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Q: How can you improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry?

Posted April 02, 2014 in Advice Column, Ames

A: Many people today could do so much to improve their smile if only they would find a good cosmetic dentist. From whitening to closing spaces and shaping or replacing teeth, no one needs to be self-conscious and unhappy with their appearance. With all the tools and techniques available, a dentist with the right skill set can work miracles.

Teeth whitening can make a huge difference in the appearance of a healthy smile. Whitening to remove stains and discoloration can refresh the smile and “take years off” one’s appearance. In-office whitening, as well as at-home custom trays are available. The procedure is safe, effective and relatively inexpensive.

Bonding may improve the appearance of teeth using a resin composite, applied to the tooth’s surface. Veneers are custom shells, made of porcelain, that cover the front sides of the teeth to change their color and/or shape. A crown wraps completely around the tooth, 360 degrees. Bonding, veneers and crowns can improve teeth that have spaces, are chipped or broken, permanently stained, crooked or are misshapen. Veneers and crowns are made in the lab, using impressions of the patient’s bite. They are cemented in place and last for a very long time.

Before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, it’s important to know the risks and benefits and what the process includes. Patients need to ask questions regarding the dentist’s experience, financial arrangements and expectations. Photos and testimonials of other patients can help ensure satisfaction. All in all, it is possible to give yourself something to smile about.

Information provided by Dr. Amie Rockow-Nelson, Ames Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, 415 S. Duff, Suite D, Ames, 515-956-3700.

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