Cosmetic Dental Procedures:
At Cochran Dental our primary goal is your oral health and dental well being. We want to help you KEEP THAT PRETTY SMILE® However what can you do if you don’t consider your smile very pretty. If this is your situation, we can help you achieve your dream smile through cosmetic dentistry. Information below concerning common cosmetic dental procedures is provided. For any other questions please contact us by calling (816)436-2150 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cochran.
If you consume coffee, tea and red wine, or any other foods that have the ability to stain your teeth, you have the potential to accumulate stains. Additionally tobacco use, both smoked or smokeless, can stain your teeth. While proper home care can help keep staining to a minimum, over time surface staining may accumulate and these pigments may absorb into the tooth causing discoloration. Many patients try to use “whitening” toothpastes to combat this problem. These types of toothpastes are primarily focused just on surface buildup and not the deeper color inside the tooth itself. This deeper type of tooth discoloration is referred to as intrinsic staining (inside of the tooth) vs. the accumulated external or extrinsic staining. Teeth whitening is an excellent way to improve your smile and restore the natural color of your teeth. It may even be possible to brighten them a few shades whiter than your natural color, if you would like.
At Cochran Dental we offer take-home teeth whitening kits to remove stains from your teeth. The at home whitening kits provide long lasting results with less relapse compared to some in office whitening. The process, while requiring more time, has the ability to remove stains from deeper within the teeth for longer lasting results. Keeping our teeth at their whitest can be difficult; If you continue to expose your teeth to stain this type of whitening can be repeated to return to a brighter tooth shade.
To accomplish the whitening of your teeth, utilizing an at-home tray whitening system, the process is completed in two steps. The first step requires taking an impression of your teeth. From this impression, we’ll make a mold of your teeth to fabricate custom whitening trays to specifically fit your mouth. These trays are durable and can last for a long time, if treated properly. During the at-home phase, you will load the gel into the trays in the areas that you desire to whiten. The loaded trays are then placed into your mouth over your teeth and left in over night. This nightly application causes a gradual brightening of your smile. The professional gel is formulated to work over a period of several nights to remove staining from within the teeth. This slow process helps to avoid sensitivity. To further prevent issues of sensitivity the gel that Dr. Cochran provides is formulated with fluoride. This helps to not only prevent sensitivity, but also can strengthen the teeth to prevent decay.
Please contact us today at (816)436-2150 to see if you are a candidate for this type of whitening.
If you are unhappy with your smile due to cosmetic issues that extend beyond just the color of the teeth you may be a candidate for veneers. Cosmetic Veneers can be used to change the size, shape, spacing, or angle of your teeth. This means that veneers can be utilized to reshape your teeth to correct many different smile issues, ranging from tooth alignment, gaps between teeth, or inappropriately sized or shaped teeth. These issues can appear at any time in a patients life from first eruption of the adult teeth to later in life as a result of years of year or trauma. Veneers can be used to repair small cracks or chips in the teeth.
If the teeth are otherwise healthy but have cosmetic concerns, you may want to consider the use of veneers to improve your smile. Veneers are made from a thin ceramic cover that often requires little to no preparation of the tooth. Because these restorations are a thin covering used on the outside of the natural teeth, they can be utilized to increase the length or width of the teeth. The added material mimics natural tooth enamel and can fill in spaces or add length to a tooth that has been worn or damaged on the biting edge. If happy with the size and shape of the teeth, but unsatisfied with the shade or color, veneers can be utilized to hide deep staining of the tooth that is unable to be removed through the bleaching process.
Depending on the desired results, the removal of a small amount of existing tooth structure may be required. This is however, a much more conservative procedure then a full coverage crown. If the tooth is otherwise healthy a minimal amount of reduction is required to create a natural appearing contour for the veneer. If decay, extensive wear, or tooth fracture are present a full coverage crown may be needed.
To see if you are a candidate for cosmetic dental veneers please call the office at (816)436-2150 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cochran.
The process to place veneers generally takes between two and three visits. During the first visit, we will discuss the desired new shape and appearance we are looking to accomplish by placing the veneers. Once a treatment plan has been established, the teeth will be carefully prepare for placement of the new veneers. Once necessary shaping has been completed an impression of the prepared teeth is taken. This impression is sent to the dental laboratory for fabrication of the veneer. This process takes between 10 to 14 days, if needed protective temporaries may be placed over the teeth. This provides a preview what the final veneers will be shaped like. When the lab has completed the necessary ceramic work the veneers will be returned to the office and you will be scheduled for the bonding appointment. During the placement appointment the veneers will first be trial fit to the teeth for approval by you and Dr. Cochran. Pending this approval, the veneers will be bonded to the teeth, utilizing long lasting dental adhesive. Once placed, the veneers should be cared for like natural teeth with good home care and regular dental checks. With good hygiene, the veneers can last for many years. The ceramic of the veneer is supported by your natural tooth so it can be made very thin, however this glass like material can be damaged by excessive forces, which should be avoided.
The use of “dental bonding” is another popular method to enhance the aesthetics of your smile. Composite can be used to close space between teeth, as a dental filling after the removal of tooth decay, or to cover up stains in discolored teeth.
The composite resin is molded to mimic or improve the original tooth. The resin is bonded to the tooth using special dental adhesive and cured in place after shaping is completed. The use of a blue colored curing light causes the material to harden. The focused blue light is of a high intensity and the dentist and assistant may use a filter to block some of the light to avoid eye strain, otherwise the light is completely safe, containing no UV wavelength. Once hard, final adjustments to the tooth are made with a polishing bur in the dental hand piece. Once adjusted to patient’s and doctor’s satisfaction, the composite is ready for use and no wait time is needed. Your new composite should be cared for in the same manner as other teeth with twice daily brushing and flossing to clean the surface. With good home care, the resin will last for a long time, however, should the need arise, this layer can be removed and replaced with new composite.
Bonding is an obvious cosmetic improvement over traditional silver colored fillings, however, there are still some situations where the need for amalgam is indicated. The use of amalgam vs. composite is something that Dr. Cochran can discuss with you in further detail. Here at Cochran Dental we do not artificially limit the available restorative material and will work together with you to determine which type of restoration will provide the best results. Whichever method is chosen, both materials are safe and can last for many years with proper care.
Over time, teeth wear and may begin to weaken becoming more susceptible to problems such as decay, cracks, discoloration and other issues. If you feel your smile isn’t what it once was, dental crowns can help restore your smile.
Crowns can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or fully from gold or other metal alloys. To maintain a natural look and feel, a porcelain-finished crown will have the best cosmetic appearance, as it can closely match the shade of your other teeth. This will allow it to blend in with your natural teeth. If changes to the original tooth are desired, it is often necessary to consider the adjacent tooth and the mirror tooth on the other side of the mouth. This is especially important when dealing with the two central teeth as they are right next to each other and discrepancies are more easily noticed. The use of a veneer made of the same material as the crown may be used on the other tooth if a second crown is not needed.
The fabrication of a new set of teeth can be used to correct any previous aesthetic issues with the natural smile. The alignment, shape, size, and color of the teeth are all things that are considered when fabricating a new set of dentures. With many options available, and the use of individually set teeth, we can create anything from a Hollywood perfect smile to a more natural smile, even restoring your own smile from an old photo when you were happy with your smile.