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It’s a normal thing for a lot of people to be conscious about their teeth. A smile, after all, has a big impact on how a person will perceive you the first time you meet them, and we all know that first impressions last. But really, without a good set of choppers, we can’t really put our best foot forward, and no matter how nice our intentions are, people might be put off by a subpar set of teeth. But what can we do about them?

Outside of maintaining your teeth diligently every day, there’s very little we can do, especially if your teeth are predisposed to staining. Well, that’s actually where dentistry comes in. More specifically, cosmetic dentistry, a subcategory of dentistry that is more concerned about making your smile as looking as good as it can possibly get. To help you learn more about this type of dentistry, we’ve compiled a list of the most common procedures and what they’re used for.

1. Teeth Whitening

Just as the name suggests, teeth whitening, also known as teeth bleaching, is a procedure where teeth that are stained or discolored gets whitened. While going to the dentist’s office to get this done is the most ideal, there recently has been a surge of DIY teeth whitening kits in the market that allow you to do it at home. Not everyone can go through this procedure, however, so going to the dental office and inquiring first is very important.

2. Composite Dental Bonding

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One of the most cost-effective procedures out there, composite bonding is used to repair some small damage to the teeth, like tooth decay and chipping due to trauma. This procedure usually involves the dentist using a special bonding agent to attach a composite over the damaged bits. Before anything is done, however, the dentist will first need to remove the damaged area to properly attach the composite, making for a slightly uncomfortable experience.

3. Cosmetic Implants

Dental implants usually involve a bit of minor surgery to pull off and is usually used to replace missing teeth. The device used is primarily made of titanium and is screws into the jawbone to act as the support for the artificial teeth. The implant is then anchored onto the device, and act as a normal tooth would. Implants are permanent and requires a lot of dedication before you should commit into it.

4. Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin porcelain or resin shells that cover the front side of the tooth. Veneers are used to fix a number of cosmetic issues with the teeth, including cracked enamels, crooked teeth and minor gaps. They’re custom-made for each patient and are usually cemented to the front of the tooth and has the potential to change the shape, size and color of the tooth. They are popular amongst people who work in Hollywood and can look very realistic.

5. Dental Crowns

Also known as dental caps, this item is usually placed over the entirety of the tooth, and much like veneers, are custom made specifically for each individual patient. They’re made typically from porcelain or acrylic and are usually fused with metal to improve its strength. This procedure typically involves teeth that are severely decayed, broken, chipped or to help cover the gaps between teeth.

6. Onlays and Inlays

Otherwise known as indirect fillings, they make use of gold, porcelain or composite materials to fill in decayed or damaged teeth. These fillings are usually molded in the dentist’s office, but are typically made at a separate facility, and only applied by your dentist once the custom-made fillings are done. The difference between inlays and onlays are how each is actually bonded to the teeth. The filling is an inlay if it’s bonded within the center of the tooth, and it’s an only if it’s applied on one or more points on the outside layer of the tooth. They’re a good alternative to dental crowns and try to maintain as much of the healthy parts of a tooth as possible, though they tend to be more expensive due to the amount of labor and materials used.

7. Cosmetic Orthodontics

Though typically associated with children, this sort of treatment has recently seen a surge of popularity amongst adults as well. It is typically used for cosmetic purposes to correct imperfections like crooked teeth, or buck teeth. While the effects of such a procedure take a bit longer to manifest compared to the rest, they tend to be permanent.

Although a number of dental cosmetic procedures are performed for aesthetic purposes, they also have a restorative benefit attached to them. They usually involve preventative measures as well, protecting your teeth from further deterioration on top of adding extra structural strength. Though these procedures may involve a good amount of expense, they are certainly worth a shot if only to make your smile brighter.

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