Bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin is applied and hardened with a special light, ultimately "bonding" the material to the tooth to improve a person's smile. Among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures, bonding can repair chipped or cracked teeth, close gaps, change the shape of teeth, or be used as a cosmetic alternative to silver amalgam fillings.
Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells that cover the front surface of teeth. Bonded to the front of the teeth, changing their color, shape, size or length, veneers can be made from porcelain or resin composite. Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color or shape compared to crowns, but the process is not reversible.
A crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that’s placed over a weak or damaged tooth to improve its shape, size, strength, or appearance. Most crowns last five to 15 years and can be made of metal, porcelain fused to metal, resin, or ceramic. Before a crown is seated, the existing tooth is filed down; then the crown is cemented over it, fully encasing the tooth. Onlays and 3/4 crowns cover the underlying tooth to a lesser extent.
Enamel shaping or contouring is a quick and painless process of shaping natural teeth to improve their appearance. It is generally used to correct small imperfections such as uneven teeth or teeth that are slightly overcrowded. Results can be seen immediately. Enamel shaping is often combined with whitening, veneers, or bonding.
Braces can correct crooked or misaligned teeth, and can improve the health and appearance of anyone’s smile -- adult or child. Braces work by applying steady pressure over time to slowly move teeth into alignment. As the teeth move, the bony tooth socket changes shape as pressure is applied.
Types of Braces
While metal braces are still used, braces can be as inconspicuous as you like. Brackets -- the part that attach to each tooth -- can be clear, tooth-colored, or multi-colored. They can even be attached to the back of the tooth so they are out of view. There are even "invisible" braces which use a series of clear, plastic molds to gradually move the teeth into alignment.
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