In the past cosmetic dentistry was more of an idea than a reality. In the past, a dentist focused on treating infection and oral health but was unable to do very much for the appearance of teeth. If a tooth was infected, it had a higher likelihood of being pulled than restored. In the past thirty years this has all changed. We can now offer patients multiple ways to restore and replace teeth so that their smile stays naturally beautiful. Dental options started to really open up in the 1980s with the invention of resin cement. Prior to this, dentists understood that bonding would be beneficial for securing things to the surface of the tooth but weren’t able to do so on a wide scale. When resin cement was invented, it allowed a dentist to bond a ceramic crown to the natural tooth in order to restore it in a durable way. Previously silver amalgam crowns were more popular because ceramic simply didn’t have the staying power that it does now. As more and more patients used ceramic crowns to improve their teeth, other solutions like dental veneers became available.
Following the wide adoption of resin cement, the dental bridge was invented in the 1990s. A bridge is secured in place by using a crown on each side of it. The crowns need to be incredibly durable in order to hold the bridge in place, resin cement makes this possible. In the 90s, patients finally had a way to replace a tooth other than wearing dentures. While seemingly simple, the invention of resin cement made it possible for a cosmetic dentist to replace a missing tooth, restore damaged ones, and change the appearance of teeth. Cosmetic dentistry has never been the same.
Smile makeovers were previously an impossibility. These procedures along with dental implants have now made it possible for patients to transform their appearance and their smile. Dental implants are a more recent innovation that has been gaining in popularity. Unlike a dental bridge, implants can replace a tooth without relying on the surrounding teeth. In this procedure, we implant a metal post under the gums and secure it to the jawbone. The bone and metal will fuse together and as they do, a new root system is created for a dental crown to be attached to. This is a fantastic solution for patients that want to improve the long-term functionality of their smiles.
As a cosmetic dentist, we can meet with patients to determine what they don’t like about their smile and create a customized treatment plan for improving it. For example, teeth that are stained can be covered with a dental veneer. If a tooth is damaged, it can be corrected and protected by using a natural looking dental crown and missing teeth can be replaced with implants. Cosmetic dentistry makes it possible for us to close gaps, straighten teeth, make teeth even and more. The possibilities are endless, all thanks to innovation in dentistry.