3 Restorative Dental Procedures That Won’t Cost a Bundle
Fixing your smile doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Here are three relatively inexpensive cosmetic dental procedures that can greatly enhance your smile without putting a huge dent in your wallet.
So-called “bleaching” procedures rely on peroxide-based materials to whiten teeth, generally between five and eight shades lighter than the existing shade. These materials usually come in the form of gels which are applied to teeth and combined with high-intensity light which activates specific compounds in the gel to produce the desired bleaching effect.
“Non-bleaching” procedures rely on physical or chemical actions to remove stains on the surface of teeth. Many over-the-counter brands of toothpaste contain materials designed to have this effect, but stronger and more effective options can be provided during in-office treatment and combined with manual polishing to remove the toughest stains.
For optimum results, a combination of bleaching and non-bleaching procedures can whiten teeth more than twice as effectively as one option alone.
Please note that before your teeth can be safely whitened using either of these methods, you must have a healthy mouth, meaning no gum disease, cavities, or other significant periodontal concerns.
Teeth reshaping is a process of removing a small amount of the tooth’s enamel to make minor changes in the tooth’s shape, a process which has the effect of enhancing the appearance of the tooth. Tooth shaping can round off teeth with uneven points, shorten teeth that appear too long compared to the surrounding teeth, and help the smile conform more naturally to the contour of the lower lip. If there are small spaces between teeth, composite can often be added to fill in the deficiency.
Teeth shaping is fast, usually taking less than half an hour to complete. Because tooth enamel does not contain nerve endings, the process is also pain-free. Some patients experience minor sensitivity after tooth shaping, but this can be easily abated through prescription-strength mouthwash or temporary numbing medicine which can be provided after the procedure is complete. Tooth shaping is also a relatively inexpensive procedure, as generally, you will pay per tooth and only for those teeth that you have shaped.
Tooth bonding is the application of composite resin to the teeth either to repair damage caused by decay, fracture, or chipping or to improve the appearance of a discolored tooth. In certain circumstances, bonding can also be used to fill gaps between teeth, make teeth appear larger than they are, to protect portions of teeth exposed by receding gums, or to change a tooth’s color or shape. The process is so named because the material used to achieve the desired result is “bonded” to the tooth.
Bonding can be combined with whitening or performed as a stand-alone procedure, wherein a shade guide is used to match the color of the composite resin to the area it is being applied. It is a relatively simple process and is one of the most inexpensive cosmetic dental procedures available.
How does it work? Your tooth will be lightly abraded to roughen the surface, enabling the resin to adhere more effectively. A liquid film is then applied to the tooth which also helps the bonding material take hold. Resin is then applied, molded, and smoothed until it is in the desired shape before being hardened by a special light. The hardened material will then be further honed and polished to match the sheen of the surrounding teeth.
For more information on how any of these procedures can benefit you, call our offices today!