Cosmetic Dentistry is the term used to describe dental procedures that tend to improve the appearance of your teeth, but not necessarily the health of your mouth. Most cosmetic dental procedures are non-essential and the most common procedures used are fairly simple in nature. However, they can offer a wide range of benefits that include making regular cleaning easier, improving your confidence and, in some cases can even reduce grinding.
While it is not a recognized specialty at many dental schools, many dentists refer to themselves as cosmetic dentists or specialists in this field because they have received specialty training in one or more areas of dental medicine that are recognized specialties and are also considered cosmetic, or non-essential procedures. One example of this is those trained as orthodontists who help to straighten teeth.
One of the most popular procedures that people go to cosmetic dentists for is teeth whitening. This is because, over time, teeth can become stained or discolored, especially after smoking, taking certain medications, or consuming foods and beverages such as coffee and tea. Moreover, research shows that professional tooth whitening is safer and more effective than do-it-yourself remedies and almost every cosmetic dentist offers a wide variety of in-office or take-home tooth whitening systems for a brightened, stain-free smile.
However, bear in mind that your teeth can become stained again if you continue exposing them to the same substances that stained them in the first place. Additionally, you are reminded that whitening products are not meant to clean teeth. Therefore, it is still important to continue practicing daily oral hygiene and brush twice a day, floss at least once, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
In addition to teeth whitening and straightening, cosmetic dentists also do veneers, crowns, bridges, and implants. Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of a tooth as an alternative to braces or if one tooth is especially discolored. Dentists are able to match veneers to your real teeth, therefore no one will ever notice. However, this treatment requires shaving off a part of your tooth and eventually the veneer will require replacement or repair as the porcelain wares away.
Crowns are used to repair chipped or cracked teeth and restore them to their normal shape. Similar to crowns are bridges that are used to fill spaces between large gaps and missing teeth. They are not exclusively cosmetic and are considered a more affordable and less evasive procedure when compared to both implants and orthodontics as they help to improve the appearance of teeth without replacing or straightening.
Implants are used to replace teeth and are done by inserting a small titanium screw into your jaw. Implants are usually indistinguishable from your surrounding natural teeth and are permanently secured into place once the bone and supporting tissue fuse to the implant. During the implant placement period, patients need to practice good oral hygiene in order to clean plaque and food debris from the area.