Answers to the Most Popular FAQs About Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry operate in a synergistic relationship, both supporting the same goal: A healthy, beautiful smile. 

General dentistry ensures you have a healthy mouth and gums, with jaws working properly and in alignment. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on the appearance of the teeth and gums and includes everything from whitening the teeth to complete smile makeovers with veneers, bonding, and orthodontic treatments. 

Today’s cosmetic dental technology and treatment options offer many ways to reach your personal goals. It’s easy to get confused with all the choices, so here are some frequently asked questions about cosmetic dentistry that will help. 

FAQS About Cosmetic Dentistry:

Cosmetic dentistry is a specialized branch of dentistry that goes beyond merely keeping the teeth, gums, and jaws healthy. Those things must be maintained, but cosmetic dentistry seeks to achieve a beautiful smile that elevates your self-confidence as you face the world.

Cosmetic dentists can be considered dental artists because they craft smiles that are both healthy and visually perfect. Your teeth and mouth become their work of art as the dentist corrects imperfections, creates symmetry, and transforms your teeth, using simple procedures like Zoom teeth whitening or complex techniques that result in a full-mouth reconstruction.

Let’s answer some of the most common questions about cosmetic dentistry:

What Is the Most Common Cosmetic Treatment?

Teeth whitening is at the top of the list! It is a fast, non-invasive way to brighten your smile and can be achieved by sanding down stains, bleaching, or ultraviolet (UV) light therapy. In 2024, the number of American consumers using tooth whiteners is expected to reach 35.22 million people.

Stains inside your tooth enamel are called intrinsic stains and are sometimes present even before the primary teeth erupt. They can also be the result of antibiotic use, extreme levels of fluoride exposure, and aging.

Extrinsic stains are those on the outside of your teeth. Such discoloration can happen from exposure to the environment, like coffee, tea, dyes in foods and drinks, some antibiotics (just like intrinsic stains), and smoking.

There are many different teeth whitening products available, including over-the-counter products. Some at-home teeth whitening methods have uncomfortable side effects such as tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. For this reason, it is recommended that this treatment be done safely in your dentist’s office. 

If you have your teeth whitened by a cosmetic dentist, the whitening can last from six months to two years. The length of time will depend on you: The foods and drinks you consume, the effectiveness of your oral hygiene routine, and tobacco use. The whitening can be prolonged through regular maintenance treatments.

What Are Some Other Most Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures?

Here are some other top cosmetic procedures:

Veneers

Veneers are thin, tooth-colored covers that a cosmetic dentist applies directly over the existing teeth. They can change the size and shape of teeth, hide surface flaws, close gaps between teeth, and change tooth color. Veneers are either made from porcelain or a composite material.

Each veneer is custom-made for you, and you can get one veneer or a set for the front teeth. A complete smile makeover can be achieved easily with a full set of veneers. To do this, though, a small amount of enamel must be removed from each underlying tooth and this process is permanent. When the veneers have to be replaced, usually in 10-20 years, the teeth will need to be capped or new veneers applied. 

Dental Contouring

For teeth that need more subtle adjustments, dental contouring may be the answer. Perhaps a tooth is taller (or shorter) than all the others around it or it has a small chip in it, the dentist can file it down, build it up, or place bonding material in the chip. The result is a uniform, natural look to the teeth. 

The process is different for each patient, depending on the adjustments that need to be done. The cosmetic dentist examines the patient, listens to what the patient’s goals are, and then creates a treatment plan. There is no extensive lab work required, so contouring is an affordable way to improve the smile.

Gum Reshaping

Many people believe their gum tissue can’t be adjusted. Gum reshaping might be called for if the gums cover too much of your teeth or the gums are uneven.  This condition might be genetic, it could be the side effect of medication, or it may be due to gum disease. In any case, it is a simple procedure, yet the results are significant in the look of your smile!

The dentist uses a laser or scalpel to reduce the size of the gum tissue around each tooth. In some cases, grafting of gum tissue may be necessary. The treatment is done under local anesthetic, just like most other dental work. 

Inlays and Onlays

When a tooth needs a substantial filling due to breakage, decay, or fracture, dental inlays or onlays are the best option.  They are strong and long-lasting, giving you a gorgeous, lasting smile. They are stain-resistant, custom-made, resistant to fractures, and can last years. However, they aren’t always permanent and will usually need to be replaced down the road. 

Implants

Dental implants are designed to be the most natural way possible to replace missing teeth. They maintain bone mass in the jaw and last 10 to 15 years. The implant is inserted into the jawbone, with a crown attached with an abutment. If several teeth need to be replaced, several implants can be done or an implant-supported dental bridge is an option, depending on the teeth missing.

This is an expensive, lengthy procedure so discuss this option with your cosmetic dentist as you decide how to proceed.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Safe?

Yes! An experienced, qualified dentist provides ethical cosmetic services that enhance the well-being of their patients. Professional organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outline strict guidelines and regulations that protect patient safety. Each procedure has pros and cons to be considered and the risks are minimal.

Does Insurance Cover Cosmetic Dentistry?

Sometimes, yes. The most important thing you can do is speak to your medical or dental insurance company before your procedures are started. Also talk to the business manager in your dentist’s office; they often know ways to minimize costs.

Many insurance carriers won’t cover the costs if a procedure is strictly cosmetic. However, the costs may be partially covered if a treatment has medical benefits, such as restorative work like crowns. 

Are Cosmetic Treatments Related To My Oral Health?

Yes. To carry out a cosmetic treatment, your dentist must first resolve any underlying problems with your gums and teeth. A tooth with a cavity, for example, must be fixed before a veneer is placed over it. After your cosmetic treatment, you will continue your daily oral health routines to keep your mouth healthy. Routine dental exams, cleanings, and daily practices keep your oral health in the best possible condition.

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You a Beautiful, Healthy Mouth

Cosmetic dentistry is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth, gums, mouth, and smile. The most common procedures within cosmetic dentistry are teeth whitening, veneers, inlays, onlays, and implants.

Now that we’ve answered the most common cosmetic dentistry FAQs, schedule a consultation with us here at All Smiles Dentistry and let our cosmetic dentistry experts craft the dazzling smile you’ve always dreamed of. Contact our office today!

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