Our teeth serve two crucial functional purposes—they allow us to chew and to speak. Almost as important as their practical functions, however, is the effect teeth have on our facial aesthetics. Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and if your teeth show signs of decay or crookedness, it can affect your self-esteem, confidence, and the first impressions people form of you. The color, shape, and condition of your teeth affect the attractiveness of your smile, and if you’ve sustained some damage or discoloration over the years, you might be feeling unhappy with how your teeth look. Dr. Marc Lazare, a master general and cosmetic dentist, offers a range of effective cosmetic dental procedures in New York City to help patients achieve a smile they can be proud of.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
While general dentistry is focused on the function and preservation of the teeth, cosmetic dentistry is performed to improve the aesthetics of the teeth and smile. Though there are many treatments and procedures that fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry, they are all performed for the same purpose: to improve the patient’s smile – both the health and aesthetics. Cosmetic dentistry offers patients many potential benefits, including increased confidence, self-esteem, and comfort in social situations.
Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry
People who have not experienced poor dental aesthetics often don’t understand how much of an impact a damaged or discolored smile can have on a person’s quality of life. Negative stereotypes about tooth color and condition can cause people to make assumptions about a person’s overall health and habits. People with discolored, chipped, or broken teeth often feel self-conscious and unwilling to smile or talk in public for fear of judgement.
Cosmetic treatments can help improve the appearance of the teeth and reduce or eliminate these assumptions and insecurities. Because cosmetic dentistry can boost patients’ confidence, these treatments often empower patients to advance in their career, begin dating, and smile fully in in photos. Improving their smile with cosmetic dentistry can help patients lead a fuller, more satisfying life.
Are You a Candidate?
If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry, there are a few factors to consider. First, your oral health. If you are dealing with periodontal disease, need cavities filled, or have other general dental work done, it’s important to get all of that taken care of before moving on to cosmetic work. This will help to maintain the natural teeth and ensure that both the form and function of the teeth will last.
Cosmetic dentistry patients should be in general good health, be non-smokers, and have realistic expectations for the results. These types of treatments can create dramatic results, but it is important to understand the limitations of the procedures and get an idea of what to expect before moving forward. During your initial appointment, Dr. Lazare will perform an examination and make suggestions about which treatments will best suit your needs and goals.
Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Each cosmetic dentistry patient has different needs. Some people have discolored teeth that can be improved by a quick whitening procedure, while others need chips and irregularities smoothed out or the appearance of the gums improved. The range of cosmetic procedures available means that each patient can receive a customized treatment plan that suits their individual goals. Here are some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures that Dr. Lazare offers:
Everyone wants a bright, white smile. Unfortunately, daily use and the foods and beverages we consume can cause teeth to become discolored. Yellow or gray discoloration can detract from a person’s appearance and make otherwise beautiful teeth look dingy and damaged. While professional cleaning can remove certain stains, other discoloration can be more stubborn and must be treated with cosmetic teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is a simple procedure that can dramatically improve a person’s overall appearance.
Using peroxide and other powerful ingredients, professional teeth whitening takes only a couple of hours and provides instantaneous results. The Philips Zoom! Teeth Whitening System that Dr. Lazare uses can give patients teeth up to eight shades whiter in one session. Because it is in a controlled environment, this treatment is very safe and produces great results.
Patients who prefer to whiten their teeth at home can benefit from custom-fitted trays and a whitening solution provided by Dr. Lazare. People who clench or grind their teeth or have a strong gag reflex may not be able to use the at-home trays, and would be better served with in-office whitening. The at-home trays take longer, but some patients prefer to whiten their teeth from the comfort of their own home.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary
When the teeth are excessively discolored, worn, misaligned, chipped, widely spaced, or broken, dental veneers (often called porcelain veneers) can quickly rejuvenate a patient’s smile for even, white teeth. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are precisely shaped to bond to a patient’s natural teeth. Once affixed to the front of the teeth, veneers offer instant whitening, reshaping, and dramatically improve a patient’s smile. Veneers are durable and completely customized. They can be placed over just a few teeth, or as many as needed. With veneers, patients can get several different problems addressed with just one simple solution.
Veneers are often prepared in two stages. First the teeth are prepared, impressions are taken and temporary veneers made. At the second visit the final veneers are tried in and bonded into place and polished and adjusted until everything feels comfortable and natural.
Patients with crowded teeth, overly pointed canine teeth, or other irregularities may benefit from enamel reshaping. This is the process of buffing away extra enamel and irregularities in the teeth for a more even, aesthetically pleasing smile. Enamel reshaping is used for subtle improvements, and it is often paired with tooth bonding to replace enamel that is removed during the procedure.
Composite Tooth Bonding
Tooth bonding uses the same material as dentists use to fill cavities—but instead of restoring the cleaned out cavity, the material is used to fill in chips, gaps, and cracks that compromise the appearance of the teeth. This procedure is routinely combined with enamel reshaping to ensure that irregularities are resolved and straight, even, healthy-looking teeth are achieved. Composite tooth bonding can even improve the color of the natural teeth.
Cosmetic Laser Treatments
A “gummy smile” is a common problem. When the gums puff out or cover too much of the teeth, they can affect the appearance of a person’s smile. While there are several ways to shape and reduce excess gum tissue, advanced laser techniques are excellent for reshaping and sculpting the gums for a better aesthetic. A gum lift is often paired with other treatments for a full smile makeover.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary
Can cosmetic procedures be combined?
Absolutely. In order to get a total smile makeover, patients may need multiple procedures to fix different aspects of the teeth and gums. Veneers are usually a standalone procedure that addresses multiple issues, but whitening, enamel reshaping, bonding, and gum reshaping may be combined in different ways to achieve the patient’s individual goals.
How long will I need to recover from a cosmetic dentistry procedure?
It depends on the procedure. Veneers may require some local anesthesia and a little getting used to, while professional whitening can result in temporary sensitivity. Each procedure is different, but most cosmetic dental procedures do not require much, if any, recovery time.
How effective are at-home whitening solutions vs. professional whitening?
The benefits of in-office whitening are the dramatic and instantaneous results and the convenience of a safe and brief procedure. At-home whitening treatments can be safe and effective, but they can be inconvenient, take longer, and may need to be repeated more often. Patients who prefer at-home whitening can benefit from custom-made dental trays. In many cases, the choice can come down to personal preference and goals.
How are veneers different from crowns and dental implants?
Dental implants actually replace the tooth root and are topped with a porcelain crown. They are best for replacing missing or severely broken teeth. They are the gold standard for missing teeth as they allow patients to chew and speak normally and care for their implants exactly as they would their natural teeth.
Veneers are very thin pieces of porcelain that are precisely shaped and bonded to the front of the natural teeth for cosmetic purposes. They are a better choice for patients whose teeth are still in good functional shape. Veneers are more conservative than a crown and preserve more of one’s natural tooth structure. Crowns are performed when indicated, such as if cracks are present, and when more tooth structure is already missing.
What causes tooth discoloration?
There are many different factors that can influence tooth discoloration. Drinks like coffee, wine, and soda can stain the teeth. Smoking, aging, and even antibiotics or fluoride can create internal or external discoloration. Teeth whitening can help to reverse some discoloration, but its effectiveness depends heavily on the source of the discoloration.
I grind my teeth. How will that affect my cosmetic outcome?
Patients who grind their teeth risk damaging them and compromising their results. Dr. Lazare might suggest a night guard to help preserve the teeth and the patient’s aesthetic results.
Is cosmetic dentistry ever appropriate for children and teens?
There is no specific age for cosmetic dentistry. Patients with adult teeth may benefit from cosmetic procedures at an early age, depending on the situation. Adolescents may be good candidates for cosmetic dentistry on a case-by-case basis.
Will cosmetic dentistry procedures hurt?
For procedures that can cause discomfort, Dr. Lazare uses local anesthesia to numb the mouth. Patients should not experience much, if any, discomfort during cosmetic dental procedures.
When are veneers appropriate?
Veneers are typically best for patients who want to address several cosmetic concerns at once. They can whiten the teeth instantly and create a straighter, more even smile. Dr. Lazare will help you determine whether or not veneers are a good option for your situation.
Are there any risks associated with cosmetic dentistry?
Any medical procedure potentially carries some risk. As these risks vary from procedure to procedure, Dr. Lazare will explain the potential side effects of the treatments you are considering before you make a decision. As long as you choose an expert dentist, however, risks should be minimal.
A Brand New Smile with New York’s Master Dentist
If you’re ready to rejuvenate your smile with cosmetic dentistry, there’s no better choice than Dr. Marc Lazare. Dr. Lazare is a world renowned dentist and is known for his skills as a master general and cosmetic dentist in New York, NY. For more information on cosmetic dentistry and to schedule your first appointment, call 646-846-2465 today.