When we talk about cosmetic procedures, we typically don’t think about dentistry. Indeed, even though cosmetic dentistry is a prominent field, discussion of cosmetic procedures tends to focus on the big surgeries: breast augmentations, liposuction, and lately, injectables of many kinds. As Patrick Driscoll reports, the market for all of these things is growing, but what about cosmetic dentistry? As it turns out, cosmetic dentistry is booming too, particularly with the help of new technologies.
Cosmetic Dentistry Today
Cosmetic dentistry today is already a high tech undertaking, and a very busy one at that. According to a recent New York Magazine article, currently 80% of North American teenagers are being seen by an orthodontist. We get kids started early with the project that is cosmetic dentistry, fitting younger and younger children with braces all the time. The same article recommends a first orthodontist visit at age seven, an age at which mostly children have only just started losing their baby teeth. We are obsessed with having that perfect smile.
Braces are an example of relatively low tech cosmetic dentistry, but the procedures more commonly targeted towards adults are more complex. One common cosmetic procedure for adults is porcelain veneers. Veneers are meant to cover over stained teeth or reshape chipped or damaged teeth. The procedure also engages detailed shade matching because, as Broadway Dental explains, veneers are made “from strong, high quality porcelains that closely mimic the many shades and translucencies found in natural teeth.” Veneers are very popular among professionals looking to brighten their smiles.
Besides veneers, other popular contemporary procedures include dental implants, tooth whitening, and bonding. All of these procedures are meant to improve tooth appearance, replacing missing teeth or brightening dull and discolored ones. However, many of these procedures will see changes in the coming years due to new technologies.
New Dental Implant Technology
One form of cosmetic dentistry that is undergoing rapid advances is implant technology. Rather than older techniques that involve creating an elaborate support structure to hold implants in place, newer technology aims for the osseointegration.
Osseointegration is the process of directly connecting the implant to the patient’s jaw bone. This is a risky venture because, as with any bodily tissue, there is always the possibility that it will reject foreign material. Professionals who use this technique work with biocompatible metals in order to increase the chances of a successful connection, but osseointegration also depends heavily on the prior health of the patient. Patients with less than ideal health may do better to stick with the older implant technology, but for those who are good candidates for the osseointegration procedure, this new technique could revolutionize how we understand dental implants.
The Power Of 3D Printing
We’ve been seeing 3D printing revolutionizing a range of medical fields, including implantables and prosthetics, and cosmetic dentistry has not been left behind. Rather dental implants, both full teeth and crowns, are being produced using 3D printing technology. In fact, 3D printing technology is used by dentistry more often than almost any other healthcare related field and it has made reconstructive procedures much more affordable for patients.
Sustainable Smile Improvements
Tooth whitening is one of those procedures that many people think they can do at home. And indeed, there are products that will give you good results through at home application. However, if you really want your teeth shining bright, professional whitening is where it’s at. Because of the popularity of this procedure, manufacturers have been coming up with innovative teeth whitening materials and techniques, including sustainable processes. With a significant amount of growth expected in this sector, a move towards sustainability is an act of industry responsibility.
Ultimately, if you’re looking to upgrade your smile and improve your self-confidence, the innovations in cosmetic dentistry right now are groundbreaking. Cosmetic dentists have a range of new technologies at their disposal and they can help you pinpoint the perfect procedure for your needs.