Cosmetic dentistry often involves making adjustments to patients' teeth. Depending on the nature of the issue with a tooth, this could involve moving the tooth or even adding or subtracting material. Patients should understand how these processes work. A cosmetic dentist will usually employ one of these four techniques.
When adding material to a tooth, the dentist may bond something to it. For example, a patient may want to close the gap between two adult teeth that came in a bit small. A cosmetic dentist can bond resin to the tooth to create something similar to a filling. They also can apply veneers or even crowns.
Bonding is a common solution for dealing with chipped or cracked teeth. A dentist may remove some enamel from a severely discolored tooth and then apply a veneer, too.
Some teeth end up with odd shapes. For example, a molar might've developed an unusually large bulge on one end. One technique is to remove the enamel from the bulge. As long as this doesn't disrupt the underlying dental pulp, this is a safe solution. The cosmetic dentist then applies a sealant to ensure that the reduced area isn't exposed to acidity in the mouth, a potential cause of tooth decay.
Strong solutions of hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth. Even in cases where the discoloration is due to strong staining, such as decades of tobacco smoking, whitening may work.
The big reason you should go to a cosmetic dentistry practice for whitening is that unprofessional work can desiccate a tooth. Desiccation occurs when a chemical strips the tooth of its moisture and minerals, killing it.
Only licensed professionals should apply strong solutions to teeth. There are over-the-counter products, but they won't be effective. The solution isn't strong enough.
The old tricks are sometimes the best. If a cosmetic dentist thinks a patient's teeth just need realigning, they may go the orthodontic route. Usually, this means referring the patient to an orthodontist for braces or aligners. The patient will then work with the cosmetic dentist and the orthodontist to ensure everything stays on track.
Bear in mind that aligning a patient's teeth may only be part of the process. Frequently, a cosmetic dentist will want to get the teeth straightened before moving to some of the other procedures listed here. The opposite is also sometimes true. They may need to work on some of the teeth before aligning them.
For more info, contact a local cosmetic dentist.