Cosmetic dentistry includes a variety of dental treatments aimed at improving the appearance of the teeth. The purpose of Cosmetic Dentistry is to improve the appearance of the teeth using bleaching, bonding, veneers, reshaping, orthodontics, or implants.
1.) Bleaching is done to lighten teeth that are stained or discolored. It entails the use of a bleaching solution applied by a dentist or a gel in a tray that fits over the teeth used at home under a dentist's supervision.
2.) Bonding involves applying tooth-colored plastic putty, called composite resin, to the surface of chipped or broken teeth. This resin is also used to fill cavities in front teeth (giving a more natural-looking result) and to fill gaps between teeth.
3.) Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that cover the front of the teeth. They improve the appearance of damaged, discolored, misshapen, or misaligned teeth. Reshaping involves the removal of enamel from a misshapen tooth so that it matches other teeth.
4.) Orthodontics uses braces to correct the position of crowded or misaligned teeth.
5.) Implants are artificial teeth which are attached directly to the jaw to replace missing teeth.
Inlays and Onlays
In Dentistry, an inlay is an indirect restoration (filling) consisting of a solid substance (as gold or porcelain) fitted to a cavity in a tooth and cemented into place. An onlay is the same as an inlay, except that it extends to replace a cusp. Crowns are onlays which completely cover all surfaces of a tooth.
Sometimes, a tooth is planned to be restored with an intracoronal restoration, but the decay or fracture is so extensive that a direct restoration, such as amalgam or composite, would compromise the structural integrity of the restored tooth or provide substandard opposition to occlusal (i.e., biting) forces. In such situations, an indirect gold or porcelain inlay restoration may be indicated. When an inlay is used, the tooth-to-restoration margin may be finished and polished to such a super-fine line of contact that recurrent decay will be all but impossible. While these restorations might be ten times the price of direct restorations, the superiority of an inlay in terms of resistance to occlusal forces, protection against recurrent decay, precision of fabrication, marginal integrity, proper contouring for gingival (tissue) health, and ease of cleansing offers an excellent alternative to the direct restoration.
When decay or fracture incorporate areas of a tooth that make amalgam or composite restorations inadequate, such as cuspal fracture or remaining tooth structure that undermines perimeter walls of a tooth, an onlay might be indicated. Similar to an inlay, an onlay is an indirect restoration which incorporates a cusp or cusps by covering or onlaying the missing cusps. All of the benefits of an inlay are present in the onlay restoration. The onlay allows for conservation of tooth structure when the only alternative is to totally eliminate cusps and perimeter walls for restoration with a crown. Just as inlays, onlays are fabricated outside of the mouth and are typically made out of gold or porcelain. Gold restorations have been around for many years and have an excellent track record. In recent years, newer types of porcelains have been developed that seem to rival the longevity of gold. made in a dental laboratory, a temporary is fabricated while the restoration is custom-made for the patient. A return visit is then required to fit the final prosthesis. Inlays and onlays may also be fabricated out of porcelain and delivered the same day utilizing techniques and technologies relating to CAD/CAM dentistry.