Esthetic Dentistry

Children smile when they are proud of their teeth. At school and at play, they feel more confident. Ask your pediatric dentist about esthetic dentistry to restore or enhance your child’s smile.

What causes discolored teeth?

There are many possible causes. Trauma to a tooth can cause discoloration. Severe illness during tooth development can discolor areas of teeth because of disruptions in tooth development. Additionally, an entire tooth might discolor if exposed to certain medicines or minerals during development. Lastly, poor oral hygiene, especially during orthodontic therapy, can lead to discolored areas on teeth as well.

How do you restore a discolored tooth to its natural color?

Bleaching can be a good treatment choice. It requires no anesthetic and removes no tooth structure. One or more teeth can be bleached in a series of visits to your pediatric dentist. Or, your pediatric dentist may recommend a bleaching program at home under his or her guidance.

How do you treat discolored spots on teeth?

A technique called microabrasion can improve the appearance of teeth with discolored areas. In this treatment, the pediatric dentist removes microscopic bits of discolored tooth enamel with an abrasive and a mild acid. Microabrasion is a conservative treatment, usually comfortable for the patient. It works best on surface discoloration.

What about chipped or broken teeth?

Bonding tooth-colored plastic to the tooth or cementing tooth-colored veneers to affected teeth not only restores the appearance of discolored teeth, but restores the original shape of chipped or broken teeth as well. These techniques are less costly than crowns and generally can be done without a lot of tooth preparation. They restore the natural appearance of the tooth and therefore encourage a confident smile.

Are there any limitations to bonding or veneers?

Yes, there are some limitations. Although the treatments are conservative, they require some loss of tooth enamel. Also, bonded teeth and veneers are simply not as strong as the original tooth structure. Nail biting, hard foods, and sports accidents can damage them. They must be maintained with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits.

What about porcelain crowns?

Porcelain crowns give nice cosmetic results for discolored, chipped, or broken teeth. They do present two realities of which a parent should be aware. First, crowns are more costly than other treatments. Second, the dentist must remove a significant amount of tooth structure to place a crown. Therefore, porcelain crowns are seldom recommended for pediatric patients.