The dental industry has made great strides in the last decade, and part of that progress has been possible due to changes in technology, and vast improvements in the types of equipment now available. As with any new technology, understanding the process, as well as the capabilities and limits of the technology is key to ensuring the best possible treatment for each individual patient.
From the patient’s point of view, new technology and the treatments that they provide can be confusing, and daunting. Many of us grew up in a world where crooked teeth could only be fixed with braces, extracted teeth could only be replaced by uncomfortable and often ill-fitting dentures, and cosmetic dentistry meant bleaching your teeth. Those days are over, thank goodness, but the sheer variety of treatments and the volume of information available online can make it hard for people to know what kind of treatment will work for them.
We, at Meza Dental, realize that building trust in a new process often requires a better understanding. To that end, we are developing a series of articles that will explain the various processes to you, so that you can have an informed conversation with your dentist or one of ours. We want you to understand your options, and have enough knowledge to choose the treatment best suited to your individual situation and needs.
Firstly, What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
While all dental work should provide you with teeth that function properly, cosmetic dentistry refers to procedures that are primarily concerned with improving the way your teeth look.
In some cases, those where the teeth are extremely misaligned or crooked, the best way to do this might involved orthodontia, such as traditional braces or newer products like Invisalign.
In less extreme cases, however, there are many new and improved treatments that will even out your smile, and improve your overall appearance, to ensure that you can let your personality shine through without feeling self-conscious.
A Modern History of Cosmetic Dentistry
Depending on your age, (don’t worry, we won’t ask), you may remember a time when being born with less than perfect teeth was something you just learned to live with. (History buffs may very well point out that ancient Egyptians have been found with dentures of ivory and bone, but let’s just stick with our own millennium, shall we? Unless you’re curious… then click here!)
Good dental health meant simply avoiding cavities so that you didn’t end up losing the teeth you had because, to be perfectly honest, the alternative was horrible.
Eventually, technology advanced to the point where dentists could brighten your teeth using bleaching agents, or straighten them with braces… and many people, those who could afford it, were ecstatic. Even then, if your teeth weren’t ‘bad enough’ to need braces, you were still more or less stuck with the teeth you were born with.
The early 1900s saw the invention of porcelain dental crowns and dentures which eventually became too expensive and were replaced by the combination of plastic and acrylics that we still use today.
In the 1930’s dental veneers were invented, but they were mainly used as a temporary fix for Hollywood stars because they were costly. Since they were attached using the dental adhesive available at the time, they quickly fell off, which made them highly impractical for everyday use anyhow.
In the 1950’s composite teeth filling material was invented, which meant we were no longer doomed to highly visible black or silver fillings… Thank goodness!
Laser-based dental treatments were invented in the 1960s but were primarily used for the treatment of gum disease until 1996 when the FDA approved a laser that could be used for whitening.
Still, throughout all of these advancements, the manner in which we could improve the look of our smile was fairly limited.
Hello, Dental Veneers
Fast forward to the 1980s and the invention of adhesive systems and resin cements. This is when the fun begins. The ability to bond materials to tooth enamel was a game-changer. Now those dental veneers from the 1930s have become much more useful. From that time to this, the design and production of dental veneers have improved steadily.
The first permanent veneers required the underlying teeth to be shaved right down to stumps, so that the veneer could be fitted over top, like a sleeve. While this works quite well, the removal of nature’s best protection, enamel, from the teeth themselves increased the chances that bacteria could work their way under the veneer and eat away at the structure of the tooth.
Since then, new techniques have been developed that allow the veneer to be attached to existing teeth with minimal damage. These are known as prep-less veneers, and it’s the method that we prefer here at Meza Dental. The veneers that we use today are thin, natural-looking, and durable enough to last 10-15 years with proper care.
On the Cutting Edge of Cosmetic Dentistry
Perhaps the most impactful advancement in the development of dental veneers today has little to do with the veneers themselves, but everything to do with the ability to build those veneers to spec. I’m referring, of course, to digital technology. Today’s dentists have access to some truly amazing technology. This allows them to do fully digital scans that show not only our teeth but the underlying bone structures beneath them.
It also allows them to design prototype veneers. This is done using dental impressions, and digital imaging uploaded into a computer program. With this new technology, dentists can literally design your perfect smile. They then use a 3D printer to build the prototype, so that you can try them on to see how they look and feel. Then they take the second set of measurements and photos, which will allow them to make the minute adjustments and tweaks necessary before your final veneers are made.
This type of technology helps to create teeth with more natural tones and shading within the tooth itself, unlike the original veneers which often looked a little flat and unnatural. Modern, custom engineering creates a smile that looks both beautiful and natural, while at the same time allowing you to change the things that bother you.
But technology isn’t the only thing that goes into creating the perfect smile. Cosmetic Dentistry is a very intricate balance of design and artistry. It involves having the knowledge, experience, and artistry to make their smile look both beautiful and natural by using the patient’s bone structure and facial traits, and following the natural rules of proportion and symmetry.
Your Perfect Smile
There is one thing that’s certain; every smile is unique and special. So, the best way to find the path to your perfect smile is to speak to a qualified dentist, discuss your dental history, and talk to them about what your perfect smile looks like for you.
Let them guide you towards a treatment that will provide the best possible results for your individual needs. Whether you want to replace that crooked tooth that’s always bothered you, or you suffer from stained or discolored enamel, your dentist can provide you with options that will improve the look of your smile, while maintaining the same functionality that you enjoy now.
Getting the smile you’ve always dreamed of is easier than it’s ever been, and Meza will help you find the least invasive solution possible to achieve your desired look, because we believe that saving your natural teeth is always the best option.
The Meza Dental Advantage
At Meza Dental we believe in providing every patient with the perfect combination of functionality and aesthetics. We are experts in our field. In fact, Dr. Meza was the first dentist to be accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry outside of the United States.
We pride ourselves on having extremely high standards, and to ensure that every crown and veneer match these high standards, we felt the need to develop our own dedicated laboratory.
We are proud to say, our lab is staffed with trained technicians who go above and beyond every time, producing only the best products made using the highest quality materials, technologically advanced methods, and a touch of artistry.
We offer a wide variety of cosmetic treatments including:
- dental crowns,
- teeth whitening,
- dental composites,
- And more.
With locations in both Costa Rica, and Mexico, you can enjoy the benefits of modern, up-to-date procedures, and beautiful tropical locales at the very same time. Imagine their surprise when you come home with a tan and a beautiful new smile.
If you’re interested in learning more, we are happy to answer any questions that you might have, and discuss your treatment options with you. Just click this link, for your free estimate, and start the journey to your perfect smile today.
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