Cosmetic dentistry is the name for any type of dental work that improves the patient’s overall dental aesthetic appearance. It can include treatments such as bonding, tooth implants, dental crowns and bridges, resin composite or porcelain veneers, gum grafts and/or the removal of the gum tissue or tooth structure. Braces and tooth whitening are also considered cosmetic dental procedures.
Over the years, advancements in cosmetic dentistry materials have given more options than ever for patients seeking a smile makeover. Porcelain and zirconium have lasting strength, and are both excellent at reflecting light, allowing for the most natural cosmetic restorations available. Because each patient’s teeth are different, other materials such as gold, palladium, or resin composite could be the best choice. Your cosmetic dentist will guide you in making a choice.
Dental crowns and bridges can be made of metal, including palladium or gold alloys, or base-metal nickel or chromium alloys. Metal provides the longest-lasting of the crown and bridge materials with regard to wearing down. They are not known to break or chip, and they do not affect the opposing teeth over time. Their metallic color is their greatest drawback, and they are most suitable for back teeth, where they can be hidden.
Porcelain can be fused to different metals, allowing for a very natural look for crown or bridge cosmetic dentistry treatments. They can chip over time, and discoloration can occur at the gum line if any metal other than zirconium has been used. Dental composite resin crowns and bridges are a popular choice, but can also chip over time. All-porcelain and all-ceramic dental crowns and bridges look the most like your natural teeth, and are the most natural-appearing of the available cosmetic dentistry materials.
Veneers can be made from composite resin materials or from porcelain. Porcelain appears more natural than resin materials, and resists stains better over time. Resin veneers tend to be thinner than porcelain veneers, and will require less shaving of the natural tooth before application.