Over a lifetime, your teeth will accumulate damage that's less than aesthetically pleasing. Stains, chips, misalignments, cracks, discolorations, and many more conditions can look bad or even lead to health issues. There are plenty of cosmetic care options. You should understand what they are and how they might make sense for treating particular conditions.
Even if a dentist is sure that a patient will need more than a good cleaning, they will want the hygienist to clean the patient's teeth. The best-case scenario is that the cleaning addresses the problem. Perhaps a bit of plaque was discoloring and making a tooth look worse than it is, Even in the worst scenarios, cleaning the teeth will show the dentist where there might be treatable problems.
Bleaching agents can sometimes address discoloration and staining. Notably, a qualified hygienist has access to higher-grade products than you can purchase over the counter. This is because the chemicals in these products are strong enough to damage the tooth if misapplied. Consequently, only a trained professional should use them.
If a tooth is somewhat misshapen, the simplest solution may be to redo it. Using a resin that's similar to the material in fillings, the doctor can add a form to the smaller parts of the tooth. Within reason, they can also reshape oversized teeth and then seal them.
Resin is also useful in cosmetic dental care for treating small cracks and chips. The damage needs to be limited enough that the dentist isn't worried that the force of chewing might bust the tooth and trigger more than a cosmetic problem. As with reshaping teeth, the dentist will apply resin. They will then shape the resin to ensure that the tooth has a smooth surface where the chip or crack was.
Sometimes the tooth is too damaged for a touch-up with resin. If there's deep staining due to a lifestyle choice like smoking, the dentist may need to remove the affected layers and replace them with artificial materials like porcelain or resin. As long as the tooth is healthy, the dentist will usually install a veneer on the outward-facing side and leave the backside alone.
The idea behind a crown is the same as it is with a veneer. However, the doctor will remove more of the enamel from all sides of the tooth.
The most aggressive option is to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant. A doctor will extract the tooth, install a post, and then place a crown-like cap on the post.
Contact a local dental office, such as Sumter Family Dental Center, to learn more.