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What is Cosmetic Dentistry? Costs and Types

If your teeth are stained, discolored, worn, chipped, broken, misaligned, misshapen, or have gaps between them, modern cosmetic dentistry can give you a better smile. A “smile makeover” improves the appearance of your smile through one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures. Cosmetic dentists work with you to develop a treatment plan. Below you’ll find some information that can help you learn more about the various types of cosmetic dental procedures available.Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can be one of the simplest and least expensive ways to improve your smile. Teeth can be bleached with in-office products in your dentist’s office for about $500, or you can buy a mold and gels from your dentist to bleach your teeth at home. There are also whitening products available over the counter at retail stores for convenient at-home whitening: whitening toothpastes, rinses, and whitestrips. These products together run about $3 – $50.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored porcelain or resin that cover the front surface of the teeth. After removing about a half-millimeter of enamel from the tooth surface, these thin shells are bonded (cemented) to the front of the teeth, changing their color, shape, size, or length. Veneers are often called “Hollywood teeth.” Living up to that name, this process can cost up to $500-$1,300 per tooth.

Dental Bonding

In dental bonding, a tooth-colored, putty-like resin, which is a durable plastic material, is applied to the tooth and hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, bonding the material to the tooth. Your dentist then trims, shapes, and polishes it. Bonding can repair decayed, chipped, cracked, or misshapen teeth; it is also a good cosmetic alternative to, or replacement for, amalgam or silver fillings. Bonding takes about 30 to 60 minutes, and $100 to $400, per tooth.

Dental Crown

A dental crown, also called a cap, fits over and replaces the entire decayed or damaged tooth above the gum line, restoring its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns keep a weak tooth from breaking or hold a cracked tooth together; they can be used cosmetically to cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth. Crowns can be made from metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin, or ceramic, and cost about $500 to $900 each.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays, also called indirect fillings, are made from gold, porcelain, or composite materials and fill decayed or damaged teeth. Dental fillings are molded into place during an office visit; however, inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory and bonded into place by your dentist. The filling is called an “inlay” when the material is bonded within the center of a tooth; it is called an “onlay” when the filling includes one or more points of the tooth or covers the biting surface. Inlays and onlays preserve as much healthy tooth as possible and are an alternative to crowns. This cosmetic dentistry procedure costs about $650 to $1,200 per tooth.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are titanium replacement tooth roots inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw and providing a foundation for a replacement tooth. This procedure can cost anywhere from $1,250 to $3,000.

Other Options

A bridge is made of crowns for the teeth on either side of a gap with false teeth in between. A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth. Dental braces can straighten crooked or misaligned teeth and works by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction.What Causes Root Canals?
Common causes of root canals pain include:

Decay: Tooth decay that has penetrated the outer layers of the teeth causes root canal pain.
Damage: Cracks or chips in teeth can cause tooth decay and root canal pain.
Disease: Risk factors for infection in the tooth pulp include severe tooth decay, trauma to the tooth, recent dental procedures, large fillings, and cracks or chips in the teeth. If the cause of your teeth pain is serious decay or infection in the tooth pulp, your dentist may recommend a root canal.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
Not all types of teeth pain are indications for a root canal. But signs of infection severe enough to require a root canal include:

Serious teeth pain when eating or when you put pressure on the area
Teeth pain and sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers after the hot or cold stimuli have been removed
A small, pimple-like bump on the gums near the area of teeth pain
Darkening of the tooth
Tenderness or swelling in the gums near the area of teeth pain
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
A root canal procedure is less expensive than having a tooth removed and replaced with a dental implant. On average, the cost of a root canal in the United States is about $350 for an incisor and at least $520 for a molar. The cost varies depending on the severity of disease and the type of dental professional who treats the problem. An endodontist may charge more than a general dentist, for example.

Root Canal Procedure and Treatment Steps
A root canal is a multi-step dental procedure that involves removing the infected tooth pulp (and sometimes the nerve) from a tooth, and sealing it to protect against future teeth pain.

Here’s what you can expect when you have a root canal procedure to relieve root canal pain:

Setting the Scene: Your dental professional will take an x-ray to determine the extent of the infection.
Numbing Up: The first step in the actual procedure is a local anesthetic to numb the area and prevent teeth pain during the procedure. You will receive a local anesthetic to make you more comfortable, and a sheet of rubber called a “rubber dam” will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry.
Diving In: Next, your dentist or endodontist will drill an access hole into the tooth and use special tools to remove the damaged nerve and pulp tissue.
Closing Out: Once the infected material is removed, your dentist will either seal the tooth on the same day, or put in a temporary filling to protect you from root canal pain until a customized crown is ready. Sealing the tooth involves placement of a rubber compound into the root canal where the decayed material was removed. A filling is placed over the access hole.
Finishing Up: A crown, filling, or other tooth restoration completes the process of relieving your root canal pain. In some cases, your dentist may leave the tooth open so additional material can drain out of the tooth before it is filled and sealed. Some dentists will put a temporary filling in the tooth to protect the area while the infected material drains away completely. Many people who have undergone the procedure say it is no worse than having a cavity filled.
Root Canal Aftercare: After the Root Canal Procedure
Getting A Crown After the Root Canal
At your next appointment (usually in a few days or up to a week), a special composite filling will be placed in the center of the tooth. A tooth that has undergone a root canal almost always needs a crown or some other tooth restoration to protect what remains of the tooth and guard against future tooth pain.

Pain After a Root Canal
After a root canal, you may experience some tooth pain and sensitivity. Be sure to follow a regular oral care routine to maintain your crown and avoid future tooth pain. If you notice increased tooth sensitivity after a root canal, try using soft-bristled toothbrushes and oral care products designed specifically for sensitive teeth.

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