Cosmetic dentist in San Francisco helps patients choose the best option for their concerns
Teeth are not tools, but too often, they are the go-to choice to tear open packages, twist caps, or crunch hard candy into tiny pieces. Chipped and cracked teeth are one of the most common tooth injuries in the United States. Malformed teeth deflate confidence and make chewing and speaking difficult.
The type of cosmetic dentistry treatment depends on the severity of the tooth chip or crack. At Leo Arellano, DDS, General & Cosmetic Dentistry in San Francisco, most problems can be corrected using modern cosmetic dental techniques including crowns, porcelain veneers, or bonding, which can actually restore appearance and functionality beyond what was attained by the original tooth.
For a minimal chip off of a corner of your tooth enamel, the choice may be bonding. This procedure involves using a color-matched composite resin that Dr. Arellano gently molds to conform to the contours of your existing tooth, or he can reshape the tooth into a more desired appearance. The existing tooth structure is lightly etched so the bonding material will adhere properly. Then, a curing light hardens the resin. A local anesthetic may be administered during this process so that you are comfortable.
Veneers are a striking option if you have a larger area of missing tooth enamel, but the tooth is structurally sound and healthy. Veneers are made of porcelain or plastic composite. They are thin shells that are color-shaded to match your teeth and do not require substantial tooth shaping before applying, as is the case with crowns. Veneers can be used to lengthen a tooth that is shorter than the adjacent teeth, and due to their application do not cause sensitivity to heat or cold. However, veneers are not as strong as crowned teeth.
Crowns can be fabricated of metal or porcelain and used to repair significant tooth breakage or if there is extensive dental decay. Metal crowns are stronger than porcelain, but they are more unsightly with their gold or silver color prominently displayed in the mouth. Porcelain crowns are virtually invisible since they can be shaded to your teeth’s whiteness.
Teeth must be shaped before a crown can be placed over the structure, and a temporary crown is usually fitted while the permanent crown is being made. If your tooth’s nerve is healthy, the crown will cap onto the existing tooth. However, if a root canal was done, a post may be installed within the root with the crown capping over it. Of the three procedures mentioned, crowns are the most extensive and expensive procedure, but they are the most durable.