Not everyone is born blessed with a perfect smile—but cosmetic dentistry can make it look that way. “From chipped, discolored, and misaligned teeth, cosmetic dentistry has created an avenue where a patient can walk into a dental office, and with little downtown, regain their confidence by perfecting their smiles” says cosmetic dentist Dr. Rhonda Kalasho of GLO Modern Dentistry in Los Angeles. Here, the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help anyone achieve a stellar smile.
“Perhaps the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dentistry treatment, bonding is ideal for chipped or cracked teeth, filling gaps and making minor changes to the shape of the teeth,” explains Dr. Kalasho. “The procedure involves applying a tooth-colored resin, that can be multishaded and layered to give a natural result”, she says. However, she states “this a conservative treatment, that could last for several years, but is not generally used in full makeover cases, instead it enhances and fixes minor issues that a patient may have, all the while allowing them to achieve their perfect smile.
Dr. Kalasho explains, “is prosthetic enamel, that covers the entire tooth, and it gives back a tooth’s functionality, durability, strength, size and natural appearance, that was once compromised by decay, or cracked”. Crowns can be made from a variety of materials, and range from being full ceramic, or layered restorations that may incorporate metals like gold. Crowns generally last about fifteen to twenty years depending on material. Some crowns, such as the ones I produce in my office, are 3D shaded, thus are multifaceted, giving the appearance of natural enamel, so that you cannot tell the difference between a natural tooth and a crown. Crowns are often used instead of veneers in cases of severely damaged teeth that require protection against further harm, and Dr. Kalasho says it’s important that patients understand that crowns are indicated for patients whose tooth cannot withstand the forces of occlusion, either because the patient has large decay or a large failing restoration. A crown dresses the tooth, and gives it form and structure, and must be well kept with excellent at home oral care, as well as maintained by attending twice yearly checkups and cleanings with a dental professional.
“Art and dentistry have grown hand in hand,” Dr, Kalasho reports, “and as time went on, techniques, and technology in the dental realm of veneers has allowed for the most incredible aesthetic workmanship”, says Dr. Kalasho. Essentially, a veneer is an ultra-thin custom-made puzzle piece of ceramic or porcelain that are bonded to the front of the teeth to change their color, size, length or shape. Patients can get just one veneer or a set of veneers to meet their budget and cosmetic vision. Compared to crowns, veneers require less alteration to the original tooth, however they are similar to crowns in that once they are placed, treated teeth will always require a veneer, which has a lifespan of about 10 years.
Natural teeth can be reshaped to improve minor imperfections like unevenness or slight overcrowding. “The process is quick, painless and inexpensive—and often combined with bonding, veneers and/or teeth whitening to optimize the appearance of the smile,” Dr. Kalasho explains.
Many patients who have maybe had braces in the past, and who never wore their braces, or even have crowding as adults, may elect to straighten their teeth. However, most patients, especially those past the middle school and high school years, want to know if clear aligners is the right choice for them. “In my office,” Dr. Kalasho explains, “we do hundreds of Invisalign cases, and patients really are happy with the results.” “Invisalign, is a clear orthodontic option, which can be as quick as 3 months when using Invislaign express options.” “Patients like that they do not need to alter their teeth, but still achieve the straight and healthy smile they have been yearning for. With invislaigns advanced techniques, Dr. Kalasho has treated hundreds of advanced, and orthondoctially compromised teeth, without the need of traditional metal braces.
In-office teeth whitening involves the application of a high concentration bleaching agent that is accelerated with some type of light, and Dr. Kalasho says that virtually all patients can benefit from the smile-brightening benefits. In office whitening is about 3-4 times the concentration of the over the counter whitening, therefore she recommends limiting the office whitening to no more than twice a year as it can potentially cause sensitivity to the teeth. It is ideal for teeth with yellow stains and undertones (the treatment will not work for gray stains caused by tetracycline or trauma), teeth whitening results are visible immediately and it can be repeated as needed.
“In some cases, it’s necessary to combine multiple procedures to give patients a dramatic, fully customized smile makeover,” says Dr. Kalasho. A full mouth rehabilitation case is extremely technique sensitive and carefully planned, as it generally involves all the procedures previously explained. It truly enhances the youthfulness of the face. A full mouth rehabilitation includes a cosmetic dentist obtaining many study models, and working closely with their ceramic labs, to restore facial volume and youthfulness to a patients smile, all the while, maintaining the functionality of a persons occlusion.
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