What’s in a smile?
Your teeth are tools. They grind and mash up food, help you pronounce and articulate words correctly, and, should you need it, they can replace a pair of scissors in a pinch. But your teeth are also so much more. Your smile is a visual shorthand for measuring not only beauty, but also a whole gamut of both perceived and real physical qualities including youth, vitality, success, and overall health. That’s right, your teeth are as much a social and professional tool as they are a practical one. They can be used to slice through a crisp, delicious apple as well as create a great first impression of winning that new client or dream job. They can also greatly enhance your social life both personally or professionally.
According to research by Beall Research & Training of Chicago, a new smile will make you appear to others to be more intelligent, interesting, attractive, successful and wealthy. Recent studies reveal that 38 percent of Americans would rule out a second date with someone with badly misaligned teeth.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of us aren’t born with a perfect set of teeth. About 60 percent of Americans require some degree of orthodontic treatment to correct malocclusion or misaligned teeth. Most of us have or will at some point secure the services of a dentist or prosthodontist to get some type of dental work whether it is teeth cleaning or whitening, porcelain veneers, dental bonding, dental implants, All-On-4, smile makeover, or even full-mouth reconstruction.
This is where cosmetic dentistry can help you achieve your dental goals.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic Dentistry is dental work performed by a professional (usually a prosthodontist), that can include treatments and procedures to the mouth, face, teeth, and underlying bone formations that are designed to enhance, improve, or rehabilitate both the functional and aesthetic qualities of a patient’s teeth and other orofacial structures.
It is important to note that while cosmetic dentistry is very much about attaining a particular standard of beauty, it is also concerned with functionality. The teeth and mouth are essential to many critical life activities ranging from chewing and eating to speaking and smiling. In other words, cosmetic dentistry is more than just about looks, it's about health and lifestyle.
Cosmetic Dentistry Today
While various forms of dentistry have been performed since prehistoric times, modern dentistry as we know it today is a relatively recent development. The very first dental college specifically geared towards training dentists opened in Baltimore, Maryland in 1840. Modern cosmetic dentistry came into being a hundred and forty years later with the founding of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) in 1984. Today, the AACD consists of over 7,000 professionals in the cosmetic dentistry field in over 70 countries worldwide.
The area of cosmetic dentistry and prosthodontics has advanced significantly in the past few decades with the advent of new technology and innovation.
Standard Procedures in Cosmetic Dentistry
Teeth whitening is perhaps the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure. Over time there are chemicals in the food and drinks we consume, such as tannins in coffee and tea that eventually stain the enamel on our teeth. Bleaching teeth can achieve a noticeably lighter, brighter, and whiter smile.
Dental bonding using materials such as resin is a useful technique for repairing decayed teeth, filling in gaps and chips, and to additively shape teeth. The whole process often takes less than hour.
Inlays and Onlays are related procedures that involve fitting a solid, custom fabricated piece into a void in a tooth or to replace a missing cusp. These methods should not be confused with fillings, which utilize a malleable substance that then hardens in place such as an amalgam, and with a crown procedure which caps the entire top of the tooth.
Dental Veneers - Porcelain Veneers
Typically composed of porcelain for durability and aesthetics, dental veneers form a beautiful facade for your teeth. These innovative wafer-thin porcelain shells are chemically bonded to your teeth allowing for changes in your desired color density, shape, and size of your teeth. In other words helping you create the perfect smile.
Dental implants are replacement teeth that are physically embedded into the bone of the jaw itself. Replacement teeth can be attached via individual conventional implants or through a less invasive and revolutionary procedure known as the All-On-4® dental implant. All-on-Four® dental implants involve a prosthetic arch and teeth which are supported by just four strategically located titanium implants into each arch. Not only does the All-On-4® dental implant concept ensure greater stability and replace missing or damaged teeth but the overall treatment time and cost are significantly reduced.
Dental prosthetics, such as traditional dentures or artificial bridges, are most known and considered a popular solution for edentulism and tooth loss.
Cosmetic Dentistry: Specialization is Key
The American Dental Association (ADA) does not recognize “cosmetic surgery” as a dental specialty. The term is instead intended to refer in general to dental procedures that explicitly or implicitly aim to improve aesthetic concerns without compromising utility. Technically, Cosmetic, or esthetic, dentistry falls under the purview of prosthodontics. In other words, general dentists are typically unqualified to provide certain treatments, such as All On Four® Dental Implants, and other complex full-mouth reconstruction procedures.
A hospital patient would not be comfortable allowing an ER nurse, no matter how experienced, to perform open-heart surgery. Likewise, those seeking complex cosmetic dentistry should avoid general dental practitioners and find an experienced prosthodontist who is more qualified. It is vital that patients considering cosmetic dentistry select a dental office that employs dentists, estheticians, and prosthodontists who specialize in the procedure they wish to pursue.
It is good to check on credentials, experience, patient testimonials, peer testimonials, published content, and case studies with before and after results. A one-on-one consultation is also recommended to ensure all your questions are addressed in a way that gives you confidence in your selection.
Remember this is your smile and today more than ever you have the ability to make it the best smile ever. You can have full confidence with your cosmetic dentistry needs with a renowned prosthodontist, Dr. Mamaly Reshad of ArtLab Dentistry. While many come from around the world to see and secure the services of Dr. Reshad, our office is convenient to the residents in Woodland Hills and the Los Angeles area. Take the first step today by scheduling a consultation today with Dr. Reshad at 818-465-5041 or click the button below to Schedule An Appointment.