About Aesthetic Dentistry
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What is aesthetic dentistry?
This is a subspecialty of dentistry that involves improving the appearance of person’s teeth, gums or bite. Aesthetic dentistry focuses on improving the dental aesthetic in terms of color, shape, size, position, alignment and overall smile appearance. It is also known as cosmetic dentistry.Types of aesthetic dentistry
Examples of aesthetic dentistry procedures
- The addition of a dental material to gums or teeth as bonding laminate caps or gum grafts.
- Removal of tooth structure or gums such as gingivectomy and enameloplasty
- Neither removing nor adding dental materials, gums or tooth structure such as bleaching and gum depigmentation.
- Straightening of teeth also known as orthodontics
What kind of training do aesthetic dentists have?
- Tooth whitening: It is also referred to as tooth bleaching. It is the most common aesthetic dental procedure with over the counter products readily available. However, supervised treatments are recommended.
- Laser whitening: This procedure involves covering the gums with rubber and applying a bleaching chemical on the teeth. A laser beam is then projected upon the teeth. This is to accelerate the bleaching process. The laser activates the bleaching chemical and lightens the teeth color.
- Tooth reshaping: This procedure involves removing part of the enamel to improve the tooth’s appearance. This procedure may be used to correct a small chip. It may also be used to alter the shape or position f teeth, length or when there is tooth size discrepancy. The removed enamel is irreplaceable. This procedure is also known as odontoplasty, slenderizing, stripping, enameloplasty, contouring or recontouring.
- Bonding: This procedure involves applying the enamel-like dental composite material to the tooth’s surface, sculpting it into shape, hardening it and then polishing it.
- Dental bridges: These are false teeth which are fused between two porcelain crowns to fill in gaps left b missing teeth. They are also known as pontics. This procedure is used to replace one or more missing teeth. They cannot be taken out like partial dentures
- Veneers: These are ultra thin custom made porcelain laminates which are directly bonded to the teeth. They enhance the shape or change the color of teeth that do not respond to whitening procedures.
- Dental implants: These are prosthetic replacements for missing teeth. A dental implant comprises of three parts namely; the implant device which is inserted into the bone, the abutment, and a denture or dental crown which is connected to the implant t through the abutment.
- Gum lift: This procedure is used to raise and sculpt the gum line. It involves reshaping the tissue and underlying bones which creates the appearance for symmetrical teeth.
- Invisalign treatment: This is used as an alternative to the traditional metal braces. The procedure helps to treat spacing, crowding, and overlapping of teeth.
- Bite reclamation: This procedure is especially common with people whose vertical dimension has been altered due to acid reflux or grinding of teeth. It involves opening up the persons bite so that the vertical dimension is reclaimed.
- Inlays and Onlays: These procedures are used to repair decayed and cracked teeth. The procedure is especially useful when a filling is too small to correct the decayed tooth whereas a crown would be excessive.
Following a dental undergraduate program, aesthetic dentists undergo additional training for at least 2 years.
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