Esthetic dentistry can provide a middle ground between the health-focused care of general dentistry and the appearance-focused improvements of cosmetic dentistry. While the closely related field of cosmetic dentistry can be a good option for making visible or dramatic changes, an esthetic approach may be recommended for patients who primarily want to maintain a healthy…
Dental Esthetics: Substantive Dental Care vs Just Appearance
In the art world, the term “esthetic” refers to a set of principles that guide or underly an artist’s work or an artistic movement. Dental esthetics refers to a process by which a dentist helps patients accomplish their cosmetic goals by fixing underlying issues, ranging from discoloration to cracked teeth to misalignment. Some say that esthetic dentistry is the marriage between science and art in dentistry.
Focusing on function first
Esthetic dentists understandably want patients to walk away with more beautiful smiles. However, what sets the work of esthetic dentists apart from purely cosmetic dentistry is the knowledge that by focusing on health and function first, beauty will follow.
Esthetic dentists allow the relevant principles of smile design to guide each patient’s treatment plan. Each of those principles focuses on correcting moderate to severe issues with the teeth, such as too much gum tissue, crowding, tooth placement, tooth height, and tooth inclination.
Many of the techniques in esthetic dentistry often fall under general dentistry as well, including root canal removal, regular cleanings, and tooth restoration. The goal is that, through these natural and noninvasive methods, the dentist can give patients healthy, attractive smiles that function properly.
Examples of dental esthetics
Esthetic dentistry can take many shapes and forms, involving a range of procedures, often if not always less invasive. Here are a few of the most common examples of dental esthetics.
Bonding and contouring
Bonding is a process commonly used to restore the lost structure to chipped, broken, or otherwise damaged teeth. An esthetic dentist may also use bonding to close the gaps between teeth or hide minimal staining. A dental professional may also perform a technique called contouring. This involves shaving down parts of the surface of a tooth to remove grooves, pits, or overly pointed sections of the biting surface.
Excessively gummy or uneven gum tissue can be both a cosmetic concern and a health issue for individuals. Excessively gummy smiles are more prone to gum disease, whereas smiles with uneven gum lines may have sections in which the tooth root is exposed, causing discomfort and pain. Aesthetically speaking, gummy smiles make the teeth look short or misaligned. Through gum contouring, a dentist can remove excess gum or reshape the gumline to give the patient a more attractive and healthy smile.
Orthodontics is one of the most popular forms of dental esthetics, allowing a dental professional to correct smiles that are overcrowded, misaligned, or crooked. These techniques take time but can drastically improve the function and appearance of a smile.
Dental veneers are essentially shells that a dentist places over the surface of a tooth. They can help patients accomplish several goals, including hiding discoloration, closing gaps in the teeth, correcting misalignment, and even elongating teeth.
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Dental esthetics combines the advantages of cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry to give patients more comprehensive dental care. Talk to a local dentist about the various esthetic solutions available to you.
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