Reversible vs. Irreversible Cosmetic Dental Treatments

Reversible vs. Irreversible

When deciding whether cosmetic dentistry is right for you, there are many things to consider. For starters, you may want to consider what your cosmetic goals are, how long you are willing to devote to treatment, and your budget. However, another important thing to consider that you may not be aware of is whether you want a reversible or irreversible cosmetic treatment. 

Like their name suggests, reversible cosmetic dental treatments can be reversed. This is because there are no major changes made to the tooth structure. Reversible treatments are ideal in cases where you are not entirely ready to commit to cosmetic dental treatment or if you are looking for a temporary solution while you save up for a more permanent option. However, reversible cosmetic treatments have shorter lifespans and may be more susceptible to damage. 

Reversible Cosmetic Treatments

Cosmetic Bonding

composite resin softened in tube

Cosmetic bonding is a simple procedure that bonds composite resin to the enamel as a way of improving the tooth’s appearance. It is generally used for minor cosmetic concerns such as small chips and cracks, gaps, and minor alignment problems. Since the composite resin can be removed by a dentist without damaging the tooth, teeth treated with composite bonding can eventually be treated with a different cosmetic treatment. 

Composite Veneers

Veneers made from composite resin tend to be thinner than traditional porcelain veneers. For this reason, they do not require the same type of enamel modification for placement and can be adhered directly to the tooth. Although many cosmetic dentists recommend porcelain over composite for veneers, composite veneers provide a temporary cosmetic solution that can eventually be reversed. 

Irreversible Cosmetic Treatments

Unlike reversible treatments, irreversible cosmetic treatments cannot be reversed because the tooth structure has been altered. This ultimately means that once a certain restoration wears out, it must be replaced with another restoration of the same type. However, because irreversible restorations are made for long-term use, they are made to be highly durable and aesthetic. 

various dental restorations

Dental Crown

One of the most common irreversible restorations are dental crowns, which are tooth-shaped caps that fit over the top of an existing tooth. To fit a dental crown, the natural tooth structure must be reduced in size. Due to the amount of natural tooth structure that needs to be removed to place a dental crown, they are generally only recommended for cases where damage or decay has affected the majority of the tooth. 

Porcelain Veneers

Unlike composite veneers, porcelain veneers are thicker shells adhered to the front of visible teeth. Since they require a thin layer of enamel be removed for placement, they are also considered an irreversible treatment. 

Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made from titanium that are placed into the jawbone. They will eventually fuse with the jawbone and cannot be easily removed. In fact, implants are generally only removed if they do not heal properly, otherwise they will remain in the jawbone. The dental prosthetic attached to the implant will likely need to be replaced at some point, however the implant itself will usually last around 20 years or longer. 

Dr. Sam Sadati wearing black suite portrait

Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry.  He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.