The term cosmetic dentistry has always amused me as if a dentist would put up a sign in the front of their office in Wilmington, NC saying “Uncosmetic Dentistry”.
Cosmetic dentistry in its simplest form is dental work that aims to improve the appearance and function of one's teeth and gums. But that’s a very broad statement, let’s break it down a bit more.
I like to separate treatment options as need based or want based, as a dentist in Wilmington, NC I try to inform people of their overall oral health. I find it nice to separate the two categories.
If someone points out that they don’t like their discolored front tooth; I try to inform them of their treatment options and to clarify that the wants are done after the need based treatment. (we don’t like to treat a cosmetic concern and leave the diseased area untouched). Increasingly dentistry is becoming want based. “I want to bleach my teeth”, there is no health ”need” to whiten teeth. Or I want a set of Porcelain Veneers for my front teeth.
Occasionally the lines can be blurred, if someone slips on the boardwalk in downtown Wilmington, NC and cracks off part of their front tooth. Well, they may just ”need” a cosmetic porcelain veneer. That esthetic, want based treatment has now become a need based treatment. But the lines get more blurry when someone has worn down their front teeth to the point they begin to break down look bad and begin to lose chewing abilities. Now porcelain crowns are more want based but possibly needed to restore the bite and smile.
There are lots of levels of cosmetic dentistry, the most common procedure is Bleaching or dental whitening. (see the previous blog for all the details on this one).
The next level that I find most people fall into, is the need based treatments that can be done esthetically. For example, you have a new cavity in a tooth or a silver filling that has decay. Would you choose to replace with the silver/black mercury based filling? (state of the art circa 1895) or perhaps a tooth colored composite or porcelain restoration?
The full mouth rehabilitation aka “extreme makeover” is a more complex case, where many or all teeth are crowned, bridged (connected crowns), veneered or replaced with implants. These cases are much more complex and require a great deal of forethought and planning from the restoring dentist. Balancing great esthetics and long-term durability are key. A few years back all porcelain restorations were not as durable as they are today, which made this balancing act more difficult.
If you are in Wilmington, NC or the New Hanover County area; A no charge cosmetic/esthetic consulatation could help answer questions you may have about your restorative options. At Salling and Tate, we believe in providing you with information to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs and wants. Oftentimes a mini-makever can brighten and strengthen your smile, without breaking the bank.
Feel free to give us a call to go over some options, we are in Wilmington, NC; located near Landfall and Wrightsville Beach. Dr. William Salling started the practice 23 years ago, I (Dr. Bryan Tate) joined the practice in ’97 and Dr. James Salling joined us in 2005.
Dr. Bryan Tate