A smile is an important part of an individual’s person. Smile dentistry can help repair or enhance smiles to help them be as beautiful as possible.
What is Smile Dentistry?
Smile dentistry is the name given to a set of procedures that focus on repairing or enhancing a patient’s smile as well as their overall oral health. Smile dentistry has cosmetic elements, but is not strictly cosmetic, as many of the procedures are also used to relief pain and discomfort, prevent infection, and protect a patient’s teeth and jaws.
What are Smile Dentistry Procedures?
There are a number of procedures used in smile dentistry. This guide will give a list of the most common procedures and provide a brief description of each one. Smile dentistry is a big decision, and any decisions should be made with a qualified prosthodontist to ensure that the patient gets the right smile dentistry solution for them.
All-on-4® Dental Implants
All-on-4 dental implants is a procedure that lets patients receive replacement teeth in one visit without having to use bone grafting procedures. This makes is an excellent choice for patients who have many missing or broken teeth but do not have the time or capacity for a full implant treatment.
All on 4 dental implants involve a prosthodontist selecting the best place for dental implants based on a patient’s bone health, installing the implants, and then using replacement teeth bonded one to another to reconstruct the patient’s full smile. The result is a great looking smile, less pain and discomfort while chewing, prevention of further bone loss, and more.
Smile Dentistry Before and After
Actual smile makeover patient photos of Dr. Barsky.
Cosmetic dentistry is a series of procedures designed to enhance the appearance of a smile. It is used to repair or replace missing, broken, stained, or discolored teeth. Cosmetic dentistry can take a number of forms, and each patient may benefit from different procedures.
In addition to enhancing smiles, cosmetic dentistry also helps prevent infection from gum disease, improves oral hygiene, reduce the effects of TMJ, or temporomandibular Joint disorders, which can ease pain and discomfort a patient is experiencing.
Dental crowns are an artificial cap placed on a tooth to protect it from further damage, and to repair the patient’s smile. The patient’s teeth are examined, and Dr. Barsky will create crowns customized to the particular patient. The broken or chipped teeth are then prepared, usually by filing to create room for the crown. The crown is bonded to the tooth, covering and protected the chipped or broken part.
Patients have reported that dental crowns have improved their smile, as well as reducing pain and sensitivity, enhancing confidence, and helping them chew and eat without discomfort. Dental crowns are a good option for patients with teeth that have minimal damage and are largely intact.
Dental implants are the gold standard of tooth replacement in modern dentistry. Dental implants are usually installed over the course of two to three office visits, and result in a smile that is nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth.
Dental implants involve the following steps:
- Broken or damaged teeth are removed
- The jawbone is evaluated and prepped for surgery, this can include bone grafting.
- The jawbone is given time to heal and repair itself
- Dental implants are placed into the jawbone
- Artificial teeth are fabricated and installed on the dental implants
There are many different techniques for bone grafting that patients may consider. It is important to discuss these decisions with a certified prosthodontist in order to determine the best procedure for a specific patient.
The different bone grafting techniques include:
- Autograft: Using bone from the patient’s own body to provide the grafting materials to strengthen the jaw
- Allograft: Using bone tissue from another person for the bone grafting procedure
- Xenograft: Using bone tissue from another species to provide the necessary material for bone grafting.
There are also a number of different types of implant procedures that patients may consider. These procedures include:
- Implant Overdentures: This procedure involves replacing all of the teeth with either removable dentures or implanted-supported dentures that are fixed and permanent.
- Implant Crowns: This procedure is used when there is only a single tooth that needs to be replaced.
- Implant Bridgework: This procedure is used when there are several teeth in a row that need to be replaced.
In order for the dental implants to be successful, it is important that a patient maintain good oral hygiene. This includes abstaining from activities like tobacco use. Furthermore, the patient must be free of conditions that can complicate the implant procedure like chemotherapy or some types of diabetes.
Dental veneers are an option for patients who have stained, discolored, cracked, or chipped teeth. A dental veneer is a slim piece of material that is bonded to the front of the tooth to cover stains, chips, and cracks. It is a good option for patients who have moderate damage to one or a few teeth, but do not require full dental implants. Dental veneers can enhance smiles while protecting teeth from further damage. They are very discreet and the materials available for modern techniques make them almost invisible.
Dentures are used to replace teeth that have been broken or lost. They are a removable prosthesis that can be used to replace all or several of the teeth on the lower or upper jaw. Dentures can be fully or partially removable, and may be supported by implants or fixed on implants.
Full Mouth Reconstruction
Full mouth reconstruction is an involved procedure that reconstructs the entirety of a patients smile. It involves a combination of several procedures, and will be different according to each patient’s specific needs. Full mouth reconstruction can involve a combination of dental crowns, dental implants, and dental veneers.
Invisalign is a tooth alignment system that employs transparent, removable trays to help properly align a patient’s teeth. They can be used in lieu of traditional braces and may be removed for eating and cleaning, which means that many patients prefer them to traditional braces.
Lumineers® are thin dental veneers that involve less preparation that traditional dental veneers. They are bonded directly to the tooth’s surface, which is different from dental veneers in that dental veneers require a small layer of enamel to be removed to make room for the veneers.
Teeth bonding is a procedure that uses a resin substance to fill in chips and cracks in teeth. This can help restore a patient’s smile while at the same time protecting the teeth from further damage or deterioration. Teeth bonding can be useful for patients that have slight damage to one or a few teeth, but do not warrant more intensive procedures. The resin is applied to the damage tooth, and is then hardened and colored by the prosthodontist to match the natural color of a patient’s teeth.
Teeth cleaning is a procedure recommended every 3-6 months. It combines a visual examination to ensure that oral health is maintained, as well as a high quality cleaning that removes plaque and tarter. The latest technology uses ultrasonic means to remove plaque, tarter, stains, and flakes.
Teeth whitening is a procedure that uses a specialized gel to whiten teeth. This is used to help restore and enhance teeth that have stains or discoloration. The gel uses hydrogen peroxide to penetrate deep into the stains on the teeth and lift them away.
Meet Smile Dentistry Expert and Board Certified Prosthodontist, Dr. Todd Barsky.
What are the Advantage of Using a Prosthodontist for Smile Dentistry?
There are many different choices when it comes to choosing an oral health professional. However, the best option for smile dentistry is a certified prosthodontist. A board-certified prosthodontist has an additional five years of training and certification to ensure that they are not only experts at maintaining and enhancing oral health, but also in ensuring the aesthetic qualities of a patients smile are enhanced in an optimum way.
Should I Consider Smile Dentistry?
If you have broken, missing, stained, or damaged teeth then you may be a candidate for smile dentistry. Smile dentistry is not a decision that should be made lightly, and any decisions about the best procedures for you should be made in consultation with a qualified prosthodontist. If you are considering smile dentistry and live in South Florida, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, or the Miami area, contact Dr. Todd Barsky, DDS, FACP, to set up an appointment. Dr. Barsky is the only Board Certified prosthodontist in private practice in Miami. He will be able to determine the best procedures for your cosmetic dentistry needs.