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Personalized Cosmetic Enhancements at our Littleton Dental Office

A smile costs nothing, but it is worth so much. It spreads joy and happiness while presenting you in the best possible light. If dental imperfections are standing between you and your smile, cosmetic treatments can help.

Suncreek Dental Group uses cosmetic dentistry to highlight the natural beauty of your smile. There is no better time than now to let Dr. Ryan L. Cooper enhance your smile and boost your self-confidence.

Whether you would like a few minor changes or a complete smile makeover, cosmetic dentistry offers many treatment options. Even those looking for dramatic changes in their appearance will be surprised at how quickly and easily treatments can transform how you look and feel.

Because these are considered preferential treatments, many Insurance companies don’t cover the cost. Sometimes treatment for damages like chips and cracks can also be considered restorative, and thereby qualify for insurance coverage. Cosmetic treatments can also replace missing teeth, fill the gaps between teeth, make gums appear less prominent, and restore old silver fillings to new, more advanced material that looks more natural.  

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments

Teeth WhiteningProfessional and over the counter whitening has become a popular method to remove stains and brighten teeth. This cosmetic treatment is one of the least expensive and simplest ways to enhance your smile and appearance. Products you get from your dentist are more effective and safer and should only be used if your overall oral health is stable.

Professional bleaching gel is used in the office for rapid results and can lighten teeth by several shades. Patients can also take whitening kits home to brighten teeth at their own pace. Since many cosmetic treatments need to match your existing tooth color, it’s a good idea to lighten your teeth first, then add custom restorations. 

The Whitening Procedure:

  • Treatment begins by making sure your teeth and gums are healthy enough for the procedure.
  • After a thorough cleaning to remove debris, photographs will record the color of your teeth.
  • A coating to protect your gums will be applied, followed by the first application of the whitening gel.
  • After 15 minutes, the gel is removed, and your progress is checked, and then the gel is applied twice more at 15-minute intervals.
  • Your mouth will then be rinsed and cleaned, then photographed to show the dramatic change in color.

The entire teeth whitening process usually takes no more than 90 minutes. To care for whitened teeth, avoid enamel-staining drinks such as teas, coffee, and wine and use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

Composite BondingBonding helps improve how the teeth look if they are chipped, broken, cracked, stained, or have excess space between them. The procedure involves the application of enamel-like composite resin that is shaped and moulded, hardened with an ultraviolet or laser light, and then buffed and polished. Bonding is a quick, easy treatment for economically treating mild damage or making slight corrections. The color is precisely matched to the surrounding enamel, as it seamlessly bonds to teeth.

Why Might You Need Cosmetic Bonding?

  • Closing spaces or gaps
  • Fixing chipped teeth
  • Fixing decayed teeth (teeth with cavities)
  • Lengthening uneven teeth
  • Protecting roots exposed by receding gums
  • Restoring badly discolored teeth

Gum Grafts: Sensitivity to hot and cold can begin with gum recession that exposes the root of the tooth. This condition makes the teeth appear longer and can increase the risk of decay or even bone loss. Gum grafts transfer healthy gum tissue to another part of the mouth to prevent or stop recession of the gums and bone loss in addition to improving the aesthetic look of the gum line.

Porcelain VeneersDramatically transform the color, shape, size, and position of teeth with veneers. Veneers are wafer-thin tooth-colored pieces of porcelain or resin bonded to the surfaces of the teeth. This treatment is done to change the color or shape of a tooth, or to repair chips, cracks, or gaps. Veneers are often used for the same issues as bonding and can sometimes be an alternative to crowns. Veneers can last 15-20 years if you take care of them and you don’t use your teeth as tools to open packages or break a string.

Dentures: Dentures are removable artificial prosthetics that replace missing teeth and surrounding gum tissue. There are two types of dentures, complete and partial. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth are remaining, while complete dentures are used when all the teeth on either the top or bottom jaw need replacement.

ClearCorrect AlignersThese aligners are a discreet and comfortable treatment to correct mild to moderate misalignment. You can remove them during meals, for hygiene treatments, and on special occasions.

Wearing these clear aligners all day is easy since they are designed to fit comfortably and are virtually undetectable. Your unique series of aligner trays are crafted from a detailed impression of your bite. What’s impressive about treatment with clear braces is the option to view a digital rendering of your progress from the first tray to the last even before you begin treatment.

Orthodontics: Nowadays, both children and adults are benefiting from orthodontic treatment. Clear or metal Braces work by applying steady pressure to the teeth to reposition them gradually into alignment. This treatment can help improve bite issues, relieve jaw pain, and increase confidence. Orthodontic treatment lasts for about 1-3 years after which retainers replace the braces to hold the teeth in their new position.

Porcelain Crowns: A durable aesthetic enhancement, patients can customize crowns to achieve a signature smile. Also known as caps, crowns are placed over a damaged tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. Crowns or caps are made from ceramic, metal, resin, or porcelain-fused-to-metal and even zirconia for optimal aesthetics. With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, crowns can last from 5-15 years and sometimes longer.

Reasons for crowns:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
  • The tooth has a root canal.

Fixed Bridges or Dental Implant Restorations: Implants are a long-term solution to replace missing teeth and are among one of the most expensive cosmetic dentistry treatments. These beautiful prosthetic crowns and can replace a missing tooth or multiple teeth. Fixed bridges use neighboring teeth for support, whereas dental implant restorations use titanium posts surgically placed into the jaw bone.

Inlays/Onlays: Also known as indirect fillings, these are often made from porcelain or composite materials and used to fill areas where decay is removed. Unlike fillings which are created immediately during your office visit, inlays and onlays are fabricated in a dental laboratory first before your dentist can fit and bond them into place. When the filling material is bonded in the center of a tooth, it is called an “inlay”; when the restoration is done on the biting surface, it is called an “onlay.”  

5 Habits to Maintain A Beautiful Smile 

Avoiding bad habits and following a few simple rules will help you keep your smile beautiful and healthy for a lifetime.

  1. Brush twice per day and floss nightly: Brushing in the morning and before bedtime keeps plaque from turning into tartar, which will require professional cleaning to remove. Add an extra brushing after consuming foods high in sugar or carbohydrates. Avoid brushing immediately after drinking orange juice or soda, as the high acid content can be abrasive to tooth enamel. You can combat the development of cavities further by flossing every day.
  • Visit your dental office twice per year: Regular dental visits are a vital part of maintaining a healthy smile. Scheduling and keeping these appointments allows your dentist to find early signs of decay and treat any issues quickly. You need regular cleanings to remove stubborn bacteria-containing tartar. Missed dental visits can lead to dental emergencies or complex problems that may require more invasive procedures to correct.
  • Use a straw or brush more often: Wine, coffee, tea, and other darkly pigmented foods and drinks are notorious for staining teeth. Using a straw when possible or brush immediately after consuming them to help prevent this. (However, don’t use a straw for hot beverages, as this can burn your mouth.)
  • Wear a mouthguard: Dental-related injuries are common if you are active in sports, and you can prevent them by protecting your teeth with a personalized mouthguard. A well-crafted, customized mouthguard is your best bet to avoid a dental injury.
  • Consider orthodontics: Clear braces allow mature teens and adults to achieve correctly aligned teeth discreetly and effectively. At the end of treatment, ask the dentist for some professional strength take-home whitening gel to use with the final aligner tray.

Getting Braces

Girl with braces

If you’ve been thinking about getting braces, you may have some questions and concerns. Knowing what to expect can make the process less nerve-wracking and help you focus on the results – a perfect smile! Even though braces are most often associated with teenagers, there is no age limit for orthodontic treatment. Whether you are an adult or a teen, correcting misalignment can have a positive effect on your self-esteem, and improve your overall oral health. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean, and when you are happy with your smile, you are more motivated to keep it that way by brushing and flossing regularly and visiting your dentist. Of course, the best way to get personalized answers to your questions is to ask your orthodontist, but maybe you haven’t quite made it that far yet. Here are all the things that you wanted to know about braces before making that first appointment.

How Do Braces Work?

Braces work through the application of steady pressure over time to gradually move your teeth into alignment. Brackets and wires work together, and the pressure creates a biochemical response in the periodontal membrane. This “Remodeling” occurs as the stimulation applied to bone and tissue causes new cells to generate and grow, changing the position of the teeth.

The Components of Braces

  • Brackets are tiny squares attached to the face of each tooth with a special type of glue. Sometimes they are attached to orthodontic bands instead. These brackets function similarly to handles and hold onto the wires that move the teeth. Some brackets are made from stainless steel, while others are white ceramic or plastic, which blends with the tooth, and is less visible. There are also options where the brackets are worn on the back side of the teeth, making them less noticeable.
  • Bands wrap around each tooth and create an anchor point for the brackets. These bands are created from stainless steel, or clear materials which are then attached to the teeth. Stainless steel bands are the most affordable option while the white or clear bands cost more. These bands are not always required.
  • Spacers fit between teeth creating tiny gaps before the placement of bands.
  • Arch wires are attached to the brackets and assist in guiding the alignment of teeth. These wires can be made up of clear or white materials, or metal in certain cases.
  • Ties are a little rings or wires that attach arch wires to brackets.
  • Springs are sometimes placed on the arch wires between the brackets to create controlled adjustments to the spacing and placement of teeth.

How Much Will Braces Cost?

Braces typically cost between $5000 to $7000 total. The cost of the braces can vary depending on the materials used, along with many other factors that can vary from case to case. For example, braces made from stainless steel tend to be more affordable than braces that incorporate materials such as ceramic. Another thing to keep in mind is that traditional braces cost about the same as clear alignment trays, such as Invisalign and Clear Correct.

How Long Does Treatment Last?

The total time frame required for braces to do their job varies from case to case. This depends on the degree of misalignment and the overall health of the teeth, gums, and bones, as well as how closely you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. For most people treatment will last between 1 to 3 years. Once the braces are taken off, you will need to wear a retainer all of the time for about six months, and then overnight indefinitely to maintain the results.

Regular Appointments Keep Your Treatment on Track

You will need to see your orthodontist about once a month to make sure the the right amount of pressure is being applied. Too much pressure can be harmful for your gums and jawbone, and to little will not produce results. These visits usually involve making tiny adjustments to the springs, rubber bands, and wires of the braces. Your orthodontist may ask you to wear headgear during the evening or at night to help the braces do their job in certain cases when braces alone are not sufficient to achieve your desired alignment.

Braces can make it more difficult to get your teeth really clean and free of plaque causing bacteria. Regular visits during orthodontic treatment will allow the hygienist to perform more effective cleaning to keep your gums and bone healthy.

Do Braces Hurt?

When you first get your braces there will be some general soreness as your bite adjusts. The inside of your cheeks and your gums can also be irritated at the beginning. This discomfort is usually minor and a pain reliever such as Motrin or Tylenol will only be needed temporarily. Braces wax can also be applied to any areas where the metal is causing abrasions or sores. You should experience only a minimal amount of pain during treatment with braces, and it can be minimized with careful adjustments by your orthodontist.

What if I Play Sports?

If you’re playing a sport that involves the risk of getting hit, such as football or wrestling, you will want to wear a mouth-guard. Most orthodontists tend to recommend a custom fitted mouth-guard, as these fit bit better and provide more protection than the more generic mouth-guards available at stores.

Life After Braces

Once braces are removed, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned by your orthodontist to remove any residue of glue. They will then take a new set of x-rays and bite impressions to see how well successful the treatment was and make sure all the teeth have gone into their desired positions.

If you have any new wisdom teeth that have broken through during treatment, your orthodontist may recommend they be removed. This is because wisdom teeth can significantly change the placement of teeth and the jawbone and undo all the work that was just completed.

Next you will be fitted for a retainer. Wearing your retainer is important to maintaining the new alignment of your teeth. This is a critical phase of your orthodontic treatment. A retainer will keep your new alignment in place and even continue making small corrections. Your teeth can easily shift out of alignment and back into their old positions if you do not wear your retainer regularly. It is also very important to take care of your retainer properly and not lose it. Consistently wearing your retainer and keeping up with your regular dental visits will ensure that your orthodontic treatment last for many years.

It’s Never Too Late to Enhance Your Smile

Your smile is one of the most important aspects of your appearance and having a perfect set of teeth can aid in boosting your confidence level. However, if your teeth are stained, crooked or otherwise flawed, you can use cosmetic dentistry to help create your perfect smile. Our team is passionate about how art and science can enhance your smile and highlight your natural beauty. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

(303) 933-2522
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