The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
How to Correct an Ugly Smile
“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.” ~ Connor Franta
Those are wise words to live by, aren’t they, and, I’m sure you will agree that the world certainly needs more smiles.
Not everyone is ready to give the world their biggest and brightest smile, however. That is not always because they are sad, or lacking joy in their lives; it is because they have an imperfect smile. Now, while a smile that is lackluster due to crooked or imperfect teeth, or a misaligned jaw, may give someone cause to pause before they flash a smile your way, it is a malady that can be corrected! The place to begin the process is by scheduling a trip to a cosmetic dentist near you.
What can a cosmetic dentist do for me?
When one is not happy with their teeth, the answer is not to simply get dentures in order to feel confident about your smile. There is nothing wrong with getting dentures, but, today’s dentists and cosmetic dentists make it their motive to first repair and/or restore a person’s teeth, which is more important than just creating a picture-perfect smile. Whether the process of cosmetic dentistry is done to preserve or restore your teeth, or simply to create an aesthetically pleasing smile, a dentist near you who specializes in cosmetic dentistry is willing and able to help you achieve the desired effect, and, his or her years of schooling and expertise in this field is sure to give you the desired result.
A cosmetic dentist may be able to brighten your discolored teeth through whitening procedures, can correct uneven teeth, or fill up the gaps in your smile, making it much more aesthetically appealing. Those types of cosmetic procedures are fairly routine, and, it is the restorative procedures which preserve your existing teeth, which are more involved and require much more expertise. Not all cosmetic dental procedures are purely for aesthetic purposes, i.e. making that ugly smile vanish; many procedures are performed to preserve existing teeth that may have shifted due to missing or misaligned teeth throughout the years, or by an accident. It is always better to keep as many of your own teeth for as long as you can, and, a good cosmetic or restorative dentist can certainly accomplish this feat for you.
When you first consult with a cosmetic dentist near you, you might want to outline your hopes and expectations after the procedures are finished, but, it is a sure bet, that your dentist will analyze your dental health, study x-rays and be able to outline the procedures needed, and what you should expect from them, before you even open your mouth.
Create A Dazzling Smile
Teeth whitening and brightening. This concept has been around a few years now, and, you can either choose to buy a product at the store or have the procedure done at your dentist’s office.
Porcelain crowns. Whether your fillings from old cavities are now crumbling, or, you have teeth that have been damaged, natural-looking porcelain crowns will provide structure to your damaged tooth. Your dentist is able to match the crown to your natural tooth and no one will know the difference, no matter how wide you smile or during a good belly laugh. Likewise, if a tooth is missing, a cosmetic dentist can create a porcelain crown to affix to bridgework which is connected to existing teeth on each side.
Porcelain and composite veneers. The older you get, your tooth enamel begins to wear thin, and so veneers may be applied to your teeth to cure dental imperfections or make teeth stronger. The veneers are hard, thin shells of tooth-colored materials, which, like crowns, are perfectly matched to your existing teeth.
Composite bonding. This is a procedure where a tooth-colored composite resin is affixed to the existing teeth and will improve the appearance and strength of teeth which have been damaged, such as a chipped tooth or one that has cracked.
Inlays and onlays. If you need a filling, you no longer need to have a mouth full of metal fillings. Now fillings are fabricated from composite materials that exactly match your tooth. The composite materials may be affixed to the inside of the tooth or directly onto the biting surface.
Dental implants. This procedure is more complex and involves placing a titanium post into your gum to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. Once the implant is in place, a crown is placed on top, thus creating a natural-looking tooth.
Cosmetic dentists work wonders with misshapen teeth by contouring or reshaping them by using a drill or laser. These specialists also may perform minor surgery to correct and reshape gum tissue to give it a more-leveled appearance.
Your smile and your dental health are important – set up a consultation with a cosmetic dentist today to see what you can do to improve or correct any dental issues.
How to Prevent Sports-Related Dental Injuries
One of the most-common types of athletic injuries involves trauma to the athlete’s mouth and face. These are called oral-facial injuries. Depending on the extent of the injury, the incident may have a significant, long-lasting, negative impact, both psychologically and aesthetically, on an athlete.
Most oral-facial injuries are traumatic, and rarely are they life threatening, but, as stated above, not only can they be debilitating, but costly to repair, at the outset, as well as impacting oral health for the rest of that athlete’s life.
The largest number of dental injuries for children ages 7-12 are from bicycle incidents. But, after that age and to young adulthood (approximately 18 years old), sports-related products and/or activities account for the highest amount of dental injuries.
You might think that football, since it is such a rigorous sport, would be the cause of the largest amount of dental injuries, but surprising; it is baseball and basketball which tend to take teeth in reckless abandon. However, to be clear, in 80% of dental injuries, it is not just the teeth that are affected, but some damage to soft tissues, such as the tongue, lips, and inner cheeks simultaneously occurs.
Avoid Sports-Related Oral-Facial Injuries
The most-logical way to avoid oral trauma is through the use of a mouth guard, which does, as the name suggests, protect the teeth and mouth. Whether your offspring is outside playing a game of pickup basketball, or on a Little League team, a mouth guard should be in place to ensure the teeth and mouth are protected.
In more rigorous sports, where a player is susceptible to a flying object smacking them in the face, like a baseball catcher or a goalie, the use of a face cage is recommended. This type of equipment protects against trauma which would be aimed directly to the face.
A dental sports injury does not have to be the result of an aggressive tackle; it could simply be two players bumping noggins at the same time. The teeth are jarred, and even loosened ... sometimes to the point that they actually fly out of the mouth. Sometimes, if the player is lucky, he and his team mates are able to recover the tooth, and, through the skills of a good dentist, notably a restorative dentist, the tooth may be saved. Hurrah for that, but, if the tooth was damaged, there are permanent solutions to mimic the look of the natural tooth, which solutions will surely salvage the athlete’s smile and make it great once again.
Most Common Oral-Facial Injuries
There are three major categories of oral-facial injuries resulting from trauma to the teeth and mouth, and they are:
Dental — A whopping 80% of traumatic oral-facial injuries involve the front teeth. It can be anything from a small chip, crazing (fine cracks on the tooth’s enamel or surface), a fracture, or even an avulsion (the technical term for losing a tooth right out of the socket). While you might have cringed at the thought of an avulsion, a fractured tooth is also serious because any damage to the enamel which protects the tooth may expose the pulp and nerve tissues.
Soft tissues trauma — This would be bruises, cuts and lacerations to the lips, cheeks, gums or tongue, often the result of impact from teeth during the injury. These wounds require careful cleaning and removal of damaged tissue (also called debridement) to ensure all debris has been removed from the soft tissue. Sometimes, the cuts are severe enough to require stitches, and, if there are puncture wounds, oral antibiotics may be prescribed, or even a tetanus shot to prevent further infection.
Jaws — Another traumatic oral-facial injury is dislocation of the lower jaw (mandible) and/or fractures of upper or lower jaws. Depending on the extent of the injury, a simple splint may do the trick, or more complicated surgery may be needed to repair the damage. The skills of an oral maxillofacial surgeon near you may even be in order.
Accidents happen, even if a mouth guard is in place. Sometimes the mouth guard moves, or did not fit properly to begin with. So, if an athlete is lucky enough to recover the tooth intact, it should be immediately rinsed off and placed into the empty socket. If that is not doable, hold the tooth in the mouth, or place it into some milk, then get thee to the dentist’s office posthaste! Always have handy access to your dentist’s emergency number, just for instances like this.
If your dentist is unable to salvage that tooth, a replacement tooth will be created for you. Your restorative dentist will really work some magic for you. Aesthetically, your new tooth will ultimately resemble the original one, but, the process to get there will be a little laborious. What will happen is that a dental implant will replicate your original tooth, by first anchoring a metal (usually titanium) “pedestal” directly into your jawbone. Onto this metal post, a porcelain crown, or artificial tooth, which will be painstakingly matched to the rest of your teeth, will rest atop that post. No one but you and your dentist will know which tooth is real, and, which is the imposter. The dental implant will look the same and you will bite into an apple, or chew on a steak, just the same as you did before.