General Dentistry

You may not be satisfied with the smile that mother nature gave you, but you’re not stuck with it. Thanks to the wonders of cosmetic dentistry, patients can enhance their natural smiles and eliminate any problematic aesthetic flaws. Additionally, many of these treatments can be completed in a short time frame, in as little as 90 minutes for in-office teeth whitening, for example. If there’s an aspect of your smile that bothers you, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our team at Advanced Family Dentistry to learn about the treatment options that can give you the smile of your dreams.

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Options

Cosmetic dentistry includes a variety of interventions, ranging from relatively simple and straightforward ones to those that are more complex and time-consuming. Teeth whitening is a particularly common and popular treatment option, and it can be completed in the office setting or in the comfort and convenience of the patient’s home.

Professional Teeth Whitening | Advanced Family Dentistry | Dentist in Cedar Park TX

Other cosmetic dentistry treatments include dental bonding, tooth-colored fillings, porcelain veneers and dental crowns. Tooth replacements such as dental bridges and dentures may also be considered somewhat cosmetic in nature, although they also play an important role in the structure and function of the smile.

These treatments may be provided individually or in combination, depending on the patient’s needs. If the patient is receiving multiple treatments, then certain procedures may need to occur earlier in the timeline. For example, in order for the smile to match, teeth should be whitened prior to veneer placement, as veneers do not respond to teeth whitening treatments.

Problems That Can Be Addressed By Cosmetic Dentistry

A host of problems that can plague the smile’s appearance can be eliminated using cosmetic dentistry. Discolored teeth due to age or staining can be brightened and whitened using bleaching agents, which can be stimulated by lasers to take effect in as little as 90 minutes. If the stains are too deep or dark to respond to teeth whitening, veneers can be used to hide those stains. Similarly, flaws such as chips or cracks can be hidden using various restorations, depending on the severity of the issue.

Zoom Whitening
At Advanced Family Dentistry & Braces, we offer Zoom whitening in order to whiten your teeth in our office. Zoom is a popular bleaching process that is widely used across the U.S., and it utilizes a special chairside lamp to activate a whitening solution of 25% hydrogen peroxide. As the hydrogen peroxide within the solution is broken down, oxygen will enter the dentin and enamel to bleach the teeth. The end result is a tooth structure that is unchanged, but enamel that appears significantly whiter.

The complete procedure will take about an hour and a half in our office. It typically starts with a regular tooth cleaning before the actual whitening session, your lips and gums will be covered so that only the teeth are exposed. Next, we will apply the Zoom whitening gel, and it will stay in place for 15 minutes while we activate the light. This process will happen three times, and immediately after you have finished, we will place a sensitivity-reducing fluoride solution onto your teeth in order to reduce the potential for discomfort.

At-Home Whitening
The at-home tooth whitening process will require two visits. During your first appointment, we’ll talk about what you are hoping to get out of the whitening process. We will examine the current shade of your teeth and can discuss how much of a change you are looking to achieve. Then, we will take impressions of your teeth, as this information will be used to customize a set of clear, plastic trays. This information and the shade specifications will be sent off to a dental lab so that your aligners can be fabricated.

Once your trays have been sent back from the lab, we will call you to set up your second appointment. During this session, we will have you try the trays on to ensure that they fit properly, and if adjustments are needed, we will make them in the office. We will then explain exactly how you should use the trays in order to whiten your teeth.

Typically, you’ll wear your trays either twice per day or overnight. They will be filled with a specialized whitening solution, and the amount of time that you need to wear them will depend on how white you want them to become and the degree of staining found on your teeth. Be aware that it is normal to experience tooth sensitivity while whitening, but these effects should subside after your treatment has ended.

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Questions

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry combines the art and science of dental medicine to deliver beautiful smile upgrades to patients. Its objectives are primarily aesthetic, rather than intended to promote or preserve oral health.

A cosmetic dentistry treatment plan may include teeth whitening to improve the color of the teeth, along with treatments that address damage to teeth due to injury or decay, such as porcelain veneers, dental bonding, fillings, crowns and prosthetic appliances to replace missing teeth. Some patients may only need a single treatment to achieve their smile goals, while others may need a complete overhaul including multiple procedures.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed on top of a biological tooth that has fairly extensive damage due to decay or injury. Dental crowns are also placed to protect teeth after root canal therapy. Crowns can be made of porcelain, ceramics, metal or a combination of those materials, and they are custom-made to blend in with the rest of the patient’s smile.

In order to place a dental crown, a dentist must first remove a layer of enamel to make room for the crown. A dental lab creates the crown, and the patient returns to the office to have the crown placed when it is back from the lab.

What is a veneer?

A veneer is a thin “shell” that is bonded to the front surface of a natural tooth to conceal certain defects, such as cracks, chips, or deep stains that don’t respond to conventional teeth whitening treatments, as well as problems like undersized or slightly crooked teeth. Veneers are often made of porcelain, but they can also be made of ceramic materials. Because the materials used in veneers mimic the appearance of biological tooth enamel, they can be used to improve the smile with a remarkably lifelike aesthetic.

Like dental crowns, porcelain veneers are custom-designed to fit each patient’s unique smile. After the dental lab crafts the veneers, the dentist can make any further adjustments requested by the patient prior to bonding them to the teeth. The process of getting veneers usually takes just a few weeks.

I have sensitive teeth, can I still whiten my teeth?

Some patients complain of increased tooth sensitivity after whitening their teeth, especially if they do so rather often. Therefore, if you’re predisposed to having sensitive teeth, this can be a concern. However, having sensitive teeth doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue teeth whitening. You may need to work with your dentist to take precautions against developing this condition, however. For example, your dentist may instruct you to brush using a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth for a few days prior to your teeth whitening treatment. The dentist may also advise that you spread your follow-up teeth whitening treatments a bit further apart. Talk to the dentist to develop a plan to reduce the effects of tooth sensitivity.