Cosmetic Dentistry Choices That Are 100% Conservative
In the world of cosmetic dentistry today, a potential patient has many procedures to choose from but this post centers on the most conservative,”no drill” forms of cosmetic dentistry for the more tooth conscious patient.
Usually when we talk of cosmetic dental work, what comes to mind is a lot of drilling, and this can entail a loss of a lot of clinically good tooth structure that is not affected by cavities. I know many of my patients would want to have cosmetic dental work to enhance their smile. They have issues like gaps, poor alignment of teeth, and crowding. Many are hesitant to go through with cosmetic dentistry because it involves “grinding good tooth away”, and many are not willing to sacrifice good tooth structure just for the sake of having a great smile.
Three Cosmetic Dentistry Choices for the Conservative Patient
1. Lumineers – no drill cosmetic dental veneers
2. Composite Veneers – in-office cosmetic bonding
3. 6 Month Smiles – Cosmetic Braces done in around 6 months time.
Lumineers are a type of cosmetic dentistry that involves no drilling. A potential patient may have short teeth, slight crowding or gaps between their teeth. A special type of ultra strong restorative material, similar to porcelain and ceramic, is used almost like a “Lee” press-on nail or a wood veneer. Then the dentist does not have to use a drill to touch the teeth if the correction is minor. Your dentist will let you know if you are a suitable candidate for this type of procedure.
Generally the first visit begins with the impression taking appointment, which really doesn’t last very long. Then you will be scheduled for your next visit to have the new veneers cemented into place. This process generally take 3 weeks or less.
Please keep in mind, case selection is very important. That means that there are patients that are more ideal than others and if a patient is not a suitable candidate for this procedure, the dentist can recommended different procedures that will have a suitable esthetic outcome.
Cosmetic Tooth-Colored Bonding
Cosmetic bonding is yet another wonderful way to fix esthetic challenges. Most often cosmetic bonding is performed to close gaps between the teeth if the teeth are already in good alignment. Sometimes the teeth that we are given are generally smaller than the size of our jaw. This leaves unsightly gaps between the front teeth. With cosmetic tooth-colored bonding, a dentist can give a patient a very natural smile and close those spaces.
One thing to remember is that tooth-colored bondings, as with any other restorative choice, have a lifespan. Typically bondings are “softer” than other more permanent restorative materials. A bonding that we would use to revamp a smile and close gaps is the same bonding material that we use for fillings. The life span of a bonding will probably be less than 10 years. After about 4 -5 years the dental bondings will start to show wear and may not look as esthetic as the first day that they were performed. In contrast, porcelain veneers can last many years longer.
6 Month Smiles – Cosmetic Braces in about 6 months time
With the surge of cosmetic dentistry today, cosmetic braces offers a wonderful choice for straightening smiles with no drilling. Most cosmetic braces systems use clear brackets that attach to the teeth as well as a tooth colored wire that is responsible for the movement. This is in contrast to the so-called invisible retainer braces like Invisalign or Clear Correct.
The advantage to 6 Month Smiles in comparison to systems like Invisalign or Clear Correct clear retainer systems is that the wire used for cosmetic braces is constantly applying gentle forces on the teeth. Thus every day, tooth movement is always happening. A clear retainer applies a force more towards the beginning of when a retainer is inserted, and then the patient has to wait for another 2 – 3 weeks to put another retainer tray in his mouth to advance the teeth forward. Thus tooth movement happens quickly and safely with cosmetic braces.
A good candidate for 6 Month Smiles or any other cosmetic braces system is a patient that has healthy teeth to begin with, just the wrong position. When we have patients that come in to the office with poorly aligned teeth but no cavities, fillings, or crowns, the results can be spectacular. On the other hand if a patient has discolored fillings and crowns, 6 Month Smiles can definitely be an option, with the additional help of other restorative treatment.
Conservative Cosmetic Dentistry – Ask Your Dentist Which Choice is Best for You
In summary, ask your dentist of the new wonderful ways that cosmetic dentistry can performed with little or no drilling. The best ways to achieve a beautiful smile while being conservative are:
1. No drill cosmetic dental veneers
2. Cosmetic Tooth-Colored Bonding
3. 6 Month Smiles – Cosmetic Braces in approximately 6 months
Dr. Numpol Dejtiranukul is a practicing dentist in O’fallon, Missouri.