Cosmetic Dentistry


Can my dentist improve my smile?

From subtle changes to major repairs, your dentist can perform a variety of procedures to improve your smile. There are many techniques and options to treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshapen or missing. Your dentist can reshape your teeth, close spaces, restore worn or short teeth or alter the length of your teeth. Common procedures include bleaching, bonding, caps, crowns, veneers, and reshaping and contouring.  These improvements are not always cosmetic. Many of these treatments can improve oral problems, such as your bite.

Bleaching - Tooth Whitening

Bleaching is a common and popular chemical process used to whiten teeth. Some people get their teeth bleached to make stains disappear, while other just want a whiter shade. Discoloration occurs in the enamel and can be caused by medication, coffee, tea and cigarettes. Discoloration also can be caused by your genetic make-up or simply getting older. Bleaching can be performed by your dentist in the office or, under dental supervision, at home. Many patients enjoy bleaching at home because it is more convenient. Treatment begins when your dentist creates a custom mouthpiece to ensure the correct amount of whitening solution-10 percent to 20 percent carbamide peroxide-is used and that your teeth are properly exposed. Typically, whitening at home takes two or three weeks, depending on the desired shade you wish to achieve. Whitening in the office may call for two to six 45-minute visits to your dentist's office.


Bonding is tooth-colored material used to fill in gaps or change the color of teeth. Requiring a single office visit, bonding lasts several years. Bonding is more susceptible to staining or chipping than other forms of restoration. When teeth are chipped or slightly decayed, bonded composite resins may be the material of choice. Bonding also is used as a tooth-colored filling for small cavities and broken or chipped surfaces. Additionally, it can be used to close spaces between teeth or cover the entire outside surface of a tooth to change its color and shape.


Also known as caps, are used in cases where other procedures will not be effective. Crowns have the longest life expectancy of all cosmetic restorations, but are the most time consuming.


Veneers are placed over the front teeth to change color or shape of your teeth. Veneers are used on teeth with uneven surfaces or are chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced or crooked. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic cemented over the front of your teeth. Little or no anesthesia is needed. Veneers are used to treat some of the same problems as bonding. This treatment is an alternative to crowns, which are more expensive. The procedure requires your dentist to take an impression of your tooth. Before the custom-made veneer is glued directly onto the tooth, your dentist will lightly buff the tooth to compensate for the added thickness of the veneer. Once the cement is between the veneer and your tooth, a light beam is used to harden it. Porcelain veneers require more than one visit because they are fabricated in a laboratory. Veneers have a longer life expectancy and color stability than bonding.

Contouring and reshaping

Tooth reshaping and contouring, is a procedure to correct crooked teeth, chipped teeth, cracked teeth or even overlapping teeth in a single session. Tooth reshaping and dental contouring, is commonly used to alter the length, shape or position of your teeth. Contouring teeth may also help correct small problems with bite. It is common for bonding to be combined with tooth reshaping.  This procedure is ideal for candidates with normal healthy teeth, but who want subtle changes to their smile. Your dentist will take X-rays to evaluate the size and location of the pulp of each tooth to ensure that there's enough bone between the teeth to support them.

Which procedure is right for me?

Your dentist can answer many of the questions you may have about techniques used to improve your smile. The condition of your teeth and desired result you want often dictates the best procedure. If you are considering a treatment, there are a few questions you can ask your dentist before deciding if a particular procedure is right for you.

•What will the changes look like?

•What should I expect through the course of treatment?

•What type of maintenance will be required?

Your dentist will answer questions you may have about the procedure, maintenance and price to help you choose the treatment that best suits you.

Chipped Teeth

Lighting at nightclub and movie theaters often reveals which smiling patrons have had a chipped tooth repaired. Yet, there is an innovative, simple and natural approach to hide these restorations.

If an accident happens and the tooth is chipped, find the chip, save it and visit the dentist immediately. If the tooth isn't broken across the nerve, the dentist can etch the enamel on both the good tooth and the tooth chip, use a light-cured adhesive and secure the chip to the tooth.

In some cases this technique works better than bonding. Bonded material reflects light differently and in certain settings, the restored portion of the tooth always appears different than the natural enamel.  Although bonding is widely used to restore chipped teeth, it is difficult to obtain a perfect match to the original enamel. Patients will always have the same tooth shade if the dentist can use the natural tooth chip for a restoration.

If an accident happens, and a tooth is chipped, put the chip in a plastic baggie. Keep the chip moist by adding drops of water to the bag or wrapping it in a wet gauze. The most important factor when chipping a tooth is to visit your dentist as soon as possible. The longer you wait to get the chip fixed means risking permanent nerve damage to the tooth, which is much more costly and involved to treat.

What Color Is Your Smile?

There is beauty in the magic splendor of softly falling flakes of snow against the backdrop of winter's color palate, but when it comes to teeth, most people want one shade: the whitest white that white can be. Unfortunately, teeth come in many shades and can change color from a variety of causes, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

As the tooth enamel develops, the color can be affected by many factors.  White, bright teeth certainly help maintain a youthful appearance, unfortunately, stains from food and drink can darken teeth over time, and usually resulting in a yellow or orange hue. Illness can discolor dentin, and heredity or environmental factors can discolor both dentin and enamel. In rare cases, injury can discolor either dentin or enamel.  Maternal use of certain antibiotics, notably those of the tetracycline family, during pregnancy can cause brown or gray discoloration of the baby's tooth enamel. Children who take this medication during the period of permanent tooth development may have similar discoloration of the permanent teeth.

With today's techniques and materials, we can change the color of a patient's teeth to provide a more healthy, youthful appearance. Professional tooth-whitening products can improve enamel color in many instances, although severe discoloration may require enamel-bonding procedures for good cosmetic results. Contact your dentist to obtain a proper diagnosis and to learn what treatment options are available.

The Fountain of Dental Youth

Members of the baby boomer generation are increasing the demand for cosmetic dental procedures because they are looking for teeth that help them look and feel younger.  There are many cosmetic dentistry treatments available that can help patients look and feel better about their smiles, such as bleaching, bonding and veneering. All of these options help teeth look brighter. Bleaching makes teeth whiter and bonding and veneering can help change a tooth's shape.

Bleaching & Tooth Whitening

Crowns & Bridges

Porcelain Veneers

Re-contouring maxillary front teeth to achieve optimal aesthetics