How To Enhance Your Smile: Basics of Aesthetic Dentistry

Nowadays, cosmetic dentistry procedures such teeth whitening, sculpting and shaping, contouring, and restoring, are all the rage like never before. Skilled and experienced dentists use their expertise and advanced dental equipment to make that hope of a perfect smile a reality for dental patients who want to look good and feel confident.

But before hurrying into to a cosmetic procedure, it is vital to understand what’s involved in procedures, risks, cost, and benefits. Satisfy yourself with the expertise of the dentist who will perform the procedure, inquire about after-care, and be clear about the details of the total cost of your cosmetic procedure. Now let’s discuss the major types of procedures involved in cosmetic or aesthetic dentistry.

Teeth Whitening

It’s quite natural that over time, a person’s teeth may not remain pearly white but instead become dull and discolored due to smoking, taking certain medications, food coloring, regular intake of tea, and/or coffee.

A dentist can use two procedures to get your stained and discolored teeth whitened chemically. This can be through several sittings at the clinic, or your dentist can suggest a method that you can follow in the privacy of your own home. In the latter case, your dentist will set up a mouthpiece tray especially for you to ensure that you use the prescribed quantity of the whitening mix.

A patient may appreciate the convenience of an at-home whitening routine, but be aware that one may have to add an extra two weeks to a month to the treatment period according to the strength of peroxide being used for the procedure. Alternatively, whitening one’s teeth at the clinic will call for one or a few sessions at the dental clinic – each of them lasting between 60 to 120 minutes.

However, keep in mind that these techniques do not guarantee permanent whiteness of teeth, and your teeth can get discolored again due to the factors mentioned above. Teeth whitening agents are meant for just that – whitening teeth, not for cleansing them, and for this reason, one must persist in brushing them at least twice a day, as well as in bathing them in an antibacterial mouthwash every day, and flossing them at least once every 24 hours.


Much as we would love to have them, we all do not have perfect sets of teeth. Your teeth can get discolored, whittle down, crack or shatter, grow apart from or at angles to each other, and even be lost. A dentist can improve the structure and appearance of such teeth through bonding. The bonding material is also used by the dentist for filling out cavities, and this helps protect your tooth’s bare root.

Usually, these corrective or aesthetic improvements can be achieved in just one session wherein the dentist uses an etching solution and other materials such as multiple combined resins that are as closely colored to the patient’s teeth as possible, and is applied to the required area of the tooth. Typically, bonding lasts a while but are also known to get discolored, crumble, flake, and wear away.


Dental veneers are shells, usually custom-made from porcelain but also sometimes made from acrylics or Zirconia. They are used to envelop the front sides of teeth, and their color and shape match the desired requirements. Veneers are longer lasting than bonding and have better appearance too. Veneers enhance teeth in several ways:

  • They fill in unappealing gaps between teeth
  • They cover cracks and chips in teeth and can even strengthen them
  • They cover stains on teeth and whiten them
  • They improve the appearance of imperfectly shaped teeth
  • They are used to straighten crooked teeth

When a veneer is inserted onto a tooth, Dr. Sean Pierce will initially take a digital 3D impression of the concerned tooth/teeth, after which he will buff or polish it and finally fix the veneer on with resin cement. The cement that is used for this is hardened and set with the help of a curing light.

As porcelain veneers are designed and manufactured in a laboratory, you will have to visit the dentist to get one attached.


Also known as caps, crowns cover a complete tooth. It performs the following functions.

  • It covers and conceals a deformed or stained tooth
  • It safeguards a fragile tooth
  • It repairs a damaged or worn out tooth
  • Covers a tooth that may have needed a larger than usual filling           
  • It keeps a dental bridge in place
  • It covers and conceals a dental implant
  • It also covers a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment

A crown can be made of porcelain amalgamated with resin, metal, or ceramic materials such as Zirconia. Crowns can be expensive, which is why Dr. Pierce may offer alternative materials or treatment options.

There may be occasions when Pierce Aesthetics makes a temporary, or a same-day crown, in our clinic. Normally, a dentist readies the tooth for the crown, then makes several impressions of the tooth as necessary, or takes a digital impression, then fits in a temporary crown while sending the mold to a lab, and finally fits your permanent crown over your tooth at a later date. A permanent crown can last for many years, provided you take good care of it.

Enamel Shaping and Contouring

In this procedure, Dr. Sean Pierce strips off, or shapes, dental enamel to enhance the look of your teeth. Dentists may perform this procedure along with the bonding process.

Reshaping and contouring are done to change the shape, size, and even the placement of teeth. These procedures can set right cases of: 

  • Teeth that are twisted or lie on top of one another
  • Teeth that are broken, fragmented, or uneven and asymmetrical
  • Slight problems with biting

Even patient with regular, healthy, teeth can benefit from reshaping and contouring should you have sufficient bone between teeth to hold them in place and make them firmer.


Nowadays, people of any age make the most of braces. Braces enhance the appearance of one’s teeth by straightening, or evening, them out. But they can do much more than that by correcting an unbalanced bite and rectifying incorrect jaw positioning and complaints of defective jaw joints.    

Dr. Natalie Dang, our orthodontist, may recommend the use of braces to apply pressure in order to change the position of certain teeth. If a case is more complex, the braces may have to be worn for several months.

When fitting the braces in your mouth, Dr. Dang will first attach brackets to your teeth. These may be of metal, plastic, or ceramic. A wire is then passed through the brackets, all the while guiding the teeth towards their correct position. At times, an orthodontist may fix lingual orthodontic braces to the inner (lingual) sides of the teeth, which are then unnoticeable.

Once your braces are attached, you may feel a certain amount of discomfort for some time. You will have to visit your orthodontist regularly to have your braces tightened. Bear in mind that regular oral hygiene is of great importance at all times, but even more so when you are fitted with braces.

There are almost no risks associated with the fixing and wearing of braces. However, people who are allergic to latex, or metal, or those suffering from periodontal disease are exposed to more risk during the procedure. Moreover, should a patient’s teeth be moved too quickly, they may be subjected to root shortening.

A patient with only a slight tooth spacing issue can – instead of wearing the regular braces – wear clear aligners or invisible braces. These are transparent, made to order devices. The aligners are reshaped and replaced every few weeks by your orthodontist in order to move your teeth until the desired objective is attained. A useful feature of aligners is that they do not have to be worn at mealtime and can be taken out of the mouth when the user wishes to eat, brush, or floss their teeth. 

Treatment with braces usually entails two stages. The first stage involves the wearing of the braces. In the second stage, a retainer is used to keep the teeth in their new and correct position. Conveniently, a retainer can be either removed or attached permanently behind one’s teeth.


A dental bridge, also known as a fixed partial denture, is used to substitute missing teeth with false, or artificial, teeth. Dental bridges are fabricated from porcelain, Zirconia, metals such as gold, and other alloys. Once they are prepared for crowns, they are fastened to the neighboring teeth. An artificial tooth is then joined to the crowns. It is secured with cement atop the readied tooth. It is then firmly set and cemented, only the dentist will be able to remove it, if necessary.

How successful your bridge procedure turns out depends upon how good its groundwork is. Therefore, always bear in mind that maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping the teeth you still have healthy is important when wearing a bridge.

Dental Implants

Having a dental implant embedded in your jaw can be a costly but long-lasting method of compensating for lost teeth. It’s definitely worth the expense, and the expertise involved in using this “permanent” substitute for bridges, or removable dentures, is highly dependable. Only a qualified oral surgeon, or an implant specialist such as Sean Pierce, DDS, is qualified to place dental implants.

A traditional implant consists of three elements:

1. The implant body, which is made of titanium or Zirconia, and it fuses to the jawbone

2. The abutment, the seat of the crown and is fixed to the implant body

3. The crown, which is created by a restorative dentist, and makes the tooth appear natural

One implant is needed in the replacement of a single tooth. More than two implants can be utilized to provide firm support if you are replacing several teeth. Should a prospective implant-receiver have suffered bone loss through loss of teeth, or periodontal disease, Dr. Pierce will recommend grafting some bone onto the specific area suffering bone loss to enable your natural bone to integrate with, and eventually replace, the grafted bone.   

There are several actions to be performed during a dental implant procedure, which includes:

  • Initially, a complete examination of the prospective patient’s mouth and jaws is done, X-rays are taken, and consultations made
  • Impressions of the lower and upper jaws are taken
  • Models of the concerned dentures or crowns are made
  • The titanium, or Zirconia, implants are surgically implanted
  • Proper abutment is selected, a custom one may be required
  • The crown is placed atop the abutment & implant
  • Your implant team conducts follow-up exams
  • Other periodontal plastic procedures are undertaken

There are more procedures available to enhance your smile and confidence. Some of them help correct or beautify:

  • A gum line that is uneven
  • Teeth that are too short or long
  • Roots that are exposed
  • Unsightly grooves or indentations along one’s jawline or gums

You need not worry about any of the aesthetic problems you might have. All you have to do is consult with Dr. Sean Pierce of Pierce Aesthetics!