The world of cosmetic dentistry offers patients a variety of treatment options specifically designed to improve both the function and appearance of your smile. Since there are so many options available, cosmetic dentists recommend thinking about your cosmetic goals, how long you are willing to devote to treatment, and your budget when deciding which treatment is right for you.
Additionally, it is also important to know the difference between reversible and permanent cosmetic dental treatments since this will affect you long after treatment has been completed. The main difference between a reversible and permanent cosmetic dental treatment is based on whether modifications were made to the natural tooth structure or not. Therefore, a treatment is said to be reversible if no modifications were made to the natural tooth structure, while permanent treatments have made some type of modification.
Both types of treatments have their pros and cons. For starters, reversible treatments are generally more affordable, can be completed quickly, and can be reversed if you are not satisfied with the results. However, they are also more susceptible to damage and have shorter lifespans. Permanent treatments, on the other hand, tend to last much longer and are highly durable. However, they generally cost more and take longer to complete. Additionally, once they do wear out, they will need to be replaced since your tooth structure has been modified.
Reversible Cosmetic Dental Treatments
Cosmetic bonding uses composite resin bonded to the tooth enamel to repair damage or correct structural abnormalities in order to improve the tooth’s appearance. Additionally, it can also be used to fill in gaps between the teeth, as well as to cover up minor alignment problems. Although composite resin is bonded to the enamel, it can safely be removed by a dentist without damaging the natural tooth structure. For this reason, it is considered to be a reversible treatment.
Composite resin can also be used to fabricate ultra-thin veneers that are thinner than porcelain veneers. Since they are thinner, the tooth enamel does not need to be modified in order for them to fit correctly. Additionally, no adhesives are used since composite resin bonds directly to the enamel. While composite veneers can correct many of the same imperfections as porcelain veneers, many dentists only recommend composite veneers as a “trial period” before getting porcelain veneers.
Permanent Cosmetic Dental Treatments
Porcelain veneers are thin shells made of porcelain that are adhered to the front side of visible teeth. As mentioned above, porcelain veneers are thicker than veneers made from composite and they also require the use of adhesives. Therefore, a thin layer of tooth enamel must be removed from the teeth in order to properly place porcelain veneers. Because enamel does not grow back once removed, this means that porcelain veneers are irreversible.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are designed to fit over the entire visible portion of the tooth. In order for them to fit properly without changing the alignment of the bite, the tooth will need to be reduced in size before the crown can be placed. As mentioned above, enamel does not come back once it has been removed, making dental crowns another irreversible treatment.
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are used as a replacement option for missing teeth. The are implanted into the jawbone, where they will fuse with the bone and support a dental prosthetic. Once they have fused in place, they cannot be removed. In fact, the only time dental implants are removed is when they fail to fuse with the jawbone. While the prosthetic may need to be replaced at some point, the implant itself will remain in place.