It's impossible to overstate the emotional, social and even professional benefits that smiling with confidence can give you. If you find you cover your mouth when you smile, or even hold back your smile because you don't want to show your teeth, you should consider what cosmetic dentistry — the art of smile enhancement — can do for you.

 Before and After Cosmetic Dentistry.

There's so much that can be done these days to improve the appearance of a person's smile — at any age. From powerful, professional whitening treatments to amazingly realistic porcelain veneers to state-of-the-art dental implants, there's a wide range of exciting possibilities.

The first step in any smile makeover is a thorough dental examination to make sure that your cosmetic problems really are just that, and not a sign of underlying dental disease. Once your health has been established, your smile can be cosmetically enhanced in a variety of ways.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

A successful smile makeover is a team effort between you and the dentists who treat you. Depending on which procedures you choose, other highly skilled professionals such as dental lab technicians may also play a crucial role. Some common cosmetic dentistry procedures include:

  • Cosmetic Bonding, to repair small chips or cracks (Watch Video)
  • Crowns & Bridgework, to replace large amounts of lost tooth structure and/or missing teeth (Watch Video)
  • Dental Implants, for the longest-lasting tooth replacement available today (Watch Video)
  • Inlays & Onlays, to fill teeth with larger cavities (Watch Video)
  • Invisalign Clear Aligners, for highly discreet orthodontic treatment (Watch Video)
  • Orthodontic Treatment, to move teeth into the right position (Watch Video)
  • Porcelain Veneers, for repairing larger chips and cracks, and reshaping teeth (Watch Video)
  • Removable Dentures, to help you smile again (Watch Video)
  • Teeth Whitening, to brighten a faded or discolored smile (Watch Video)
  • Tooth-Colored Fillings, for a completely natural, healthy look (Watch Video)

Your Smile Makeover

The most important job you have as a member of your own smile makeover team is to communicate exactly what you don't like about your smile and how you'd like it to be different. Before the first consultation, give some thought to the following questions:

  1. What do you like or dislike about the color, size, shape and spacing of your teeth?
  2. Are you pleased with how much your teeth show, both when you smile and when your lips are relaxed?
  3. Do you want teeth that are perfectly aligned and a bright “Hollywood White,” or would you prefer a more natural look with slight color, shape and shade variations?
  4. Would you like more or less of your gums to show when you smile?

It is extremely helpful for you to bring in pictures you have collected — of smiles you like, smiles you don't like, and/or photos of the way your own smile used to look, if that's the result you're aiming for. Now is the time to get started on creating a smile that will make you feel as good as you look!

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We understand how important first impressions can be, and we want to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that will make a lasting impression. There are a number of common problems that can hinder a person from having an aesthetically pleasing smile. Here are just a few common problems that we can fix.

Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are common among adults who didn’t have orthodontic treatment as a child. We offer an instant solution for crooked teeth without depending on traditional orthodontic treatment. We use porcelain veneers to give you the beautiful, straight smile you’ve always wanted.

Gaps Between Teeth

Porcelain veneers and dental bonding procedures can be used to eliminate gaps between your teeth, leaving you with a more beautiful, attractive smile.

Cracks and Chips

Cracks and chips in teeth can occur for various reasons, including eating sticky candy or hard foods, suffering from trauma and teeth grinding. Some of the services available to fix cracked or chipped teeth include porcelain veneers, bonded fillings or porcelain inlays and onlays.

Discolored Teeth

Our teeth naturally darken as we age. Changes in the color of your teeth can be caused by such factors as the food and beverages consumed (like coffee, tea and soda). Other known factors for discoloration may include childhood medications or illnesses, tobacco use or improper oral hygiene. Restoring your natural white smile is a priority for our dental team. We can provide a variety of options for whitening your smile.

Mercury Fillings

While traditional metal-mercury amalgam fillings offer a strong, durable solution for filling cavities, their dark, dull appearance is very unattractive. We offer tooth-colored fillings as a more attractive solution for filling cavities. We can replace mercury fillings with more natural looking, tooth-colored fillings.

Missing Teeth

Missing teeth is a serious problem, both aesthetically and functionally. A missing tooth causes the whole structure of the mouth to change, resulting in shifting teeth, periodontal problems and deterioration of the chewing function. We offer dental implants to replace missing teeth. Whether you are missing one, several, or all of your natural teeth, dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function like your own.

A chipped tooth can happen to anyone: a child riding a bicycle, a teenager playing basketball, or a grown-up crunching a piece of hard candy. It's one of the most common dental injuries — and, fortunately, it's usually one of the easiest to treat. There are several ways a chipped tooth can be treated, depending on how extensive the chip is. But first, there are some things you should do right away.

If possible, save any pieces that broke off the tooth, and bring them with you to our office. If you have pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen; rinsing your mouth in salt water can also help soothe the ache. Next, call our office for an appointment.

Small to Moderate Chips

Cosmetic Bonding

In many cases, a small to moderate chip can be repaired via a procedure called bonding. Bonding uses tooth-colored substances to replace missing tooth structure. Bonding materials are called “composite resins” because they contain a mixture of plastic and glass, which adds strength and translucency. This composite actually bonds, or becomes one, with the rest of the tooth.

Composite resins can be successfully bonded to most healthy teeth, and they come in a variety of tooth shades for truly lifelike results. When bonding is complete, it may be impossible to distinguish the repaired tooth from its neighbors. Though bonding may not last as long as some other restorations, it also does not require the involvement of a dental laboratory — and, most often, can be done with very minimal drilling of the tooth. It's a particularly good solution for teens, who often need to wait until their teeth have finished maturing before choosing a more permanent type of dental restoration.

The Bonding Process

Before and After Tooth Bonding.Tooth bonding can usually be accomplished in a single visit to the dental office, in a procedure that may take 30 minutes to an hour. First, the surface of the tooth may be altered slightly with a drill to bevel the chipped areas. Next, the tooth to be bonded will be cleaned so it is plaque-free, and “etched” with a gel that opens up tiny pores in the surface. Then, liquid composite resin in a matching shade is painted on in a thin layer, and a special curing light is used to harden this bonding material. Once the first layer is cured, another layer can be painted on and cured. More layers can be built up until the restoration has the necessary thickness; it can then be shaped using a dental drill to give it just the right form, and given a final polishing.

Larger Chips

If a tooth has been severely chipped and has lost a large part of its structure, a more extensive restoration may be needed. In this case, a veneer or a crown restoration (cap) may be recommended. There are several different varieties of veneers and caps, which we will discuss with you. Both veneers and caps usually require the services of a dental laboratory, and will take more than one visit to prepare and place. In some cases where extensive damage has occurred, a root canal procedure may also be necessary to prevent or treat infection in the pulp (inner part) of the tooth.

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What makes a smile beautiful? That's a complex question, but some qualities of a lovely smile are immediately identifiable: good tooth color, shape and alignment are a few of the most important ones. If your teeth could use improvement in any of these categories, porcelain veneers could be just what you're looking for.

Porcelain veneer.You may already know that a veneer is a thin covering over another surface. In dentistry, a veneer is a wafer-thin layer of super-strong porcelain that convincingly substitutes for natural tooth enamel. When bonded to your teeth, veneers can create a natural-looking, beautiful new surface. That's because dental porcelain, like natural tooth enamel, is translucent and tough. But it doesn't stain like tooth enamel does.

Recent years have brought remarkable advances in dental porcelain technology. These days, veneers can be made so thin that they can sometimes be bonded directly onto your existing tooth surface. In other cases, a very thin layer of tooth enamel — as thin as the veneer itself — needs to be removed to fit the new porcelain surface and make it look as lifelike as possible. Either way, the results are sure to make you smile.

Versatility of Porcelain Veneers

We can use veneers to improve any of the following characteristics of your teeth:

Porcelain veneers - before and after.
  • Color — Teeth can become stained by the foods and drinks we like, from smoking, and even normal aging. Veneers are available in numerous shades, from the most natural to the brightest Hollywood white.
  • Size & Shape — Teeth can become worn down from grinding habits, or may not have the shape or size you want to begin with. For example, some people consider rounder teeth more feminine and squarer teeth more masculine. Veneers can be shaped and sized in whichever way is most flattering to your face.
  • Alignment & Spacing — Veneers can be used to close small gaps between teeth or make slight corrections in alignment while improving tooth color and shape.

Limitations of Porcelain Veneers

There are some situations in which veneers would be inappropriate. For example, if you have significantly misaligned teeth or a large gap, we might recommend orthodontics instead of veneers. And if you have lost a lot of tooth structure from decay or trauma (or a particularly severe grinding habit), it might be better to restore your teeth with porcelain crowns that cover the entire tooth.

Creating a New Smile with Porcelain Veneers

The first step in creating a new smile with porcelain veneers is to communicate exactly what you don't like about your smile as it is now. It's a great idea to bring in pictures of smiles you do like, as a starting point for discussion. We can show you how veneers would look on your teeth in one of several ways. We can create a model of your teeth and put wax “veneers” on the model; we can even put acrylic (plastic) or tooth-colored filling material directly onto your teeth to demonstrate the effect veneers would have on them.

Once we have agreed on a plan, we will prepare your teeth by removing a small amount of enamel, if this step is necessary. Molds of your teeth will be taken and used by a skilled dental laboratory to create your veneers, and you will receive a temporary set of veneers to wear during the few weeks it will take to create your permanent veneers. We will be in touch with the laboratory throughout the fabrication process to make sure the finished product is just what we've envisioned. When the veneers come back from the lab, they will be cemented onto your teeth.

Caring for Your Veneers

Just like the teeth nature gave you, teeth restored with veneers need gentle brushing and flossing every day. This will remove dental plaque and ensure good gum tissue health around the veneers. Regular checkups at the dental office will remain as important as always to your oral and general health. And keep in mind that as tough as veneers are, they may not be able to withstand forces that come from using your teeth as tools (to open packages, for example) or biting into very hard foods like candy apples — which isn't good for your natural teeth, either! And if you grind or clench your teeth at night, we might advise you to get a custom-made nightguard to protect your veneers.

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