I am often asked if we do “cosmetic dentistry” or if we can help people improve their smile. The answer is a resounding YES!
When I think about a smile, I am often reminded of two of my favorite sayings:
- Laughter is a smile that burst!
- A smile is a light that makes the world shine!
In today’s world, the importance of a smile can’t be overstated. Our smile affects how we feel when we look in the mirror and when we talk to people around us. Our smile affects our livelihood and whole life. I think all of us should have a smile that makes us feel good about ourselves and helps us live productive lives.
Cosmetic dentistry is a catch phrase for all the dental options for improving a smile. These options include teeth whitening, smile contouring, orthodontics, veneers, all porcelain crowns, permanent bridges, implants and gum surgery. At Magnolia Dental we offer all these options so our patients can have the full range of possible treatments. Many times there isn’t just one right or wrong answer, and our responsibility is to find the answer that works best for each one of our patients.
Next, let’s spend a few minutes looking at each one of these options. I encourage you to review each item specifically if you would like more detailed information.
Teeth Whitening is an excellent option to improve your overall smile. The benefits of whitening are minimal initial investment, avoidance of teeth restructuring, and small time expenditure.
Whitening can be done with both over the counter and prescription options – ranging from abrasive tooth pastes (with a rougher texture to help scrub away the stain) to custom whitening trays. To learn about risks and limitations of whitening, visit our tooth whitening page.
Teeth whitening is an excellent option for those big events in our lives such as weddings, graduations or the annual family reunion. At Magnolia Dental, we also offer vouchers for whitening. These make a great gift for a recent graduate or loved one.
Smile Contouring is a fancy phrase for re-shaping your teeth with small changes. This can be accomplished with no numbing and can typically be completed within minutes. If there is a tooth that is too long – such as vampire teeth – this is a great way to correct those easily.
Orthodontics has come a long way in the past 10-15 years … for the most part, gone are the days of head gear and brace face! I still remember being a kid and wearing braces for 3-4 years and having all kinds of metal and rubber bands. Options like invisible braces and tooth colored brackets have truly changed the outlook of orthodontics!
I like to offer my patients simple options like Invisalign Express or Clear Correct in cases where we have some teeth are have shifted since braces as a kid. Another great option is to use these simple options in preparation to a complete cosmetic case where we need to unravel some teeth before placing our final veneers. I could go on and on about the benefits of orthodontics, and, I do in the orthodontics page!
In the 2000’s, most of you will remember the extreme make-over shows that were so popular … these ranged from smile make-overs to a new house! I had the joy of being in dental school at Baylor College of Dentistry during this craze, and as students, we loved to watch the smile make-over shows! It seems like everyone on that show would receive veneers in some fashion – I think it was a requirement of the show!
Veneers are a great option to help improve your smile when you have deep staining that doesn’t respond to whitening or if you have crooked teeth, and don’t want orthodontics. The best way to think about veneers is that they are a shell of porcelain bonded to the front and edge of your teeth, which helps to correct the misalignment and/or mask the dark color. They are typically conservative in nature and involve removing only small amounts of your natural teeth. There are limitations to how and when veneers should be used, and, a great starting point is to call us at (903) 603-4406 to discuss options.
Porcelain Crowns are best described as veneers that wrap all the way around your tooth. Since they wrap around the whole part of the tooth that comes out of your gums, they can be stronger and are a great option for teeth that may have been filled in the past or that have broken or chipped away. Since these are all porcelain, meaning no metal, you don’t have to worry about having a dark black line at your gum line.
Permanent Bridges are a tried and true way of replacing missing teeth - now, these aren’t the bridges of your grandparents! These are permanent options that do not come in and out – they are bonded in place! With the progress in technology, we now have permanent bridges that are all porcelain – meaning no metal and no ugly black lines at the gum line.
The biggest limitation to a permanent bridge is that you have to healthy and strong teeth on each side of the space you are looking to fill – just like a bridge over a river, we have to have a strong foundation on each end of the space. If we don’t, the better option and in my opinion, the best option is a dental implant.
Dental implants are one of the most exciting parts of dentistry to me. An implant is basically an artificial root that is placed in your jaw bone, after which the bone actually grows on to the post. This creates a rock-solid titanium foundation that you can then use to replace missing teeth, stabilize dentures or re-build a smile! The most exciting part of implants is that it gives patients that had little to no hope an option to regain their smile that they lost due to a missing tooth.
Gum surgery is commonly called periodontics – when discussing cosmetic dentistry, it is often used to help correct smiles that show too much of your gums. It can also be used to reshape where your gum sit when you have lost gum tissue due to recession.
This is just a short summary on each option with regards to cosmetic dentistry. I invite you to visit our services section to read more detailed sections on each option. Or, even better, call us today to schedule some time with me to discuss what you don’t love about your smile and how we can help you love your smile again.