Cosmetic Dentistry

Dr. Ashley Covington DMD can perform a variety of cosmetic procedures to improve your smile—from subtle changes to major repairs.  There are many techniques and options to treat teeth that are discolored, chipped, misshapen, or issing. Your dentist can reshape your teeth, close spaces, restore worn teeth, or alter the length of your teeth.  Common procedures include teeth whitening, bonding, caps, crowns, veneers, and reshaping and contouring.

Before any cosmetic procedure, we discuss patient goals and desires. Then we develop a plan of action that will create a unique smile to complement the patient’s overall appearance. We take into consideration many factors, such as facial symmetry, the size of features, and skin tone. Casts made from your dental impressions and wax mock-ups of crowns and veneers enable you to visualize the exciting outcome. Don’t let an imperfect smile get you down; schedule a consultation with us and explore the possibilities of cosmetic dentistry.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a common and popular chemical process used to lighten teeth.  Some people get their teeth whitened to make stains disappear, while others just want a brighter smile.  Discoloration, which occurs in the enamel, can be caused by medication, coffee, tea, and cigarettes.  Discoloration also can be due to your genetic make up or simply from aging.  Teeth whitening can be performed by your dentist in the office or, under dental supervision, at home.

What is bonding?

Bonding is the use of tooth-colored material to fill in gaps or change the color of teeth.  Bonding lasts several years and often requires only a single office visit.  Bonding is more susceptible to staining or chipping than other forms of restoration.  When teeth are chipped or slightly decayed, bonded composite resins may be the material of choice.  Bonding also is used to fill small cavities, to close spaces between teeth, or to cover the entire outside surface of a tooth.

What are veneers?

Veneers are placed over the front teeth to change the color or shape of your teeth.  Veneers are used on teeth with uneven surfaces;  on teeth that are chipped, discolored, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced, or crooked;  or on teeth that already have large fillings placed.  Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic that are cemented over the front of your teeth.  Veneers are used to treat some of the same problems that bonding is used to treat. Veneers also are an alternative to crowns.

What are tooth colored restorations?

Tooth colored restorations or fillings are also referred to as composites, because they are composed of a complex molecular structure of a resin matrix and fillers. Composites or resins were introduced in the 1960’s, and have undergone continual improvements in durability, color stability, material handling qualities, and esthetic properties. Tooth colored restorations are actually bonded to remaining tooth structure compared to silver/amalgam restorations, which are “locked” into tooth structure. This property of resin restorations makes them a very conservative approach to tooth restoration after caries removal.

What should I look for in a cosmetic dentist?

In order to make sure your dentist is skilled in cosmetic dentistry, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) recommends that you ask your dentist for the following items before undergoing treatment:

  • Before and after photos.  These photos will allow you to examine the results of other patients being treated by the dentist to make sure his or her work fits your dental needs.
  • References.  References allow you to get a sense of the quality of care the dentist provides.
  • Proof of continuing education.  Be certain that your dentist has taken continuing education courses to keep him or her up-to-date with the latest techniques in clinical cosmetic dentistry.

Our Florence SC dentists can answer the questions you have about the techniques used to improve your smile.