What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is refers to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the function) of a persons teeth, gums and / or bite and the enhancement of a persons smile. The dentist here is primarily focused on improvement dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance. 

What can a patient expect from a cosmetic dentistry consultation?

A patient can expect to be asked in detail what she / he likes and dislikes about the smile, and what the patient wants to change. Bringing photos of how the patient looked in the past or would like to look in the future are helpful to serve as general guidelines. 
Because aesthetic problems such as missing or discolored teeth can also point to underlying health issues, a comprehensive oral exam is a must. Once the dentist has a thorough understanding of where to start from and where to end up, he or she can explain the treatment options, plan a course of action, costs involved and time duration to implement the plan. 

What Dental Treatments Are Considered Cosmetic?

Cosmetic dentistry treatments include: 
  • Scaling & Polishing - Over time, teeth can become stained or discolored, especially after smoking, taking certain medications, or consuming foods and beverages such as coffee and tea. Such conditions can be dealt with Scaling & Polishing of the teeth. In fact Scaling & Polishing is the most common cosmetic dental procedure done to improve the smile.
  • Teeth Whitening - Whitening, or "tooth bleaching", is a common cosmetic dental procedure done to brighten the smile.
  • Composite Bonding - A tooth-colored composite resin ( bonding material ) attached to the teeth can improve the appearance and strength of chipped, broken, stained, or cracked teeth.
  • Porcelain & Composite Veneers - Designed to substitute for tooth enamel, veneers are hard, thin shells of tooth-colored material that can mask a variety of dental imperfections.
  • Porcelain Crowns - Crowns completely cover a tooth with natural-looking porcelain caps.
  • Porcelain Bridgework - A missing tooth can be replaced with porcelain bridgework that is attached to the natural teeth on either side of the space.
  • Dental Implants- Usually made of titanium, an implant is fitted with a crown to create a natural-looking replacement for the entire tooth.
  • Inlays & Onlays - In certain cases, fillings can be fabricated from porcelain or composite materials in a dental laboratory to more closely match the color of a tooth. When applied to the inside of the tooth, they are referred to as "inlays" . When attached to the biting surface, they are known as "onlays."
  • Tooth-Colored Fillings - With Tooth Colored materials, the fillings these days are barely noticeable.
  • Clear Orthodontic Aligners - An alternative for correcting minor spacing problems involves wearing a series of clear, customized appliances called aligners, or invisible braces. Unlike traditional braces, aligners can be removed while eating, brushing, and flossing. Many adults, as well as some teenagers, are opting for clear orthodontic aligners, instead of metal braces, to straighten their teeth.
  • Cosmetic Gum Surgery - Minor surgery can reshape gum tissue to give it a more leveled appearance