Sutton Dental Arts offers Cosmetic Dentistry services including full mouth reconstruction, teeth whitening, contouring/tooth reshaping, bonding, bridges, veneers, dental implants, tooth colored fillings and smile makeovers.
When we think of cosmetic surgery, we tend to focus on the cheeks, eyes, and nose. But there are some appearance enhancements that a cosmetic surgeon can't make: those having to do with your teeth. As more people look to improve their appearance through surgery, cosmetic dentistry and periodontology are experiencing a rise in popularity. In fact, a poll conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology found that smile enhancement procedures outnumbered eyelid surgeries five to one.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry cites a recent study in which participants were shown photos of people before and after smile-enhancing treatment. The people with improved smiles were rated not just as more attractive, but also more popular, sensitive, successful, and friendly.
If you're interested in improving your smile, we can help in a variety of areas. Following are some of the most common corrections we perform for our patients.
Gummy or Crooked Smile
If you have too much gum showing when you smile, causing your teeth to look short, we call this a gummy smile. If your gum line is uneven, causing some teeth to look shorter than others, we call this a crooked smile. Both situations are easily remedied with a procedure referred to as a gum lift or crown lengthening. During this procedure, we remove excess gum tissue and reshape the contour of your gums to lengthen the crowns of your teeth and provide a natural-looking gum line.
Gum recession can be caused by gum disease, vigorous brushing, grinding or clenching, or simply age and genetics. Regardless of the cause, as gums recede they expose the roots of the tooth, creating the appearance of longer teeth. Exposed roots also increase vulnerability to root decay, bone loss, and sensitivity to hot and cold liquids and foods. The solution to this situation is a soft-tissue graft, also known as a gum graft. During this procedure, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is transplanted to the gum area, covering the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. A soft-tissue graft protects your roots from decay and helps prevent additional gum recession.
Aside from creating distracting gaps in your smile, missing teeth can cause problems with your oral health. To restore your smile to fullness and health, we use implants. An implant is a replacement tooth attached to a synthetic root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. Permanent implant crowns look and feel like natural teeth. Implants can last a lifetime if cared for properly.
When a tooth falls out or is removed, an indentation can appear in the gums and jawbone just above the spot where the tooth used to be. This occurs because the jawbone slowly atrophies or disappears in response to the empty space. In combination with replacing your missing tooth, we can provide ridge augmentation, a procedure in which we smooth out the indentation to recreate the original curvature of your gums and jaw. This procedure generally includes bone grafting to restore the missing bone, and in some cases must be performed prior to the placement of implants to ensure that sufficient bone is available to securely retain the implant.
FAQs about Cosmetic Dentistry
What is cosmetic dentistry, and how is it different from general dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry combines both art and science to give you a healthy, aesthetic, flawless smile. While general dentistry is aimed at maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, cosmetic dentistry provides comprehensive treatment options that improve and preserve the way your smile looks and feels Common cosmetic treatments include:
- Teeth whitening
- Contouring/tooth reshaping
- Dental implants
- Tooth colored fillings
- Smile makeovers
Why should I see a cosmetic dentist?
A cosmetic dentist is trained to safely and effectively provide a variety of treatments that are designed to enhance your smile. If you have missing teeth, you feel that your teeth are crooked, or you're an adult looking for an alternative to braces, a cosmetic dentist can help you achieve the beautiful smile you've always wanted.
How long will each cosmetic treatment take?
Just as every smile we treat is unique, so are the treatments we provide. While cosmetic treatment times may vary, some treatments are completed within one office visit.
Will my insurance cover cosmetic dental care?
Insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for cosmetic treatment vary. Our practice will work with you to provide several different treatment options, and we will coordinate with your insurance provider, if coverage is available. You will know all of your treatment costs up-front so that you can choose the best payment plan for your needs and your budget.
Am I a good candidate for teeth whitening?
Patients who experience the most benefit from having their teeth whitened:
- Are in good dental health
- Maintain good dental health (i.e. brush three times a day, floss, receive regular dental checkups every six months, etc.)
- May suffer from slightly discolored, or yellow, teeth
- Wish to improve the look of their smile for aesthetic purposes
- Are in good physical health
Are there any side effects with teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a safe, effective procedure, and does not typically include any negative side effects. Minor side effects may consist of:
- Increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- White spots on the surface of the teeth (a potential side effect of at-home whitening systems)
- Nighttime whitening trays may cause additional gum sensitivity or irritation.
You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth's imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are natural in appearance and are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain) designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to a dental technician who creates your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.
When your veneers are placed, you'll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.
There are many products and techniques available for patients who want to achieve a brighter smile, and with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to your doctor about the differences between in-office professional whitening and at-home whitening.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
The first professional option is commonly referred to as in-office whitening. This procedure is performed in a dental office. During an appointment, your dental professional will apply a whitening gel to the surface of your teeth. The entire office visit generally takes about 90 minutes and you will be able to see results immediately.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses custom-made trays and whitening gel only available through your dentist. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals help whiten stained teeth. Unlike strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth and may contain ingredients intended to provide maximum comfort. At-home professional tray whitening generally takes ten to 14 days, although you may notice results in as little as three to five days.
Paint-On Teeth Whiteners
There are many over-the-counter teeth whitening options, and one type of readily accessible whitening products is commonly referred to as a “paint-on” teeth whitener. Paint-on whiteners can be purchased over-the-counter and generally are less expensive and less effective than whitening strips or professional options. Paint-on teeth whiteners consist of a gel that is applied to the tooth using a small brush. Paint-on whitening gel hardens into a film that coats the teeth, and dissolves in the mouth. As with any teeth-whitening regimen, it is wise to consult with a dental professional before use.
Teeth-whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic (polyethylene) strips with a thin film of hydrogen peroxide on one side. Whitening strip kits come with two types of strips: strips for the upper teeth and strips for the lower teeth. The whitening agent is applied by placing the strips across your teeth and gently pressing the strips to ensure contact with all your teeth. Teeth-whitening strips are typically worn for 30 minutes a day, twice a day. The duration of treatment will vary.
Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
The least expensive options are whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes. Designed to have “whitening” capabilities, toothpastes and mouthwashes work to remove surface stains using mild abrasives. However, unlike the materials used in professional whitening procedures, these products do not lighten the actual color shade of the tooth. Whitening toothpastes affect surface stains and will mildly lighten your teeth.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment.