Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry

Who doesn't want a perfect smile? While few people have one naturally, almost anyone can get one with the help of their dentist. In addition to orthodontic treatment, which can straighten your teeth, recent advances in dental materials and techniques offer near-perfect teeth that are almost as strong as the originals.
Things your dentist can do to improve your smile include
• Bleaching to make teeth whiter
• Repairing chips or rough spots with fillings that match your teeth
• Filling cavities with tooth-colored materials
• Reshaping teeth that don't match the others
• Closing gaps between teeth
• Covering broken teeth with porcelain crowns

Reasons To Improve Your Smile

The reasons people come to a cosmetic dentist are as varied as people themselves. Here are some of the more frequently stated reasons that patients give for wanting to enhance their smiles:
• The most obvious reason, of course, is to improve your appearance. In this era of marvelous advances in dentistry, there’s no longer a valid reason for anyone to live with ugly metal crowns, irregular gums, aching jaws, broken teeth, stained teeth or teeth with huge gaps. Nearly everyone can have a beautiful smile.

• Another, less obvious reason is so you can chew your food better. When your teeth fit together properly, you can chew better—and when you chew better, your digestive system is able to extract the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for optimum health. If your teeth don’t fit together, for whatever reason, your overall health is adversely impacted.

• Another not-so-obvious reason is so you can gain relief from chronic pain. A surprising number of people suffer from pain caused by strain on the muscles of the jaw. When your teeth and your jaw structure don’t compliment each other, your jaw muscles become strained, often resulting in earaches, headaches and pain in your cheeks or under your jaw. Sometimes something as small as a poorly placed crown can change the relationship of your teeth, preventing them from coming together as they should. The result is often persistent pain.


There are specific physiological and dental principles that guide a cosmetic dentist in creating the smile you’ve always wanted. In creating an attractive smile, a skilled cosmetic dentist will actually change the size and shape of a patient’s teeth to complement his or her face. In many cases, the change in the patient’s appearance is so dramatic that it is described as “life changing.”


If you still have those old fashioned, dark metallic fillings, it may be time for a change. Natural looking, tooth-colored fillings (sometimes called composites, resins, onlays or inlays) have been available for years. With this process, your old mercury fillings are removed (along with any decay) and replaced with a porcelain material that is chemically bonded to your teeth for a longer lasting, more attractive filling.

Some of the other benefits of tooth colored fillings include:
• They make the tooth stronger because they’re actually bonded into the matrix of the tooth structure and hold the tooth together.

• They don’t expand and contract like metal fillings. When you drink hot coffee or eat cold ice cream, silver fillings expand and contract, sometimes causing teeth to crack.

• They are a more conservative treatment. Much less of the tooth needs to be removed for a bonded restoration.

• They look better. They look so natural that they’re virtually invisible.


Crowns (also called caps) restore damaged, cracked or broken teeth. They are placed over damaged teeth, covering the entire outer surface to provide support and improve function. Crowns are the treatment of choice when most of the tooth structure is gone and there is insufficient functional support for a filling or inlay.


Porcelain veneers are used to rapidly transform crooked, stained or badly worn teeth into beautiful smiles.

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front surface of your teeth. First, the surfaces of your teeth are reshaped by removing a small portion. Precise models are made, and your customized veneers are hand fabricated by a dental laboratory which specializes in veneers. (You will have temporary veneers to wear during the fabrication period.) When your permanent veneers are placed, a special curing light is used to bond them in place. The result is a beautiful, natural-looking smile. And as an added bonus, porcelain veneers are more resistant than your natural teeth to stains from coffee, tea, red wine and cigarettes.

Because one type of veneer will not necessarily fit the needs of every patient, Dr. VanWechel has researched and become proficient in the application of several different types of veneers. In addition to the traditional veneers described above, he offers his patients the convenience of Minimal-Prep or No-Prep Veneers.

Made from a strong porcelain that is much thinner (comparable to a contac lens) than typical veneers, Lumineers or Razor-thin Veneers require minimal preparation of your existing teeth prior to placement. With this type of veneer, the natural tooth structure is left virtually intact.


The most commonly expressed request made by patients is “make my teeth whiter.” And the fastest, most efficient teeth whitening procedure available today is power whitening.

If you have tried and been discouraged by whitener toothpastes or messy, time-consuming bleaching trays and strips, you may be a candidate for professional power teeth whitening, today's answer to dull, lifeless smiles. Even people who smoke or have tooth discoloration problems have found this fast and safe process can dramatically change the appearance of their teeth. The procedure has no negative impact on enamel, gum tissue or existing fillings. And the transformation to whiter teeth can be accomplished in a single visit of about an hour.


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