The objective of cosmetic dentistry is to provide a beautiful, aesthetic smile, by using dental techniques that may also be combined with other procedures to manage dental disease or provide a solution for an injury. Cosmetic dentistry is typically not recognized as a dental specialty, although a degree in dentistry or odontology is still needed to perform cosmetic dental procedures.
Some of the most popular dental treatments to improve the appearance of the smile are:
- Porcelain veneers
- Composite veneers
- All ceramic crowns
- Gum surgery
- Dental Whitening
- Dental Implants
A stunningly natural look can be created with veneers by a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist. They can be used for an impressive number of cosmetic corrections, ranging from teeth whitening to orthodontic adjustments. They are a great choice for masking discolorations, to brighten teeth, and to improve a smile, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth.
Veneers are very thin shells made to fit over the front surface of a tooth, like a false fingernail fits over a natural nail. They are often made of porcelain (a medical-grade ceramic), but sometimes dental bonding, with a natural-color ‘composite’ resin material, is used.
If you want a quick, non-invasive way to enhance your smile, teeth whitening may be the best answer. Teeth whitening uses a bleaching agent, usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to make your teeth lighter, but while it can lighten the existing color impressively by several shades, it can’t make your teeth brilliant or unnaturally white.
Not all types of stains can be removed and are classified in two types: intrinsic (coming from the inside of the tooth) and extrinsic (on the surface). Extrinsic stains are the most common, and the easiest to remove, and professional whitening is most effective on this type of stain.
People of all ages can benefit from cosmetic bonding: Children, adolescents, adults and senior citizens alike can improve their smiles and appearance. Bonding is simply the application of a tooth-colored composite-resin – a durable material composed of acrylic plastic and porcelain powders — to fix problems like the shape or color of a tooth. It is used in fillings and in veneer-like resurfacing.
Of all the cosmetic dental procedures, dental bonding is perhaps the easiest, the most conservative, the least invasive, and the least expensive of them all, and can easily be done in a single office visit, unless several teeth are involved. On the other hand, treatments like veneers and crowns must be manufactured in a lab, and two dental visits are needed unless the dentist has an on-site lab. Bonding can make an amazing change in your smile in just that one dental visit, and in some instances, you don’t even need to be numbed!
Even if your teeth are healthy, straight, and symmetrical, gums can rest too low (a “gummy” smile) or too high on your teeth, or the gum line can be uneven. In a perfect smile, the gums should appear even and smooth, and should act as a frame to complement it, rather than be a distraction from it. Reshaping the gum can restore the natural proportions of your teeth.
Gum contouring to improve the appearance of a smile is considered a cosmetic procedure, but it can also be combined with other medically necessary periodontal procedures, such as crown lengthening, pocket reduction, and regenerative procedures. Gums that are too high may be a sign of periodontal disease where bone loss causes gums to recede, exposing the root.
Gum contouring surgery can be performed in the dentist’s office, using scalpels, lasers, and radiosurgery. Your dentist can recommend which technique would be the most suitable for your situation.
There’s no need to just live with a smile you are unhappy with. With technology advances, modern dentistry now offers a wide range of treatments to improve both your appearance and your health. Your dentist can help you decide whether gum contouring is right for you.
If you are interested in cosmetic dentistry in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page. One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.