As one of the cosmetic dentists in North Carolina, I have been teaching other dentists in the United States, as well as two other countries, the value of cosmetic dentistry for over twenty years. On completing my second year of post-graduate training in hospital dentistry in 1988, I became an instructor and I was given the job of solving cosmetic dentistry problems for our patients in our hospital general practice. Some of these patients had teeth broken after intubation for general surgery. Our job was not only to give them new teeth but to make them look good. During those years I learned the importance of working with various dental specialists as well as knowing what you needed in order to get the best cosmetic dentistry results. The doctors doing the treatment were new dental graduates in their first year of practice. Since the doctors were graduates of dental schools from all across the country they sometimes presented different ways of solving the same problem. Needless to say, I learned just as much as I taught in that cosmetic dentistry program.
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Tooth colored fillings are mostly what we call composites. These are taking over from acrylics as the long term filling materials, because they can match the color of your teeth and last longer. Composites used in dentistry are basically hydrocarbons with quartz and glass particle fillers. Composites are widely used in the aerospace and other industries to provide for lighter strong materials that can be formed into various shapes. Porcelain is the other long term material that we use for crowns and bridges.
In the past, porcelain fused to metal or all metal crowns was the technology for crowning teeth. This technology has served us well and still is the treatment of choice in cases where you have decay of fillings or margins that go below the gums. Porcelain fused to metal is also the technology used to build porcelain bathtubs.
With the advent of Cad Cam technology, and Zirconium use as a substructure to porcelain, we now have many options as cosmetic dentists to make teeth look beautiful. 3M? Company uses technology to color the Zirconium substructure the same color as the root structure and then lab technicians apply porcelain to it, creating beautiful teeth. The resulting crown does not become discolored because there is no metal to oxidize. It costs a little more but it is well worth the investment.
Cad Cam technology uses a camera to take a picture of the prepared tooth and fabricate the missing part of the tooth using computer correlation technology to mill it. In office Cad Cam machines can be found in some cosmetic dentists’ offices and are being used in limited cases to restore teeth. Most cosmetic anterior esthetic crowns or veneers are still finished by the artistic skills of trained technicians. Some technicians use the Cad Cam technology to fabricate the substructure and then apply porcelain for the final result.
Cosmetic dentists have long known that different styles of teeth fit people with different facial structures. We have used the concepts of the Golden Proportion to help us with rebuilding an esthetic and functioning smile. Dentists who are very serious about cosmetic dentistry have an outlet by joining and participating in the various programs set up by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The more a cosmetic dentistry office combines the science of materials and techniques, with the artistic talents of sculpting a harmonious smile, along with good listening skills,’the closer they can get to satisfying the patient.
As a resident at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, I remember clearly Ed Jurim, a young lab technician who worked on the development of thin porcelain wafers to cover unattractive teeth, telling us how they could solve cosmetic problems. They were called porcelain veneers. I became one of the early adopters of this conservative treatment mode with my longest case that I know of, still in place since 1989. Later on I studied with Larry Rosenthal who gave hands on courses for other cosmetic dentists. His techniques on straightening rotated teeth were very helpful then and are still helpful today. Good fundamentals are always helpful. In North Carolina, Ross Nash and Rob Lowe have passed on valuable information to cosmetic dentists, from the use of photography to lasers used to enhance your results. On the show, Extreme Makeover, despite all the work that the plastic surgeons did on the patients, if their smile was not brilliant, they couldn’t be showcased as a successful transformation.
Cosmetic dentists are generally members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry indicates a practice that has an emphasis on using tooth colored restorations as well as additional tooth whitening technology in changing appearance by enhancing your smile. There are credentials that can be pursued in several organizations. A few cosmetic dentists do not do a lot of pediatric dentistry or dentures. Cosmetic dentists are heavily involved in continuing education as well as mentoring. This area is often mistaken as a specialty because some specialists like prosthodontists, oral surgeons, and periodontists deliver their specialty services to enhance cosmetics. See Meet Dr. Bonnick for more information about Dr. Bonnick’s High Point cosmetic dentistry practice and Our Practice Cosmetic Photos for photos illustrating what cosmetic dentistry has done for real people.
Call us at 336-841-0000 for more information about our cosmetic dentistry practice in High Point, NC.