There are a handful of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can be used to improve the color of a person's teeth. Most people would love to have pearly white teeth, but that is easier said than done. Teeth are regularly exposed to foods and beverages that can stain them. They are also exposed to certain medications like tetracycline antibiotics that can lead to stains or habits like smoking. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry has treatments that can be used to whiten your smile.
Cosmetic dentistry teeth whitening treatments
Here are popular ways that a dentist might go about addressing stains and discoloration on a person's teeth.
1. Professional teeth whitening
This should not be confused with using over-the-counter whitening products. Dentists have access to stronger bleaching agents that are not sold to the public. These are prescription-grade whitening products that can do more in an hour than an over-the-counter alternative can do in a month.
Teeth whitening treatments typically involve the dentist using a customized mouth tray to submerge the patient's teeth in the bleaching product. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a single whitening treatment performed by a dentist can improve the whiteness of teeth by up to eight shades. Some patients might need multiple treatments to reach their desired shade of white.
2. Composite bonding
Composite bonding is performed using composite resins. These are mixtures of glass and plastics that are applied to teeth. The composite can be color-matched with the patient's teeth, and it covers up discoloration and stains. Composites can also be used to fix other issues like deformed teeth and spaces between teeth.
Composite bonding is an affordable solution for discolored teeth. It does not require altering the condition of the tooth by removing enamel.
These are one of the most popular restorations when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. They were popularized by celebrities who used them to create "movie star" smiles, and they are now available to the general public. The veneer goes over the front surface of a discolored tooth, hiding the stains on it.
The installation of veneers requires the removal of enamel, which permanently changes teeth. A tooth that has been restored with veneers will always need a restoration to protect it.
Also called caps, these prosthetics are used to cover up the visible part of a tooth. The crown hides all the imperfections on the tooth and protects it from bite forces. Crowns are typically used to treat discolored teeth when the stains are not responsive to whitening treatments. For example, the white stains that develop on teeth due to overexposure to fluoride do not respond to bleaching agents.
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