In India today, there is an increasing focus on maintaining a youthful appearance. This, of course, extends to our mouths. In recent years, more people have become concerned about having teeth that are straight and free of stains, chips or other obvious imperfections.

This is encouraged by popular television shows that provide makeovers. Advertisements for whitening agents have become very common on television and in newspapers and magazines. Numerous articles are written about bleaching agents. As a result, people often want their teeth to be perfectly uniform and dazzlingly white. Dental offices have responded to consumer demand, and offer many services such as porcelain veneers, bleaching, replacement of amalgam (silver) fillings with white fillings, and bonding procedures.

No one's sure how many cosmetic dental procedures are done each year. More than 95% of cosmetic dentists offer bleaching products and virtually all dentists perform some types of cosmetic dentistry services. Advances in cosmetic dentistry techniques have also made it possible for cosmetic dentists to repair damaged teeth without using amalgam or gold.

Cosmetic Dentistry - Good as New Dentists have been doing cosmetic restorations for decades, but the materials that were used, such as the early composite resins, tended to stain, chip and change colour over time, which limited their use.

New composite resins (tooth-coloured fillings) and porcelain veneers are strong, long-lasting and resist colour change over time. A few decades ago, people who chipped or broke a tooth either lived with it or had a crown (also called a cap) installed, a time-consuming and often expensive procedure. Crowns still are used sometimes, but it's often possible to "patch" minor imperfections, chips or fractured teeth with bonding composite resin that can be smoothed and colour-matched to the surrounding teeth.

A computer imaging technique is available that allows dentists to create "virtual restorations" on a computer screen. A patient who is thinking about having work done can see what the results will look like before he or she makes the decision to go forward. This imaging technique is relatively new and is not common in dental practices.

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