A Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry

For many people, cosmetic dentistry conjures up images of seriously damaged teeth being transformed into an after-picture of pristine, white and perfectly aligned smile. While this may be true to an extent, there is a wide variety of techniques and procedures available for patients seeking to restore their teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry specifically creating a positive change in a patient’s teeth, mouth and smile. Most often patients choose cosmetic dentistry to fix a long-term or more recent tooth problem. While there are many cosmetic procedures a dentist can perform, the following is a list of the most common cosmetic procedures:

Teeth Whitening ☼

One of the most common dental procedures to improve smile appearance is teeth whitening. There are several main methods of whitening with the most popular using an in-office treatment with gel and UV light. Results are seen quickly with most patients feeling no pain during the procedure.

Porcelain Crowns ⌂

For damaged teeth that require large fillings or a root canal, a porcelain crown is used to cover the remaining damaged tooth. The crown looks like a natural tooth and provides similar biting surface as the tooth it covers.

Veneers ○

For teeth that are cracked, chipped or too badly stained, veneers are the next choice. Veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that are applied to the outer layer of the teeth. The teeth are lightly sanded down to create a good grip for the veneers. Once applied, veneers present a uniform look to otherwise damaged teeth.

Dental Implants ♦

For patients missing teeth or who have severely damaged teeth, implants are a good option. With implants, a small screw is inserted into the jaw where the missing tooth should be. Once the jaw has completely healed, durable porcelain crowns are inserted into the screw, using the screw as an anchor. Implants are incredibly durable and almost identical to the teeth they replace.

Most cosmetic dentistry is not covered by insurance, though at varying percentages. For those patients in need of cosmetic dentistry, check with your dentist for coverage and out of pocket expenses. Work with your dentist to get what you need, even if a payment plan will be involved. Nothing quite compares to having a healthy and beautiful smile. ♥ ♥ ♥