Cosmetic dentistry is aimed at improving both your teeth and smile, for aesthetic reasons. A great smile boosts overall self-confidence and self-esteem. Procedures could improve color, alignment, or shape of teeth, gums or bite. Most dentists offer cosmetic procedures in addition to their regular services.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) has developed standards for cosmetic dentistry and promulgated responsible esthetics. Responsible esthetics in this regard means helping patients maintain oral health, function, and appearance for a lifetime. AACD dentists believe that cosmetic dentistry should complement the overall general and oral health of the patient.
Cosmetic dentistry is rarely taught in dental school, therefore dentists must learn techniques as post-graduate training. Accreditation in the AACD allows dentists to master their skills through exams and real-life presentations.
The most common cosmetic dentistry procedures are dental implants, dentures, direct bonding, orthodontics and aligners, periodontal plastic surgery, porcelain crowns, fixed bridges, veneers, repairing chipped teeth, teeth whitening, and tooth-colored fillings. Some procedures also work on the gums, improving the gum line and the bite reclamation.
Some dental conditions are symptoms of deeper dental issues. In these cases, the dentist is required to responsibly treat the patient, restoring oral health as well as addressing the cosmetic issues. Common conditions treated with cosmetic surgery are misaligned teeth, discolored, broken or missing teeth, gum recessions, and cavities.
Cosmetic dentistry has evolved over the years, with newer and better materials becoming available every year. In the past, many fillings used metals but today, most dental work is done with porcelain or other composite materials that mimic natural teeth, and are bonded using high-strength resin adhesives.
Most dental insurance doesn’t cover cosmetic procedures fully. Some pay up to 50%, some pay less. Every insurance provider is different, so consulting the provider before starting any cosmetic procedure is advised.