Cosmetic dentistry, also known as esthetic dentistry, is defined as the method of dentistry that improves a patient’s smile and self-image. Having a beautiful smile and strong teeth are essential for many reasons—aesthetically and in relation to overall health. An attractive smile or lack thereof affects your oral health. In addition, self-confidence and how the world perceives you on the outside are also impacted. This is because a person’s smile is usually the first feature anyone notices.
Esthetic procedures include dental veneers and teeth whitening. On the other hand, dental crowns, dental bridges, dental bonding, dental implants, inlays and onlays, and dentures are all restorative dental treatments.
Cosmetic dentistry may involve:
- The addition of a dental material to teeth or gums – veneers especially porcelain, crowns, and bridges.
- The removal of tooth or gum structure – examples: gingivectomy, tooth filing.
- Neither adding nor removing dental materials, tooth structure, or gums – examples: teeth whitening.
- The arrangement of teeth is accompanied by improvement in the appearance of the face- orthodontics.
- Composite veneers (conservative or very minimal reduction in tooth tissue).
Most times, there is a combination of reduction in tooth structure and addition of materials.
Why Choose Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry procedures can correct misshapen, chipped, discolored, and missing teeth. There are simple and sophisticated solutions for fixing a smile, depending on the patient’s desired outcome. According to experts, there are many reasons why an individual is unhappy with their smile. For example, the most common causes are tooth discoloration, teeth crowding, and teeth gaps. Dental veneers are the most requested treatment because they can correct all of the cosmetic issues listed above.
Types of Cosmetic Procedures
Esthetic dental treatments are commonly referred to as “smile makeovers.” In particular, there are a few cosmetic procedures to choose from based on individual needs:
Whitening treatments include over-the-counter treatments, in-office whitening treatments, and intensive treatment using custom impressions. In-office whitening is the most effective type of whitening, according to dental experts, as this removes the risk associated with the side effects of whitening due to the use of inappropriate substances. Also, it is always advisable to have whitening done by a dentist or at least under the supervision of one.
It is also important to note that teeth whitening is not a permanent solution to teeth discoloration as there will be a need to repeat the procedure down the line.
Veneers improve the appearance of chipped, discolored, misshapen, or crooked teeth. There are also a few different types of veneers to choose from. For example, porcelain veneers bond to the teeth using special cement and require recontouring. On the other hand, prepress veneers do not require recontouring before placement.
Veneers provide excellent aesthetic results; so many patients prefer them over teeth whitening products and orthodontic treatments.
Braces and Clear Aligners
Braces and clear aligners are orthodontic treatments, but they are also considered cosmetic by nature. This is because most people who invest in braces or clear aligners, such as Invisalign, do so to improve their appearance. In some cases, braces or clear aligners may be medically necessary.
Gum contouring is another cosmetic procedure that changes the shape of your gums. During the procedure, a dentist cuts away any excessive gum tissue that is causing a “gummy” smile. A gummy smile is when a person has too much gum tissue above their top teeth. Contouring can also be used to restore exposed teeth caused by receding gum tissue.