While many may think of cosmetic dentistry as a field that emerged in recent decades, the truth is, mankind has been exploring and perfecting techniques for bettering dental health and appearance as early as 3000 BC. The Egyptians, who are widely regarded as pioneers of architecture, were the first to invent ‘toothpaste’ which consisted of pumice stone and vinegar. The Romans can be credited with inventing the world’s earliest tooth-whitener – a toothpaste that contained urine which is a natural tooth whitening agent. The Etruscans made the first dentures out of bone and ivory around 700 BC while the Egyptians used sea shells as the world’s initial teeth replacements. Man’s curiosity to keep developing solutions for dental related issues has stayed constant across centuries and this continuing process of exploration, discovery and perfection is what has led us to the current era of sophisticated cosmetic dentistry.
Modern Cosmetic Dentistry: Your way to a perfect smile and bite
Over a period of time, dentistry in general has made great strides and this leap in capabilities applies equally well to the domain of cosmetic dentistry. Today, a restorative dentist is armed with a plethora of procedures to handle wide-ranging tooth-related issues – missing teeth, tooth discoloration, chipped, broken or misshapen teeth and help patients experience the confidence, functionality and aesthetics of a perfect smile.
Choose your way to a great smile makeover
The world of cosmetic dentistry has a range of solutions for a variety of patient needs. Here’s an overview of the most sought after treatments at cosmetic dental clinics, including the one that’s possibly right around your neighborhood.
Teeth whitening services is a commonly considered option at dental clinics across America. There are a number of factors that could necessitate a whitening or bleaching procedure: food and drink habits, smoking, trauma, medications or even aging. The whitening products used at dental clinics usually contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, each of which works by reducing the concentration of the colored patches. Whiteners however may not be effective against all kinds of teeth discoloration; yellow, brown and gray colored teeth in particular.
Dental veneers are a permanent solution to chipped, broken, discolored or unevenly sized teeth. A veneer is basically a thin, tooth-colored shell that’s permanently bonded to the front surface of the affected tooth. Made out of porcelain or composite resin, dental veneers come in two types: prep and non-prep. Prep veneers require a fair bit of initial work that includes grinding down the tooth or even removing a part of it to allow proper placement of the veneer. Non-prep veneers may require alteration but this would be to a minimal extent.
This is one of the easiest and least expensive dental options available to treat chipped or cracked teeth, teeth with gaps as well as teeth that lack proper shape. The procedure involves applying tooth-colored resin onto the tooth and then hardening it with a special light which bonds the material to the tooth.
Teeth can wear out or get damaged in different ways over time. A dental crown is the commonest solution to handle teeth that have lost their original shape or size due to decay, injury or just constant use over time. A crown is nothing but a tooth-shaped cap that is cemented onto the affected tooth to restore it back to its normal size, strength and appearance. Crowns are also a great way to cosmetically handle misshapen or discolored teeth.
Tooth loss is a problem that millions of Americans have to deal with every year, and the causes range from tooth decay to periodontal disease to injury. Until dental implants became available, the treatment options for missing teeth primarily included bridges and dentures. A dental implant is a titanium tooth root that’s inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth which acts as an anchor for the artificial tooth or the crown. The advantages of dental implants include better comfort, improved chewing function, lower risk of cavities in adjoining teeth, decreased sensitivity in nearby teeth and elimination of the need for regular cleaning.
Braces and Aligners
There’s much more to braces than just straightening teeth. The greater benefits of wearing braces include alleviation of speech impairment, improvement of chewing and digestion, prevention of bone erosion and improvement of overall oral hygiene. Aligners on the other hand consist of invisible trays that are removable unlike braces and offer the patient the comfort of leading a normal life. With aligners, there’s no discomfort relating to visibility or food getting caught in the brackets.
Over-visible gums above the top layer of teeth can come in the way of an aesthetic smile. This procedure involves cutting away excessive gum tissue to correct a ‘gummy smile’. It can also be used to treat the opposite, cases where the teeth are over exposed due to receding gums.
Not everyone is born with a great smile. There was a time, if you had a great smile you cherished it and if you didn’t, then you learned to accept it. But the evolution of modern dentistry, cosmetic dentistry in particular, has changed this decades-old way of thought and life. Today, you can have a great looking smile by choice, and not by birth. This is where Dillon Family Dentistry makes available decades of experience and a range of advanced cosmetic dental services to help you discover a smile that you’ll love to flaunt. Call us at 610 525 5497 or drop by our Bryn Mawr clinic for a consultation and to give us an opportunity to provide you with a cosmetic dental solution that’s just right for you.
Dr. David M Dillon, DMD
Dr. Dillon is a 3rd generation dentist, his family has been serving the Bryn Mawr area in dentistry for over 50 years.