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Cosmetic Dentistry Definitions

Dec 24, 2007
You communicate with the world through your smile. Smiles signify youth, strength, happiness and good health. If your smile is not what you wish it could be, cosmetic dentists can help you change your life by providing you with excellent, personal care. A more youthful, brighter-looking smile may be just a visit away with cosmetic dentistry.

You deserve the best care in cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry as well as the latest technological advances in dental equipment and techniques. Learn more about what cosmetic dentistry and discover more about the solutions for your continued excellent health.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Your smile displays your happiness and confidence to people around you. If your smile is not what you wish it could be, cosmetic dentists can help you change your life through cosmetic dentistry. A more youthful, brighter-looking smile may only be a visit away.

General Dentistry

Most of the conditions that negatively affect your smile can be avoided with regular care. Your dentist is committed to answering your questions about proper hygiene and providing you with the most advanced preventive dentistry.


A dental implant can be used to restore a single tooth or an entire set of teeth. Dental implants involve the placement of a surgical grade titanium post directly into the jawbone by one of the doctor's trusted specialists. As the bone bonds to the post, it forms a secure foundation for the attachment of a dental prosthetic (denture) that is custom created for you. While typical dentures shift and require the use of denture adhesives to keep them in place, implants fit solidly, reducing the problems associated with traditional dentures such as gum sores, difficulty speaking and difficulty chewing. Implants are sometimes used instead of bridges to maintain the integrity of the teeth on either side of the gap.

Intraoral Camera

You see what your dentist sees. By using an intraoral camera, you will have a greater understanding of your oral health and of the treatments that the doctors are prescribing for you. A dentist's use of this technology goes a long way in educating our patients about their oral health, while lessening any feelings of anxiety that some patients may feel while visiting the dentist.

Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal disease (also called gum disease) refers to the infection of the supportive tissues of the mouth due to toxic bacteria found in plaque. Many individuals suffer from some degree of gum disease, gingivitis being the early stage, and if left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, break down of the soft tissue in the mouth and jaw and other significant health problems. Your dentist assesses your periodontal health and if needed, conducts the appropriate therapy to restore gums and supportive tissues.

Porcelain Bridges

When teeth are missing, your smile undergoes significant changes. Missing teeth cause you to chew differently, may cause mouth pain, and as your remaining teeth work to compensate for the loss, gaps and spaces form that only make the situation worse. A porcelain bridge, custom designed by your doctor, keeps your smile aligned and your bite functional. Bridges are anchored to existing teeth or crowns on either side of the missing tooth. They are semi-permanent, meaning they can only be affixed or removed by a dentist and are a long-term restorative solution to your damaged smile.

Porcelain Crowns

You can erase years of wear and tear with porcelain crowns. Sometimes called "caps," porcelain crowns are customized for you, covering broken, cracked or discolored teeth. Crowns are a durable, strong, long lasting method of enhancing both the look and functionality of your smile. After some preparation of the tooth or teeth that will receive the crown, your dentist will position a custom milled, lifelike porcelain crown over your damaged tooth, restoring and rejuvenating your oral health.

Porcelain Veneers

Imagine a whiter, more brilliant smile! Porcelain veneers are conservative cosmetic dentistry that makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of your teeth. If you have chipped teeth, crooked teeth, gaps in teeth or dull or stained teeth, veneers may be the perfect solution for you. Your dentist will skillfully bond and shape thin strips of porcelain to your teeth, creating a straight, brilliant smile that enhances your appearance and your self esteem.

Restorative Dentistry

Your smile today may not be as brilliant as it once was. Years of wear and tear, injury, or poor care can hurt the look and function of your teeth.

Root Canal

Damage to the nerve tissue inside of a tooth sometimes requires a root canal procedure. Despite the tales you may have heard regarding the procedure, most root canals are minimally uncomfortable, especially compared to the pain and discomfort you may be feeling before the procedure. Your dentist takes advantage of advances in technology and dental techniques that make root canal procedures more effective while taking less time.

A root canal involves removing the soft tissue within the tooth - the pulp - when it has become infected and inflamed. Your dentist gently files the infected tissue out of the root canals of the tooth (this is where the procedure gets its name) and fills the void with an inert material. The procedure is completed with the placement of a filling or in some cases, a crown.

Tooth Colored Fillings

When the decay has been taken out of the tooth, it is replaced with "filling" material. In the past, amalgam (silver) fillings were placed into the cleaned out portion of the tooth. With advancements in dentistry, you can now have tooth-colored fillings instead of silver fillings.

Tooth Whitening

You may be quite happy with the size and alignment of your teeth. However, time has dulled or yellowed their surface. There are several tooth whitening programs, including at-home treatments and professional treatments in the office. A brilliant smile may be as close as a single treatment away and is an affordable method of enhancing your entire appearance.

Waterlase technology combines laser energy and water into a dental tool that works without heat, pressure or vibration. This laser-energized spray of water is used for a wide variety of hard and soft tissue procedures including cavity preparation, removal of decay and gum recontouring. You'll notice that you will require less anesthetic and experience less discomfort, all while receiving a higher quality of care.
About the Author
Dave Stringham is the President of LookingYourBest - an online resource for plastic surgery. Iowa plastic surgeons. Find a Iowa Dentist
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