Cosmetic Dentists are actually experts in general dentistry who extend that expertise into the aesthetic realm. Cosmetic dentistry is not separate and apart from general dentistry, but rather a represents a number of unique, specialized disciplines that exist within it.
Implants are one of the most important general dentistry services. Implants are based upon the same concept of the traditional crown, but they are much more than crowns. The implant itself is an artificial titanium tooth root implanted in the jawbone itself. A porcelain crown is then placed over the tooth which looks identical to surrounding natural teeth and provides a stable, hard, reliable chewing surface that will not chip or break while you are eating normal food.
Laser Periodontal Treatment
Laser Periodontal Treatment is periodontal surgery (surgery on the gums) performed with a special laser designed to replace the metal cutting tools traditionally used in general dentistry. You receive the same benefits as the standard surgical methods, but with much less pain, bleeding, and post-operative recovery time. A common synonym for laser periodontal therapy used in cosmetic dentistry is LANAP. If you see either one or both of these terms, they are talking about the same thing.
Sleep Apnea Management
Obstructive sleep apnea can be a very serious condition. Depending on its severity, it can cause anything from restless nights to chronic fatigue during the day. Sleep apnea is typically treated with CPAP therapy, which uses a machine to keep air passages open while the patient is asleep. Many people try CPAP and abandon it on the basis that it causes them too much discomfort or awareness. This is where general dentistry, surprisingly, can actually step in and provide alternatives.
The FDA has approved many different types of sleep apnea oral appliances. These devices are actually like mouth guards, only much more sophisticated. The dentist has to choose the type that is best for your mouth, and in most cases, further customize the model to your particular teeth and bite.
When correctly manufactured and fitted, dental devices have proven to be equally effective to CPAP in treating all but the most severe forms of sleep apnea.
The use of fillings to repair cavities in teeth is common to both general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. The difference lies in the types of fillings used. In general practices, silver amalgam fillings have historically been used. These fillings are made by mixing silver and mercury and are not the healthiest things to have in your mouth. They also tend to fall out after several years and require replacement.
In our service, we use composite dental resin to replace old and missing silver-mercury fillings. This substance is customized to look like the color of your natural teeth and is made from bio-friendly resin. It is healthier and last longer than other types of fillings, and it creates a much better cosmetic appearance.
We also use porcelain inlays and onlays to fill teeth when the area that needs to be covered is more than 40 percent-50 percent of the biting area.
Long before cosmetic dentistry developed titanium dental implants, crowns were used to cover teeth that could not be repaired by fillings. The first crowns were gold and were also called caps. Crowns have since been made from porcelain, which is used equally now in both general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry to cover teeth that have been severely cracked, chipped, or fractured.
Many practices in general dentistry may involve working on the teeth in a way that the patient finds uncomfortable. This creates muscle tension which can limit treatment effectiveness. IV sedation is an excellent way to deliver anesthetics to the body so the patient feels no pain during the procedure. Lucidity is maintained in a very relaxed state, but is monitored by an anesthesiologist.
For Houston-area patients who feel they only require standard dental procedures and not the more advanced cosmetic procedure, we wish to emphasize that sometimes the general and the cosmetic can go hand in hand to create a win-win situation for both health and physical appearance.
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