Cosmetic Dentistry: What’s Available?

Mickey | Health and Wellness | Thursday, January 20th, 2011


While the field of dentistry is broad and encompasses many specialties, one not formally recognized by the American Dental Association, but hugely popular in many Memphis dental offices, is cosmetic dentistry. Because this is an unrecognized specialty, there are no standing guidelines or regulations to detail what is required of a cosmetic dentist. It also means a dentist does not need to meet any sort of certification to be called a cosmetic dentist. Most dentists who do consider themselves cosmetic dentists specialize in teeth whitening and veneers. These procedures, however, are not the only ones popular in this field.

Teeth whitening, although performed by nearly all Memphis dentists, is the most popular procedure that falls under cosmetic dentistry. It can be done at home, with kits available over the counter at local drug stores. These kits often use a hydrogen peroxide based gel solution with either a mouth tray or adhesive strips that apply directly to the teeth. These will be used once or twice a day, for up to two weeks at a time. Depending on the extent of the aftercare, the results can last for about six months on average. In office teeth whitening involve using the same type of mixture in addition to a high powered spectrum light that can work beneath the enamel to clean the deepest of stains. This method may require multiple visits, but the effect often last six months to a year with proper oral hygiene.

Veneers are arguably the most widely used cosmetic and restorative procedures are all of dentistry. This procedure involves first having an impression taken of the patient’s mouth, and then the desired shape and shade can be chosen. The impression and requests will be sent to a laboratory where a dental technician will then create and individual tooth cover of sorts for each tooth. These can cost anywhere from $1500 to $2000 per tooth. Once they have been completed the patient will then return to the office to have the veneers applied in a special bonding process. Veneers generally last about ten years if they are taken care of correctly.

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