When it comes to smiling, one should not hold back. A confident, warm and happy smile is not only contagious, but is also an important part of effective non-verbal communication.
Further, it has also been proved that the act of smiling can improve your mood by producing endorphin (a neurotransmitter that is linked with happiness).
Yet, despite the benefits a toothy smile entails, many people often avoid flashing their pearly whites for they’re conscious of their teeth.
From chipped tooth to receding gums, from tooth discoloration to misshaped teeth, and from uneven/undesirable gaps between teeth to their misalignment, there are many “teeth problems” that make us feel self-conscious and reduce our self esteem.
It certainly is unfortunate that not everyone is blessed with a perfect smile. But thanks to technological advancements and persistence on the part of man that our problems can be easily solved.
Everything from overcrowded teeth to unsightly yellow teeth can be corrected and done away with by undergoing some fairly easy procedures that come under the field of Aesthetic Dentistry.
What Is Aesthetic Dentistry?
Aesthetic Dentistry is a branch of dentistry that uses various skills and techniques to improve the appearance, aesthetics, shape, color, alignment and size of teeth as well as enhance their overall health and functioning.
This branch of dentistry is a savior of all those who shy from laughing heartily because of their teeth and dentition.
The term aesthetic dentistry is often used interchangeably with cosmetic dentistry. Despite their common goal of providing a patient with beautiful and perfect dentition, they both are quite different.
Despite their common goal of providing a patient with beautiful and perfect dentition, they both are quite different. Where the primary focus of cosmetic dentistry is to provide a symmetrical, correct and visually appealing teeth, aesthetic dentistry strives to do more than that and combines various scientific techniques and artistic skills to provide an overall healthy set of teeth, which are in accordance with the natural features of a person.
Thus, where cosmetic dentistry strives to do to dental work that improves appearance but not necessarily function of one’s teeth, aesthetic dentistry aims to embrace all kinds of dental treatments to give holistic results in terms of functionality, aesthetics, and oral health.
In cosmetic dentistry, it is often evident that one has undergone a teeth correction procedure. With pearly white teeth and perfect shape, the smile is correct, yet it is not unique to the patient. The result may look like a classic Hollywood smile often may not look natural.
In aesthetic dentistry, on the other hand, transformations are done to mimic and recreate nature. The dentist performs reconstructions very similar to natural, ensuring to restore the specific anatomic structures (tooth forms, surface) and harmonious tooth color.
In many institutions that offer aesthetic dental treatments, the shape, color and size of the teeth are carefully matched with old photos, personality and skin color to design the patient’s final look such that an undetectable yet flawless transformation is achieved .
What All Procedures Aesthetic Dentistry Covers?
Aesthetic dental procedures involve various treatments to correct everything from minor flaws to severe tooth discoloration, chipped tooth, uneven gaps, gum pigmentation, etc. It also includes straightening the teeth, correcting the shape or alignment, and even treating gum diseases. The major treatments and techniques that are followed in
It also includes straightening the teeth, correcting the shape or alignment, and even treating gum diseases. The major treatments and techniques that are followed in a such procedures are as follows:
1. Aesthetic Dentistry for Teeth Whitening
One of the most common dental procedure, teeth whitening involves lightening the color of discolored teeth to either the original, natural shade or beyond that. Our teeth obtain color from a combination of two things, first being the outer coating called enamel, off of which light reflects, and second being the color of inner dentin.
Improper care, drinking alcohol, coffee or tea, smoking etc can lead to discoloration of enamel (due to formation of pellicle). Other than these, aging too can make our teeth lose their color . Discolored teeth are often considered unhygenic and unsightly. Many people discolored teeth feel conscious and embarrassed to show them.
Whitening is done to regain the original white color of our teeth. There are many techniques that can be followed, including scaling (where the upper layer of calculus is removed by scraping, done by a professional), laser whitening, use of hydrogen peroxide, bleaching etc.
Other than these procedures which require professional help, many teeth whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, strips exist too for regular use and personal care.
A purely cosmetic procedure, teeth whitening is one of the cheapest and most effective method of improving your looks and smile. The procedure when done in dentist’s office takes around 30-90 minutes (sometimes fast-tracked by the use of lasers). Alternatively, the dentist can give you trays to wear at home which may take around 2-3 weeks.
Teeth whitening does not have many side effects however some people complain of tooth sensitivity and gum irritation after the procedure. However, that is temporary and goes away on itself.
2. Aesthetic Dentistry for Dental Bonding
Dental Bonding is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of repairing cracked or chipped a tooth and even curing minor tooth discoloration or small cavities. It involves bonding a tooth-colored resin or composite to the affected area using high intensity curing light and/or adhesives .
This procedure is highly effective, and the repaired tooth are known to last for a few years. Even if the material comes off, it can easily be re-applied.
3. Aesthetic Dentistry for Veneers
Veneers are thin porcelain shells or layers that are placed over the tooth to protect enamel or cure discoloration. They are also used for overlaying the gaps between teeth, and concealing cracks or chips in them.
4. Aesthetic Dentistry for Teeth straightening
Teeth straightening is a treatment for an improper bite by use of braces. Done usually, but not necessarily, at an early age in teenagers and young children it involves wearing braces that align and sets the patient’s teeth. However, with the development of invisible braces this treatment is being undertaken by more and more people of all ages.
5. Aesthetic Dentistry for Enamel shaping
Also known as contouring , this procedure involves shaping the natural teeth to improve the symmetry and correct small imperfections like uneven teeth or minor overcrowding.
The dentist alters position, width and length of the enamel and polishes the teeth to make them shine again. This procedure is relatively simple, permanent, quick and pain free as it just reshapes the outer layer. It is usually done in combination of bonding and veneering.
6. Aesthetic Dentistry for Gum Contouring
Gum contouring involves reshaping the gum line to enhance the appearance of the smile. The procedure involves surgically adding gum tissue or removing overgrown tissue from the crown.
7. Aesthetic Dentistry for Dental Implants
Dental Implants are prosthetic replacement for missing teeth. They include surgically placed titanium (or other metal) frames in your jawbone that serve the purpose of roots. On these artificial teeth or bridges are mounted such that they do not shift in the mouth. These artificial teeth can be both permanent and removable. Dental implants are one of the most effective solutions for missing (or lost) tooth.
8. Aesthetic Dentistry for Dental Bridges
As the name suggests, dental bridges are used to bridge the gap between teeth. Teeth adjacent to the gap are used for anchoring and a bridge is created using them.
Then a false tooth, usually of porcelain is inserted in the bridge. This is called pontic. This is usually done to improve bite, maintain shape of mouth, bridge gaps and enhance appearance. Dental bridges are permanent and require regular proper oral care.
9. Aesthetic Dentistry for Dental Crowns
A dental crown is a “cap” to cover and protect badly damaged/decayed tooth or a weak and sensitive tooth. When the top layer of the tooth erodes or decays, the sensitive internal pulp comes in contact with the environment. This can be painful and harmful for the tooth.
A cap, similar in shape with the natural tooth, made of porcelain (or a combination of porcelain and metal) is used to cover it and is cemented in place such that it fully covers that area. Other than protecting decayed tooth, it is also used restore broken tooth, form dental bridge or implant etc
Aesthetic Dentistry is growing day by day with more and more new technologies being developed to improve the overall appearance and health of our teeth. Even though it may seem that enhancing the appearance of a person is the only advantage of these procedures, it is far from truth. The benefits of aesthetic dentistry procedures are manifold.
Why Use Aesthetic Dentistry ?
When you look good you feel good. People with misshapen, misaligned or discolored teeth often feel self conscious. They shy away from laughing and smiling which often has a negative impact on both their social relations and their own psyche. Undergoing teeth correction procedures can remove this feeling of embarrassment and boost confidence.
Being confident and looking good has a direct impact on your social relations and career opportunities as well. It has been proved that physical appearance is an important aspect when we have to make an impression. Having a good smile helps us seem friendly, confident and yet approachable.
Other than enhancement of physical appearance, many procedures like bonding, bridging, getting dental crowns and veneering can help prevent future damage. They protect weak areas of teeth and strengthen them. Further, decays can be prevented and oral health can be ensured. It also helps to maintain oral hygiene.
Aesthetic dentistry can even repair damage by trauma, illness, infection, and heredity. Many even report improvement in headaches after undergoing dental aesthetics procedures for misaligned teeth are a leading cause of headaches.
However, no good thing comes without a cost. Despite there being many benefits of these ingenious procedures, there are few accompanying limitations.
What Are The Limitations Of Aesthetic Dentistry?
First and foremost, aesthetic dental procedures are costly as a result of which there are many people who avoid undergoing any one of them. However, with increase in technology and techniques, many of these procedures are now available at an affordable cost.
Another major drawback is that many of the procedures take a long time to be completed. For example, dental crowns take upto two-three weeks to be installed. Dental crowns, bridges and veneers if improperly installed can lead to infection, poor bite, tooth decay or allergic reactions.
Tooth whitening too may sometimes lead to inflammation, sensitivity and gum irritation. Further, some people may also develop an unhealthy obsession with teeth whitening called bleachorexia. Nonetheless, the benefits outweigh the limitations and one can undergo them without worrying about the minor limitations of the procedure.
In the end..
Aesthetic dentistry is a branch of dentistry that aims at providing aesthetically appealing teeth along with overall oral health and enhanced oral function. It entails many procedures ranging from teeth whitening to getting dental crowns installed. With the biggest benefit of getting a beautiful smile, it also can lead to improved confidence and self esteem.