What Dental Technologies Are Available to Improve My Smile?

What Dental Technologies Are Available to Improve My Smile?

Kirkland family dentist

Some of the most sought-after dental technologies to improve your smile include: bleaching, bonding, veneers, crowns, and reshaping and contouring. We’ll touch on each and how it can help you get the smile you long for:

Bleaching

Whitening procedures have become increasingly popular, increasing in number by over 300% in the last five years alone. Each year, Americans will spend around $1.4 billion on tooth whitening products and procedures. Such numbers aren’t very surprising considering 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is socially important and 75% believe an unattractive smile can hurt your career success.

Using a chemical bleaching agent, dental bleaching removes stains and improves the brightness of your smile. You can have your dentist bleach your teeth or attempt to do so yourself at home. The benefits to having the procedure done in-office by a dentist is he or she can utilize new dental technologies to help you see results after one or two 45-minute sessions. At home, you’re likely to need to continue application for three or four weeks before seeing any improvement. Likewise, any over-the-counter treatment isn’t likely to have the same effect as one applied by a dentist.

Regardless of how you whiten your teeth, bleaching isn’t permanent. Over time your teeth will discolor again and you’ll need to repeat the procedure. One way to help prolong the lasting effect of a bleaching treatment is to avoid foods known to stain teeth such as coffee, tea, and soda.

Bonding

With bonding, a tooth-colored enamel is adhered – – or bonded – – to your teeth to fill cracks or chips. Bonding can also be used to cover discolored teeth or fill in gaps between teeth. Your dentist will start by matching the bonding material to your teeth’s shade. Dental technologies with high-intensity light are then used to adhere the bonding material to your teeth and harden it into place.

Bonding is often used to cover cavities or smooth the surface of a tooth as it closely resembles the appearance of enamel. It typically only requires one visit to the dentist office. This ease of application makes bonding an appealing option for many who wish to improve their smile. However, bonding has a tendency to wear down and become chipped or stained faster than other cosmetic dental technologies such as veneers.

Veneers

Dental veneers have become increasingly popular in the last five years with a growth rate of over 250%. Veneers are custom-made shells designed to cover any damaged or unattractive teeth. They can be made of plastic or porcelain and typically last somewhere between five and 10 years, at which time they’ll need to be replaced with a new set of veneers.

Veneers can be used to hide unsightly teeth or to fill in gaps between teeth. A popular type of veneers are Lumineers. Considered by some to be the best porcelain veneers available, Lumineers are unique for their ultra-thin material which more closely resemble teeth enamel than thicker veneers, resulting in a more natural final appearance.

Crowns

Crowns, also called caps, cover your entire tooth. They can be made of metal, porcelain that’s been fused to metal, resin, or ceramic. Crowns are commonly used after a root canal to protect the original tooth. If cracking or a filling threatens the structure of your tooth, a crown can be applied to help stabilize it.

Crowns are one of the more expensive of cosmetic dental technologies, and as such are typically only recommended when no other cosmetic dentistry will work. If you do have a crown applied, however, you can rest assured you have just made a long investment. Crowns, when properly cared for, can last longer than almost any other cosmetic dentistry technology.

Enamel reshaping and contouring

With reshaping and contouring, your dentist removes or contours the enamel of your teeth to improve their appearance. The process is often combined with bonding for a full-smile makeover. You may be a candidate for reshaping and contouring if your teeth are crooked or overlap, if you have chipped or irregular teeth. Reshaping and contouring can also be used to correct minor bite problems. To be a good candidate, you should have otherwise healthy teeth with sufficient bone density to support them.


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