The Practical Side of Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic. The word evokes thoughts of makeup and Botox injections and other little luxuries that, while certainly fun, are not essential to living a healthy, prosperous life. In America, we place a great deal of importance on how we look even as we scoff at people who spend “too much time” taking care on their outward appearance. While it may not correct this little cultural hypocrisy, cosmetic dentistry is one of those few areas that straddle the line between looking beautiful and healthy and being beautiful and healthy.

One Material, Multiple Uses

Composite resin, a plastic-based material used in several applications across the dentist’s office, epitomizes the blurred boundaries between cosmetic and restorative dental care. For instance, composite resin has all but completely replaced silver amalgam as the material of choice for filling cavities. Not only do composite fillings hold up to wear and tear, but they also blend in with your natural teeth (something silver amalgam doesn’t do). In addition, your dentist can also use composite resin to perform strictly cosmetic improvements, like repairing a chipped tooth, closing gaps between teeth, and masking severe enamel stains.

Veneers: The Strong, Beautiful Type

In the popular imagination, porcelain veneers are a bit like a trophy wife: high maintenance and beautiful, but ultimately lacking substance. Even the word “veneer” conveys the idea of superficiality. And while veneers do cover the front surface of a tooth with a thin ceramic sheath, these little restorations can do more than just look good.

Porcelain is fragile on its own, but once bonded to a sturdy foundation, it becomes incredibly strong. Veneered teeth perform as well – if not better – than natural teeth. In the case of teeth with chips or small breaks, veneers even serve a restorative function. Left on its own, a chip with a jagged edge can damage the soft tissues of the lips and cheeks, while all types of chips can eventually weaken the tooth, leading to further breakage. Reinforcing the tooth with porcelain veneers protects both the soft tissues and the tooth while simultaneously improving the appearance of your smile.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and certification in oral and IV sedation, Shawn Hofkes, DDS provides advanced dental services 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.