A cosmetic dentist is a dental professional who has received additional training and education in cosmetic dental procedures and techniques. They differ from a general dentist in that they provide patients with purely aesthetic results rather than catering to their oral health needs. A cosmetic dentist works closely with patients to help them achieve their ideal smile through a variety of procedures. These procedures can correct imperfections in the teeth, gums, and mouth.
Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a person's teeth, gums, and/or bite. Cosmetic dentistry does not necessarily refer to elective or optional treatments; instead, it means any treatment that is done solely to improve the visual appearance of your teeth. Your cosmetic dentist may recommend cosmetic treatment for teeth that are discolored, gapped, chipped, overcrowded, have small teeth, or have other aesthetic flaws. Some people even visit their dentist for purely cosmetic reasons, such as teeth whitening.
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
- Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental treatments. It brightens and lightens your smile, removing stains and discoloration from your tooth's surface. Professional teeth whitening treatments work better than over-the-counter products because your dentist has access to prescription-strength bleaching agents.
- Veneers conceal tooth imperfections such as dental stains, cracks, or chips. Your dentist can prepare your teeth for porcelain veneers by removing a small amount of enamel from each tooth before bonding the thin shells to the front of your teeth. Veneers are stain-resistant and durable; they can last for more than a decade with proper care.
- Dental bonding restores small chips and cracks in teeth. The composite resin material bonds to your teeth and can be shaped and polished to look like your natural smile. Bonding is an affordable way to cover minor flaws and damage in your smile.
- Composite fillings repair cavities and can be shaded to match your natural teeth. They offer long-lasting protection without the worry of the dark metal color showing through your front teeth. Fillings also restore a tooth damaged by decay and prevent further deterioration of the surrounding tooth structure.
- Porcelain crowns are a versatile solution for restoring damaged teeth. This cosmetic dentistry procedure covers weak or broken teeth and gives them a natural-looking appearance by encasing the visible portion of your tooth with a custom-made cap. Crowns are used for both restorative and cosmetic purposes, covering stained, cracked, chipped, or broken teeth.
During your consultation, your dentist can answer any questions you have about cosmetic dentistry, as well as discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each procedure so that you can make an informed decision about the care you receive.