Cosmetic dentistry is a growing sector of the industry, which is no surprise when you consider that many people consider their smile their most important social asset. The dental office of Evansville dentist Dr. Max Lingo, an active member of the American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry, offers several cosmetic procedures to enhance the appearance and function of patients’ teeth.

If your smile isn’t up to par, you may lack the self-confidence you need to move forward professionally and socially. But there are many procedures available to enhance and improve the appearance and function of teeth, including crowns, bridges, veneers and whitening processes.  According to a report by Grand View Research, the cosmetic dentistry market is expected to reach $27.95 billion by 2024. The study found that more and more people are choosing dental procedures that improve their appearance, spurred by interest among older patients.

The rise in cosmetic dental procedures also is driving a need for more dentists. The United Stated Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for dentists will increase by 18 percent by 2024, and that nearly 27,000 new dentists will be licensed.

Whitening and correcting alignment are two of the most-requested procedures. Some people who have unsuccessfully tried over-the-counter whitening products are turning to dental professionals for treatment.

One factor driving the increase in cosmetic dentistry is the development of sophisticated dental systems, equipment and products that make the process easier. For example, the use of computer aided design and manufacturing systems and 3D technology has revolutionized the design process for dental prosthetics.

Advancements in technology have made using dental implants, bridges, crowns, veneers, orthodontic braces, bonding agents, inlays and onlays easier for both dentists and patients.  Before you decide to undergo a cosmetic dentistry treatment, there are some things you should consider:

• Has your dentist participated in additional training and continuing education in cosmetic dentistry? The American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) offers accreditation in cosmetic dentistry, a distinction held by about 5,500 dentists nationwide, per the Los Angeles Times.

• Do you understand the logistics and timeframe involved with the procedure? Whitening, for example, will probably need to be repeated every six to 12 months depending on what kinds of food and drinks you consume and whether you smoke.

• Do you know how much the process will cost? Cost vary depending on the necessary extent of each procedure. Know whether the cost is a one-time charge or whether payment will be required for follow-up visits. Check your dental coverage before you begin; some dental insurance will fully or partially cover the costs of some cosmetic procedures, while others will not cover them at all.

• Are orthodontics what you really need? Orthodontic procedures will improve the appearance of your teeth as well as your bite by changing their position in your mouth. Conventional orthodontic braces can cost from $5,000 to $7,000. The cost of computer-generated plastic alignment trays also starts at about $5,000. Treatments at the office of Dr. Max Lingo include full coverage crowns, multi-tooth dental bridges and veneers.

These restorative and tooth replacement treatments are designed to function exceptionally well and restoring the aesthetic beauty to a patient’s smile. The crown and bridge treatments use porcelain materials that are both durable and color-matched to closely resemble the appearance of the other teeth.

Full-coverage crowns are used to repair teeth that have been severely damaged by tooth decay or a fracture. Covering the entire tooth with this restoration allows the tooth to continue functioning normally, without discomfort.

The crowns placed by the office of Evansville dentist Dr. Max Lingo can last more than 20 years, while the average dental crown typically only lasts seven to 10 years.

Multi-tooth dental bridges are used when one or two teeth are missing. The bridges can be anchored onto adjacent healthy teeth, suspending the false crowns over the open space where the teeth are missing.

Bridges also can be placed onto dental implants if there are several missing teeth in one area. Replacing missing teeth with a bridge prevents other teeth from shifting out of place. Multi-tooth dental bridges also help retain the spacing of teeth throughout the mouth.

The procedure for placing full-coverage crowns and multi-tooth dental bridges in the mouth is similar. Each treatment takes two visits. At the first appointment, the anchoring tooth is adjusted so that it can support the crown or bridge.

The dentist will then take an impression, and a temporary restoration will be placed over the tooth or teeth. To ensure that the temporary crown looks as normal as possible, Dr. Lingo uses natural-looking BioTemps crowns if the restoration is in the front part of the mouth.

In about two or three weeks, the permanent crown or bridge will be ready. The temporary restoration will be removed, and the permanent restoration will be bonded into place.

Porcelain veneers are a wonderful option if you’re looking to completely make over your entire smile. Instead of using a combination of various different treatments, veneers provide a one-time dramatic change to your appearance.

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are placed over the front of teeth, helping them look straighter, whiter and fuller. They are used to correct chipped enamel, crooked teeth or discoloration.

The veneers process involved taking an impression of the patient’s teeth then making a mock-up of what the completed veneers will look like. During a preparation visit, the patient’s teeth are gently contoured, then a new impression is taken.

Temporary veneers will be placed over the teeth to prevent sensitivity as the permanent porcelain veneers are being made. Within about two to three weeks, the new veneers will be ready. They will then be bonded permanently into place.

Veneers are a good solution if teeth are chipped, discolored, have spaces between them, are different lengths, worn or misshapen, or slightly crooked.

In addition to AACD, Evansville dentist Dr. Max Lingo is also a member of the American Dental Association, the Indiana Dental Association, the American Association of Implant Dentistry, the International Congress of Oral Implantology, and the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. Contact the office of Dr. Max Lingo for all of your dental needs.