Frequently Asked Questions About Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is typically done to improve the appearance of the teeth, without actually straightening their alignment or addressing issues with bone loss, gum health, and the like. While cosmetic dentistry is done to make your teeth look better, certain procedures can also help to protect the teeth and gums, and your overall oral health. Note a few questions you might have about cosmetic dentistry procedures, so you can determine if these are right for your teeth, and will know what to expect from these procedures as well.

What is the difference between bonding and veneers?

Bonding refers to a soft, putty-like substance that is dabbed onto the teeth, and then shaped and formed as needed. This substance then dries and hardens, and looks like the actual surface of the tooth. Bonding can make undersized teeth look larger, or make recessed teeth look as if they're in alignment with the rest of the teeth.

The word veneer refers to a layer of material that is applied over another material; for cosmetic dentistry, this would mean a covering that is glued to a tooth. Veneers may not necessarily make teeth look bigger, or help realign recessed teeth, but they can make crooked teeth look straight. Veneers are also used for very discoloured teeth. Both procedures may last for years, and your dentist can tell you the right one for your teeth in particular.

What is the difference between tooth bleaching and tooth whitening?

Bleaching is just as the name implies; a bleach substance that is safe for ingesting is added to the teeth, and this will remove many stains, returning teeth to their naturally white colour. However, some teeth may be too stained for bleaching, or may be discoloured due to age. In these cases, a tooth whitening, which is actually a type of paint, is applied over the teeth, to restore them to their white colour.

Do chipped or broken teeth always need to be pulled?

A tooth that is severely chipped or broken might be pulled or extracted, if the tooth root or pulp is infected, or if the tooth is so small that it cannot be covered by any other method. This isn't true of all damaged teeth, as a cap or crown, or the bonding mentioned above, can often be used to cover this chipped area, and make a tooth look whole again. This can also cover any sharp edges of the teeth, so you don't need to worry about scraped gums and skin inside the mouth.