For most of human history, esthetics took a backseat to functionality when it came to dental restorations. From the earliest beeswax fillings to the gold and platinum metal crowns still used today, dental restorations looked like, well, dental restorations. Today’s patients prefer a more natural esthetic and the industry has responded by developing different types of dental ceramic that boast exceptional strength and good looks. Today, we’re shining a light on three restorative techniques that cross over into cosmetic territory.
In the 1850s, dental amalgam, an alloy of mercury, silver, and other metals, took the dental world by storm. Amalgam was easy to use, affordable, and effective at restoring the contours of a damaged tooth. Unfortunately, amalgam looks like metal and sticks out like a sore thumb when a person laughs or yawns. Since the 1990s, more dentists have opted to place composite resin fillings. Made from a mixture of plastics and highly reflective additives like silica, composite resin fillings placed by a talented cosmetic dentist look indistinguishable from natural tooth enamel.
Porcelain Dental Crowns
When it comes to restorative dentistry, porcelain crowns are the rock stars: they provide versatility, high esthetics, and durability. They can pair with a dental implant to replace a missing tooth, anchor a dental bridge, and support a tooth after a root canal. However, in some cases, porcelain crowns are used for more cosmetic purposes. For instance, teeth that have significant breaks or stains so severe that veneers can’t provide adequate coverage, a crown might be the best option.
It might be more accurate to talk about veneers as a cosmetic procedure that toes the restorative line. Veneers are primarily used to mask a number of cosmetic imperfections but they do provide extra structural support due to the strength of the porcelain. These thin shells are only .3mm to .5mm thick and cover the front of a tooth, so they can’t provide the same full-coverage support that crowns can.
About Shawn Hofkes, DDS
With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is qualified to provide comfortable, advanced cosmetic dentistry treatments from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.