When you mention the term "cosmetic dentistry," tooth whitening is often the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are several other dental problems that cosmetic dentists have the training and experience to repair. Here is an explanation of how cosmetic dentists can treat four common dental problems.
Tooth crowding is one of the most common culprits behind malocclusion, a condition where the top and bottom teeth cannot be closed comfortably. Tooth crowding can be caused by a number of factors, including improper eruption of the teeth and early loss of primary teeth. In addition to causing discomfort, tooth crowding leads to a greater risk of tooth decay and gum disease because it is more difficult to clean all surfaces of the teeth properly.
Cosmetic dentists can use a number of techniques to repair tooth crowding based on the severity of the problem. Braces are the usual solution to correct mild to moderate crowding over time. Many dentists offer lingual braces that are installed on the back of the teeth so they are not visible. For severe cases of crowding, the extraction of one or more teeth is sometimes required. The teeth will be replaced with dental implants that perfectly imitate the appearance and strength of natural teeth.
A misaligned jaw can cause a number of different problems with the resting position of the teeth. The most common issues are overbites and underbites, where, respectively, the top or bottom teeth protrude too far forward. A misaligned jaw can also lead to crossbites, where the top and bottom teeth do not align horizontally.
Correcting a misaligned jaw requires orthognathic surgery to resize or relocate parts of the jawbone. To correct overbites and underbites, the surgeon will remove a section of the upper or lower jaw behind the teeth. The surgeon will then move the front part of the jaw back and secure it using screws so that the teeth are properly aligned. To correct a crossbite, the surgeon will separate the upper palate and insert a permanent metal palate expander so that the teeth align on both sides.
Wide Gaps Between Teeth
Gaps between teeth, known as diastema, can occur between only two teeth or can be present between all teeth. Gaps between only two teeth are usually caused by improper eruption of the teeth, while gaps between all teeth are usually the result of a genetic imbalance that creates a size discrepancy between the teeth and the jaw.
While braces can be effective for correcting gaps over time, cosmetic dentists can use a process called bonding to provide immediate results. In this process, composite resin is layered over the enamel of your teeth and sculpted to match the appearance of natural teeth. This makes the teeth slightly larger, reducing the size of the gap between each tooth.
Gummy smile is a condition where excess gum tissue is visible above your upper front teeth when you smile. In most cases, this is nothing more than a cosmetic issue that patients want corrected to improve their appearance. However, severe cases of gummy smile may indicate an underlying problem with the formation of the jaw. Dentists will perform an x-ray before treatment to determine if the patient's gummy smile is anything more than a cosmetic problem.
Cosmetic dentists can provide laser treatment to fix a gummy smile quickly and painlessly. This non-surgical procedure uses lasers to remove small amounts of gum tissue so that more of the upper teeth are exposed and the gum is hidden behind the upper lip.
Cosmetic dentistry has advanced to the point that virtually any problem with the color, shape, or alignment of your teeth and their surrounding tissues can be repaired. If you are not satisfied with your teeth, be sure to contact a cosmetic dentist so you can have the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve.