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This article provides a brief explanation of some cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry procedures, from teeth whitening and veneers to dentures and implants.

It has been proven that there’s a very real connection between oral health and overall wellness. For example, gum disease has been linked with heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and respiratory disease, so it’s important that you include regular, professional dental care as part of your overall healthcare regimen. The good news is, when it comes to the health of your pearly whites, you have many choices in dental procedures, whether you are looking to simply improve their appearance or replace teeth with dental implants in Illinois.

Teeth Whitening vs. Dental Veneers

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Cosmetic dentistry to improve your overall appearance is vital to your emotional health and sense of wellbeing. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that can be used to improve the appearance of teeth that have become discolored and stained from years of smoking and/or consuming dark colored foods and beverages. Veneers are another cosmetic option for improving the color of teeth. They were invented in 1982 and consist of thin layers of dental composite that can be directly mounted onto the front surface of your tooth or teeth. Porcelain veneers are fabricated by a dental technician and are then bonded to your teeth in a subsequent appointment with the dentist.

An Interesting Fact about Veneers: In the 1980s, the dental adhesive used to “glue” veneers to teeth only lasted a short time, so veneers were most commonly used by actors, who wanted their teeth to look good during a film shoot. Today, veneers are used not only to improve appearance, but also to repair damaged teeth and fill in missing tooth structure. Porcelain veneers are stronger and more stain-resistant than composite veneers. They also last anywhere from 10 to 30 years.

Removable Dentures vs. Dental Implants

Did you know that President George Washington wore dentures? A denture is a removable set of artificial teeth that rely on their bulkiness to remain stabilized in the mouth. Dentures have been used for hundreds of years, but they come hand-in-hand with a great variety of challenges. Sore gums, a triggered gag reflex, taste impediment, the need for adhesives, poor self-esteem and impaired eating function are just a few of the problems associated with these archaic teeth replacement devices.

Dental implants, on the other hand, are “root” artificial tooth insertions, which are made into the jawbone. The new tooth will actually fuse with the bone in a process termed “osseointegration”. Dental implants are, in the long run, more cost effective and make for a far more sophisticated teeth replacement. They look, function and feel like natural teeth and can last several decades without the need for restoration or replacement.

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In 1931, archeologists discovered evidence that Mayan civilizations were using crude approximations of dental implants in 600 AD! So, it’s not exactly a new concept. However, it was only after 1950 that dental implants – as we know them today – were innovated. Nowadays, they are the recommended treatment choice of implant dentists in Chicago.

A Final Note on Dental Implants

If you are considering having dental implants placed, remember not to wait around too long. The quicker you replace a missing tooth, the less complicated the surgery will be. Also, if you are a smoker, it’s definitely time to quit. Smoking reduces the healing success of dental implants quite considerably and it’s not worth the risks. Overall, the success rate of dental implants – for non-smokers – is 98%.

The importance of seeking emotional and physical wellness through professional dental care is not an option: it’s a necessity.

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