Cosmetic dentistry is a branch of dentistry concerned with beautifying teeth and improving the functionality of the smile. State-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry requires additional specialized training beyond dental school. While any dentist can practice it by taking continuing education courses on the subject, the experience and training of the oral and maxillofacial surgeon who practices cosmetic dentistry sets their level of expertise apart.
Cosmetic dentistry mainly includes the following dental procedures:
Bleaching: As the name suggests, this procedure involves lightening the patient’s tooth color to remove stains and discoloration. For dramatically improved results, it is recommended that the whitening process is performed under the guidance of an experienced and trained cosmetic dentist. Teeth whitening can be completed in one appointment or multiple sessions may be required depending on the individual’s choice and desired tooth color.
Veneers: Veneers are the second most commonly used form of treatment in cosmetic dentistry. This procedure involves covering the tooth with a natural-looking tooth-like porcelain shell. Veneers are custom porcelain resin coatings that go over the patient’s own teeth. They provide extra protection for the enamel, a means to achieve optimal whitening (patients consult with the cosmetic dentist when choosing the color of the veneer), and ultimately help the patient achieve their ideal smile. Because veneers are considered an optional treatment, they are not covered by dental insurance.
Dental Implants: Dental implants involve the replacement of missing teeth to improve both the function and aesthetics of a patient’s smile. Cosmetic dentists often work with an oral surgeon in the implantation process. Demand for dental implants has increased as patients experience dramatic results. Benefits include: improved speech, comfortable bites, improved facial contours, prevention of bone loss (in the jaw) and an aesthetically pleasing smile.
Dental Bridges: Dental bridges are used to fill the gaps between missing teeth. They are a series of crowns fused together to bridge gaps caused by missing teeth.
Dental Bonding: Dental bonding is an excellent option for repairing broken, uneven, or chipped teeth. During the bonding process, cosmetic dentists bond resin directly to the tooth to create the ideal appearance and shape of the tooth. Dental bonding can last seven to eleven years with good oral hygiene.
Tooth Reform: This part of cosmetic dentistry involves repairing broken, chipped, or cracked teeth. Tooth deformation is used to change the shape, size and position of the patient’s teeth.