tooth surface.
We usually use a laser or traditional surgical techniques to trim or reshape the gum tissue. Although gum contouring can be performed independently, it is often combined with other cosmetic treatments for comprehensive smile makeovers. The results can last for several years to a lifetime with proper oral care and regular maintenance.

How to Access Cosmetic Treatments in Jacksonville and Surf City 

The initial step towards a healthy, happy smile is reaching out to our clinic. When booking an appointment, provide as much information as possible about your dental history, concerns, and any specific issues you’d like to address. This ensures that we are well-prepared to cater to your needs.

During your first appointment, we will listen to you and respond to your concerns. Then we will conduct thorough examinations and diagnostics to find out how we can help you. All our clinics provide a comfortable setting. We understand that the best care is enhanced by a relaxed environment, so we try to make sure you feel comfortable during your visit. 

No matter what esthetic issue you’re dealing with, there is a suitable solution. Send us a message at Smith Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Sneads Ferry, Goldsboro, Jacksonville, Surf City, Porters Neck, Hampstead, and Wilmington, North Carolina to schedule your first appointment with our team. We offer a wide range of treatments, both temporary and permanent. 

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