Dental Terms & Procedures
Amalgam Fillings (aka mercury silver) and gold fillings are/were used to fill cavities. They have become nearly obsolete since most patients choose composite resin, or "tooth-colored" fillings. Composite fillings can match the color of a natural tooth whereas amalgam cannot. Composite resin has rendered mercury/silver fillings and its associated health risks unnecessary.
Bonding is dental procedure that uses composite resin to fill and reshape imperfections and flaws in your teeth. Basically bonding means that a dentist will apply a coating of material over the visual surface of the teeth; he then sculpts, shapes and colorizes the bonding and hardens it with a heat-intensive light. Finally the surface is polished to achieve the desired, enhanced appearance.
Cosmetic Dentistry can be any type of dental procedure which enhances the patient's teeth and their smile -- thus improving a person's overall appearance and self-confidence.
Dental Crown, also known as "caps", is a dental procedure which includes reshaping a tooth and reducing its size by about 25%, then affixing a natural-looking covering, or a crown fabricated in a lab. Dental crowns can be used to replace chipped, decayed, broken, misaligned, or discolored teeth.
Dental Bridges are used to span, or bridge a gap (missing teeth) between healthy teeth. Same as with crowns, teeth on either side of the empty space are reshaped and reduced in size. The two shaped teeth then act as anchors, or abutments. The bridge is attached to the living, health teeth and fills the missing tooth space.
Dental Implants are simply metal posts with a false tooth on top. They are integrated into a patient's jawbone fusing together with the bone over time to form a strong, long-lasting replacement tooth.
An individual crown or a bridge may be cemented to the portion of the post, which rises above the soft tissue. An individual implant may be used to restore an area where a single tooth is missing, eliminating the need for dental bridges. Multiple dental implants may be used to restore an edentulous area or a series of missing teeth, eliminating the need for partials or dentures.
Dental Veneers are a very thin outer shell of ceramic, or a poly-ceramic material placed on the tooth surface. Veneers are a conservative application of cosmetic dentistry where reducing or reshaping the natural tooth's structure is minimal. Veneers can however result in a very positive improvement to a person's smile.
Dentures are removable replacements for missing teeth typically made out of an acrylic resin. There are two main types of dentures, Complete Dentures and Partial Dentures. Dentures help strengthen muscles controlling your expressions that require the support of your teeth, solve problems of pronunciation caused by missing teeth and aid with chewing.
Gum Surgery (visible & receding gum lines) - Cosmetic surgery of the gums will help patients achieve an attractive smile whose smiles show a bit more gum than teeth. The procedure removes extra gum tissue using a laser to expose more tooth surface.
Sometimes as a result of gum disease, age, or bite misalignment, a patient can experience gradual receding of their gums. This can cause discomfort as the roots become more exposed; loosening of teeth usually occurs. In order to repair gum recession, cosmetic dentists graft tissues from the roof of a patient's mouth on to the gum line. The "brand new" gum line will then hold teeth firmly in place & protect teeth roots from future damage.
Tooth Bleaching is a cosmetic process prescribed by the dentist to whiten your teeth. The dentist takes an impression of your teeth and creates a custom fitted tray that holds a chemical next to the tooth surface. The whitener works by penetrating dentinal tubules -- resulting in whiter teeth.
Tooth Whitening is any treatment procedure or method your dentist might prescribe to whiten the color and brighten your teeth.