A Smile Makeover Could Be Just What You're Looking ForA Smile Makeover Could Be Just What You're Looking For

Beautiful smiles have become an important part of looking and feeling good. And smile makeovers are now an important part of the services that dentists offer. A smile design begins with a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth, gums and smile. From there an individualized treatment plan is created that will correct each problem or each tooth as needed to create the desired results for you. No matter what the issue may be--from yellow, stained teeth to chipped, cracked, crooked or missing teeth--today's dental technology provides the tools with which your dentist can give you a smile that will help you feel confident and secure.

Depending on the problems that need to be fixed or the issues that need to be corrected, your dentist may use a variety of different techniques and processes.

Teeth Whitening

For teeth that are yellow or have stains that will respond to bleaching, whitening that is done in a dentist's office consists of etching your teeth with an acid solution, then applying an oxidizing agent to your tooth enamel and finishing the process with the use of a bright light or laser. This in-office process is much more consistent and reliable than the over-the-counter products that you can apply yourself or the kiosks in the mall that offer tooth whitening, because the strength of the product a dentist uses is more powerful and applying a protective substance that guards your gums against the harsh chemicals is a part of the process.

Porcelain Veneers

For teeth that are discolored and won't respond to bleaching, or ones that are cracked, chipped or even too large or too small, porcelain veneers can be the perfect answer. These thin layers of porcelain are cemented to the front of the tooth that needs to be corrected and can take an imperfect-looking tooth to one that is straight, healthy and perfect-looking. The veneers, which are created in a dental laboratory and then bonded to your teeth in the dentist's office, look, feel and function like your natural teeth. And porcelain veneers will last up to ten years before they need to be replaced.

Bonding

This technique can be used to change the shape of your tooth or to repair chipped and cracked teeth, or even to repair a severely decayed tooth or the appearance of a discolored tooth. For this procedure, the surface of your tooth will be roughened and a liquid conditioning will be applied. Then a tooth-colored, putty-like material that is closely matched to the color of your tooth is applied to the tooth and molded until the desired results have been attained. The putty-like material is allowed to harden and then the dentist will do final shaping and trimming to ensure natural looking results.

Re-Contouring

If your teeth have bulges or pits in the enamel, irregularities in their shape, or if their length needs to be adjusted, a re-contouring process can be used to correct those issues. In this procedure, the dentist will sand your tooth (or teeth) until the correct contour or shape is achieved. The process is completed by polishing your teeth.

Dental Implants

If you have a missing tooth (or teeth) that are detracting from your smile, dental implants can be used to replace the tooth (or teeth). Implants not only look and function like natural teeth, they help retain the integrity of the gum tissue and jawbone because the titanium screw that is placed into the bone over time actually becomes a part of the bone. An abutment that is attached to the screw protrudes above the gum line and is the foundation on which a crown (artificial tooth) is secured. An implanted tooth acts, feels and looks like a natural tooth and implants can be used to replace one tooth or the implanted screws can be used to secure bridges, partial dentures or full dentures-- providing secure biting and chewing abilities.

For every problem that is preventing you from having a beautiful smile, your dentist has the answer. A visit to your dentist can begin the process of creating the smile you've always wanted. What are you waiting for?
by Dr. Susan Wells
References and Bibliography
Dr. Susan Wells DMD has been practicing dentistry in Alabama since 1978. Although she treats patients for all aspects of general dentistry, the cosmetic procedures including traditional veneers and Lumineers are what she enjoys the most. Visit her site at http://DrSusanWells.com.
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