The least expensive and most popular cosmetic procedure is teeth whitening. Teeth whitening can be very effective in brightening stained teeth. There are essentially two techniques for whitening teeth. The first technique requires involves two office appointments [home whitening]. Impressions of your teeth are taken during your first appointment; these are used to fabricate custom trays that will hold the whitening gel in contact with your teeth. On your second appointment you return to pick up your custom trays and the whitening gel. Once dispensed, the patient applies the whitening gel at home as prescribed by the dentist.
The second technique is performed in little over an hour in the office with BriteSmiles’ patented teeth whitening procedure [in office whitening]. This procedure utilizes a light activated gel, which erases years of staining in just over an hour’s time. With the BriteSmile procedure it is not unusual to see patients whiten their teeth by as much as ten shades, the results are amazing!
Although teeth whitening will brighten your smile, the procedure does not address cosmetic issues such as gaps, crooked teeth, and tooth length.
Direct bonding is the placement of tooth colored material directly on the front surfaces of the teeth to cover stains and modify the shapes and spaces of mal-positioned teeth. Bonding is a relatively inexpensive procedure that usually requires one visit. The shortcoming of bonding is that it stains easily and is not very durable.
Given you are a good candidate, the best way to improve a smile is with the placement of porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth. Veneers can permanently eliminate stains on the front surfaces of teeth and can be used to change the positions of misaligned teeth to create that perfect smile. Although porcelain veneers require the removal of some tooth structure, it is considerably less than what is required for the placement of ‘caps’.
The advantages of veneers include strength, durability and long lasting aesthetics.
Just a note of caution here, not all dentists have the same training in relation to cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry is not a legally recognized specialty, which makes you somewhat vulnerable. Any general dentist may advertise as a cosmetic dentist. It is incumbent upon you to make sure the dentist you select has extensive training in COSMETIC dentistry.