For patients with a variety of different cosmetic dental goals, it can make sense to combine multiple procedures into individual office visits. What must be kept in mind is that certain cosmetic dental procedures combine better than others. In most cases, treatments need to be performed in a specific order to get the best results from each one.
Below are some notes on common cosmetic dental procedures and how they can (and can not) be combined.
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One of the most popular and effective treatments for correcting crooked teeth is the Invisalign® system. Because Invisalign® treatment occurs over a long period, scheduling other cosmetic procedures around it requires professional insight.
Straightening teeth usually receive top priority for patients with multiple cosmetic concerns, with other procedures waiting until after the straightening is complete. However, some cosmetic dental procedures can be administered while a patient is using Invisalign® aligners. These include:
- Teeth Replacement. Patients who intend to use dental implants to replace missing teeth need extensive preparatory work for that procedure. In some cases, a dentist will be able to perform some of this preliminary work while a patient is still wearing aligners. The gum and bone at the implant site can be prepared and healed, ready for the insertion of an implant, by the time straightening is complete.
- Teeth Whitening. Invisalign® treatment is compatible with teeth whiteners during the last two weeks of the straightening process. This usually takes the form of using high-quality at-home whitening products, as recommended by the patient’s dentist.
Other cosmetic procedures, such as bonding and veneers, are best left until after the patient has completed Invisalign® treatment.
Patients with minor tooth alignment issues may opt to forego full straightening treatment and instead resolve the issue with porcelain veneers.
Replacement Of One Or More Teeth
Dental implants are the current state-of-the-art in teeth replacement. Individual teeth can be replaced with implants, and implants can also be used to anchor multiple-tooth replacements (like dentures and bridges). Patients who do not require any of the straightening treatments described above will typically start their cosmetic dental treatment with implants.
Here is how other cosmetic treatments are scheduled around dental implants:
- Teeth Whitening. Whitening should be done before dental implants (or other restorative devices) are finalized. This way, the color of the artificial restorations can be better matched with the color of the patient’s natural teeth. Restorative devices cannot be whitened after they have been installed.
- Veneers, Bonding, And Crowns. These treatments are typically employed to correct structural tooth damage or fix deep discolorations that don’t respond to conventional whitening treatments. The installation of veneers or crowns and dental bonding typically come after other cosmetic treatments like straightening, whitening, and implant placement.
Why it is important to follow the order of cosmetic dental procedures
When multiple cosmetic treatments are combined, doing so in the correct order improves the effectiveness of each procedure and reduces the total amount of time required.
It is vitally important to remember that dental health takes precedence over cosmetic dentistry. Professional dentists know that oral health problems like cavities, infections, and gum disease should always be treated and resolved before moving on to cosmetic work.
This is a general schedule for cosmetic dental procedures that can be applied in most cases:
- Orthodontics: Crooked and misaligned teeth are straightened before other procedures are scheduled.
- Whitening: Patients who want their teeth whitened should do so before receiving other restorative treatments.
- Replacement: Implants, bridges, and other appliances are installed.
- Damage Restoration: Minor issues like chipped, broken, or cracked teeth are addressed once other the patient’s other cosmetic work is complete.