Dental implants and cosmetic dentistry provide two of the most valuable and exciting treatment options for today's dental patients. Dental implants have created opportunities that were unavailable in the past, while cosmetic dentistry has allowed people to enhance their appearance in ways never before possible. People who have not had a dental visit in many years are often amazed at what can be done to improve their dental health and their smile.
Dental implants, discovered by Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. P.I. Brånemark, have led to a vastly improved quality of life for the many people who suffer from the problems associated with missing teeth. Dental implants are titanium rods about a centimeter long that are placed inside the jawbone and serve the same purpose as the roots of teeth. They can replace lost teeth or be used to help keep dentures tightly in place. In some cases, dental implants are the only way to permanently replace missing teeth. This is important because some people cannot tolerate or are averse to wearing removable dentures. Dental implants are the single most important advancement in dentistry in the last 20 years.
Cosmetic dentistry is a relatively new concept and it has broad appeal. The truth is most people want their teeth to be straighter, whiter, and pleasing to the eye when they smile. Fortunately, new technology and procedures have created vast improvements in what a dentist can do. The procedure with the greatest impact is porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are custom-made porcelain wafers that the dentist places over the front of the teeth to enhance their appearance and repair cracked or chipped tooth damage. They can be used to improve a wide variety of cosmetic dental problems. They can whiten stained or discolored teeth, close gaps between teeth, "correct" a crooked smile without the need for dental braces, repair chips and imperfections, and create a more attractive or youthful looking smile.
The routine use of white fillings has been another recent trend. Today's white fillings are more lifelike and durable than ever and have become the material of choice for most dentists. One advantage of these fillings is that they blend in with teeth, helping to recreate an aesthetic and natural appearance.