Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and to your smile. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) is the primary dental resource for patients as they strive to maintain their health, function, and appearance for their lifetime.
What Dental Treatments Are Considered Cosmetic?
All cosmetic dentistry treatments improve the appearance of an individual’s teeth. Some can also restore function and/or improve oral health as well.
Cosmetic dentistry treatments include:
Teeth Whitening — A relatively inexpensive way to brighten your smile, whitening teeth can be accomplished at home or in the dentist’s chair. There are many products and methods from which to choose.
Composite Bonding — A tooth-colored composite resin attached to the teeth can improve the appearance and strength of chipped teeth. These procedures require very little preparation (drilling) of the tooth.
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 — Heavily damaged teeth can be covered with natural-looking porcelain crowns, which replace more natural tooth structure than veneers.
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 used to replace the root portion of a missing tooth. The 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.” Attached to the biting surface, they are known as “onlays.”
Tooth-Colored Fillings — Gone are the days when a filling has to be obvious and unsightly. Tooth-colored fillings are barely noticeable.
Clear Orthodontic Aligners — Many adults, as well as some teenagers, are opting for clear orthodontic aligners, instead of metal braces, to straighten their teeth. Read more about Clear Orthodontic Aligners.
Cosmetic Gum Surgery — Minor surgery can reshape gum tissue to give it a more leveled appearance.
Tooth Contouring & Reshaping — Cosmetic dentists can use a drill or laser to smooth out or reshape teeth.
How Do I Choose a Cosmetic Dentist?
You’ll want to make sure the dentist you choose has demonstrated a high level of skill performing the types of cosmetic treatments you are considering. Any cosmetic dentists should be able to show you before-and-after photos of his or her work and provide references from other patients in your community. You should also verify that the dentist you choose has taken continuing education courses to keep up with the latest techniques in clinical cosmetic dentistry.