When people think of cosmetic dentistry they might think of Hollywood style makeovers. These makeovers, while great, do not work for every individual’s needs. The beauty
of cosmetic dentistry is that it can oftentimes show major results with minimum work. It takes an experienced cosmetic dentist to be able to see that a small change may be all that is necessary for a patient to fulfill their needs and wants.
Minimum dentistry encompasses all the possible treatment options available in cosmetic dentistry but just on a smaller scale. It means, to be as efficient and conservative as possible with time, treatment,tooth strcuture, and money to gain maximum results with the resources we have available.
Which cosmetic dentistry procedures are available for minimum dentistry?
-Tooth Reshaping (also called tooth re-contouring, or enameloplasty) – This simple, effective minimum dentistry procedure allows your cosmetic dentist to reshape your teeth very minimally to change length, width, or thickness. This is very effective for teeth with varying lengths or ones that are slightly out of line with each other. This will not work in cases of more severe misalignments as you run the risk of removing too much tooth structure causing sensitivity teeth.
-Teeth Whitening – A minimum dentistry procedure, that can whiten your teeth in as little as an hour. There are various types of teeth whitening available. These include in office teeth whitening (done in as little as an hour), at home teeth whitening (completed over a period of 2 weeks or so). There are also over the counter methods of teeth whitening available. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. The most efficient method is in office whitening but it is also the most expensive.
-Dental Bonding – Another minimum dentistry procedure that can be completed in under an hour that can dramatically change a smile. A chipped tooth or a gap can make your smile look less attractive. Dental bonding can close that gap and restore a chipped tooth to its natural appearance.
-Inlays and Onlays – Inlays and onlays require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure when compared to dental crowns. These are usually made of porcelain to make the final restoration as cosmetic as possible. Removal of healthy tooth structure increases the risks of both tooth fracture and the possible need for root canal therapy after the crown is completed. The inlay or onlay can serve a wonderful purpose, by preserving tooth structure, as well as being a more cost effective option to a full porcelain crown.
-Lumineers – This is truly a minimum dentistry procedure. This requires little to no tooth preparation. The trade off is, that the final product can often look bulky and out of place. For that reason most skilled cosmetic dentists reject this procedure.
-Snap On Smile – Another cosmetic minimum dentistry procedure that requires no tooth preparation. It is literally as the name suggests…a new smile you snap on over your existing teeth. For many patients this is the answer for special events like a wedding, job interviews, etc. Snap on smile is especially useful when major dental work would be required to alter the smile properly.
-Ginival recontouring - Also called a gum lift or gingivoplasty. This procedure removes a bit of gum tissue to allow short teeth to appear longer, to decrease a gummy smile, and to even out the gum line.
Cosmetic dentistry procedures do not have to cost a fortune and require a lot of time in the dentist’s office. Minor changes to a smile can bring dramatic results. The ultimate goal of any cosmetic dentistry procedure is to meet the patients goals and to create a functional final result. Minimum dentistry allows for everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of cosmetic dentistry especially with a limited budget of time and money.