Whitening your teeth using an at-home kit is probably the least expensive cosmetic dentistry treatment. You might be satisfied with the results (even if they're not as dazzling as the product's advertising promised), but of course, at-home whitening does nothing for the shape of your teeth or any surface abnormalities in your tooth enamel. These irregularities may be whitened, but nothing more. For corrective work, you'll need to see a cosmetic dentist to have restorations placed on your teeth. But isn't this going to be really expensive?
Many dental restorations are made of ceramic materials—such as porcelain dental crowns or porcelain dental veneers. Ceramic isn't the only choice. Although composite (acrylic crowns) aren't recommended because the constant bite pressure experienced by a tooth crown will quickly age the restoration, composite veneers have some key advantages over their porcelain brethren.
For starters, there's the price. Composite veneers are a cost-effective way to reshape your anterior teeth because they are made entirely of dental acrylics. Your anterior teeth are those that are visible when you speak or smile—your incisors and canines at the front of your jaw. These are the only teeth that are fitted with veneers, composite or otherwise. Aside from the far more appealing price, your experience as a patient will be more pleasant.
Porcelain veneers are permanent, composite veneers are not. With porcelain veneers, your dentist has to shave off an ultra-thin layer of the tooth's surface enamel. Removing this layer from the tooth's outward-facing side means that the finished restoration won't look overlarge, like you have buck teeth. Removal of enamel makes the tooth far more sensitive and prone to decay, so the tooth will now always need some form of artificial restoration to protect it. Because composite veneers just use a thin layer of tooth-colored resin, no enamel shaving is needed. Composite veneers can simply be removed if desired, revealing your still-intact tooth enamel.
At most, your teeth will have a mild etching solution applied to help the composite materials adhere to them. Your dentist then uses a color chart to choose the best resin color, holding these samples next to your natural teeth for comparison. The composite resin material is then mixed to this exact shade and applied. Your dentist now uses a blue light that immediately hardens the polymers in the composite resin. The resin surface is polished to give it a natural appearance, and your composite veneers are finished.
Cosmetic dentistry can be more cost-effective than you suspect, and the results of composite veneers can give you a whole new smile with remarkable speed (and at a remarkable price). For more information on dental veneers, contact a professional near you.