Cosmetic Dentistry FAQs

Cosmetic Dentistry FAQs

Teeth Whitening: Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking.  Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.

Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings: Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings.  Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.  This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.

Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile.  They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth.  Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.

Porcelain Crowns (caps): A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.  They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.

Is there a way to prevent stain or discolored teeth?

There are several methods available for patients to use in order to acquire a whiter, brighter smile. It is crucial to have your dentist evaluate your teeth to determine which whitening procedure would most benefit your smile.

The following are the two most widely used teeth whitening systems:

  • In Home Teeth Whitening: Most at-home teeth whitening systems come in a gel form that is put into a custom-fitted mouth guard (also known as bleaching tray) that is molded to the shape of your teeth. The gel-filled trays can be worn overnight while you sleep or during the day. The amount of time the trays are required to remain in your mouth depends, although typically, trays are worn twice a day for around 30 minutes each session. This type of whitening procedure can take several weeks before you see results.
  • In Office Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening performed at a dentist office may require more than one visit, each lasting anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. You will instantly see results with this type of procedure. The bleaching solution used by the dentist is applied to your teeth, and your gums are completely protected. Some patients experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth bleached in a dental office, but this typically wears off within a few days.