Health

My dentist can do … what?

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A look at new services dentists may offer

by Helen Cauley

Just two decades ago, patients who wanted to make improvements to their smiles and banish face wrinkles had to endure extensive surgeries and dental treatments. But advances in technology and medical science have created the world of esthetic dentistry, allowing dentists to make dramatic cosmetic changes during regular visits.

BOTOX:
Dentists are well-versed in the workings of the face muscles and trained in the art of giving injections in sensitive areas, and the most popular spots for Botox® are around the lips, on either side of the mouth and between the eyebrows. Recently, members of the American Dental Association have been working closely with the American Academy of Facial Esthetics to learn Botox® techniques they can offer in the office.

DERMAL FILLERS:
Similar to Botox®, dermal fillers are injected under the skin to plump wrinkles and lines, giving them a fuller, more rounded look. The same treatment can make lips look lusher. And they work immediately, avoiding the need for surgery and recovery. Among the most popular fillers is Juvéderm®, a gel filler that stays in place for up to a year.

WHITENING:
Dentists have been brightening smiles for some time now. The most intensive procedures involve applications of hydrogen peroxide, while other methods are as easy as polishing with a special prophylaxis paste.

DENTAL IMPLANTS:
Missing or malformed teeth can be replaced with implants that match existing teeth so well, only the dentist may notice the change. Because they are permanent, designed to fuse with bone, they have become viable alternatives to dentures. They look better, feel better and put beauty back into a smile.

VENEERS:
Also known as porcelain veneers or laminates, these thin slivers can change the smile in a few short visits. They”re most frequently used to alter the shape of teeth, disguise crooked or curved teeth or to improve size and color. These cosmetic changes are lasting and often give the appearance of a straight row of teeth without years of orthodontia.