What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
The term cosmetic dentistry refers to the art and science of improving the appearance of your smile including teeth, gums, and bite.
It may involve moving teeth from their original positions, tooth whitening, getting caps or veneers, or other procedures that may not be medically necessary but enhance the look of your mouth and teeth.
Cosmetic dental surgery is the term used for cosmetic dental work that is more invasive and complex, and usually involves local anesthesia and requires a longer recovery time.
There are various procedures that are typically considered to be cosmetic, including but not limited to adding material to the teeth and gums (bonding, porcelain crowns or caps, veneers, or gum grafts), the removal of material from the teeth and gums (gingivectomy or enameloplasty), scaling, reshaping, bridging, straightening, implants, mini implants, gum lifts, bite reclamation, and whitening.
- Porcelain Crowns – Porcelain crowns are one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures, and they are performed when a tooth is damaged and cannot be fixed with a filling or other type of treatments. Porcelain can fix teeth that are broken or chipped and when properly crafted, mimic the look of real teeth and are undetectable to others.
- Dental Bonding – This is one of the easiest and least expensive cosmetic dental processes; it is a procedure in which tooth colored resin is applied over the tooth and treated with a special light, “bonding” the resin to the tooth and repairing small chips or cracks, reducing gaps between the teeth, or even as an alternative to silver amalgam fillings.
- Dental Implants – When one or more teeth are missing (whether they were knocked out or broken because of an injury, damaged because of cavities, or they needed to be removed for other reasons), dental implants are often considered the ideal way to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Dentures may be an option if there is significant damage.
- Dental Bridges – Dental bridges are another common procedure, and they are used as an alternative to dental implants; bridges are applied when there is not enough room to place a dental implant and the surrounding teeth aren’t fit for a crown or dental cap.
- Teeth Whitening – Teeth whitening or tooth whitening is relatively simple and non-invasive cosmetic procedure. While there are at-home whitening kits that you can purchase over-the-counter, if you have your teeth whitened by a dentist the results will likely be much more dramatic.
- Porcelain Veneers – Porcelain veneers are becoming an increasingly popular solution to help reshape whiten teeth that are either too small, misshapen, or extremely discolored. Porcelain veneers are glued or bonded over your existing teeth.
Orthodontic or prosthodontic procedures such as braces, Inman Aligners, Invisalign or even a full mouth reconstruction are also considered cosmetic dentistry, although in some cases this type of dental work may be necessary to correct damage from an accident or injury.
A cosmetic dentist may perform all of the aforementioned procedures or they may specialize in certain areas of cosmetic dentistry or types of cosmetic dental surgery.
Trends in Cosmetic Dentistry
While cosmetic dentistry has been around since the 1800s, it is more common than ever today, and people of all ages and genders decide to get cosmetic dental work performed for a variety of reasons.
Porcelain veneers are becoming more common than ever, thanks to the influence of celebrities and influencers who have them.
In addition, 3-D modelling, planning and printing, as well as dental implants are viable options for younger patients (if a tooth is damaged, sometimes it might be preferable to replace it all together instead of just fixing problematic teeth).
Teeth whitening is another mainstream procedure, since it can provide that sparkling white smile without the effort and cost of veneers – it can be a good solution if your teeth are already fairly straight and even.
The Advantages of Cosmetic Dentistry
Many people get cosmetic dental work done because they have a broken, chipped, or missing tooth, or their teeth are discolored due to medications they had to take as a child.
Others get cosmetic dental care because their teeth are misaligned or misshapen, too small for their mouth, their gums are receding, or they simply wish to have that perfectly white and symmetrical “Hollywood” smile that is usually the result of porcelain veneers.
While some forms of cosmetic dentistry may seem superficial, the boost in self-esteem and confidence can make a major difference in one’s mental health and well-being.
Finding the Right Cosmetic Dentist
If you are the market for any kind of cosmetic dental work, know that the most important thing that you can do is research the various options, talk to your family dentist (they may already offer the procedure or be able to refer you to a dentist, orthodontist, or prosthodontist who does), and ask your friends as well.
Look at their portfolio and check out before and after pictures they should have on their website.
What appeals to you about the “after” shots and how does that align with your goals?
When you consult with a cosmetic dentist, bring a list of questions, some examples of teeth and smiles that you like, and any other background research that you’ve done.
What to Expect at a Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation
When you go in for a cosmetic dentistry consultation, you probably already have a good idea of your end goal, whether that is to fix a broken or damaged tooth, replace a missing tooth, whiten your teeth, or simply to explore your options for cosmetic dental work or cosmetic dental surgery, you can expect a few things.
First, your dentist or cosmetic dental surgeon will ask you about your goals and desires for the procedure, followed by a physical exam and likely x-rays or other imaging so they can get a full picture of your teeth and mouth.
Next, they will make recommendations as to what sort of cosmetic dental work you might need and what results you can realistically expect.
From there, it is up to you to work with your cosmetic dentist and decide as to how to proceed.
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Many dentists practice both family and cosmetic dentistry, or you might hear it described as a general or cosmetic dental practice.
This means their practice can do dental exams, fillings, and teeth cleanings but they may also offer crowns or caps, bonding, dental implants, and more.
Many dental clinics or practices may also have a specialized cosmetic dentist on staff.
Cosmetic dental care is something that many dentists offer, particularly less invasive procedures like teeth whitening, dental crowns, or dental caps.
For more complex work or processes like veneers that require specialized expertise, a family or general dentist may refer you to a cosmetic dentist who focuses on that particular type of procedure.
How to Find a Cosmetic Dentist Near Me
Finding a cosmetic dentist in one of Australia’s major cities such as Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, or along Australia’s Gold Coast is fairly simple.
However, finding an excellent cosmetic dentist can be more complicated.
If you are thinking of getting a cosmetic treatment like teeth whitening and your main dentist doesn’t do cosmetic work, you should look at dentists described as cosmetic dentists in particular (in addition to asking for a referral).
For example, searching “cosmetic dentist near me” and checking out the various options, their reviews, and their portfolios of work can be a good place to start.
Adding the type of procedure (e.g. veneers) that you hope to get done will also help narrow it down.
Once you find a dentist whose work you are interested in and who has a positive reputation, you can take the next step and set up a consultation to discuss the type(s) of cosmetic dental care or cosmetic dental surgery that you are interested in.
How Much Does Cosmetic Dentistry Cost?
How much is cosmetic dental work?
That depends upon a variety of factors, including the type of work that you wish to have done, your dentist’s location, and whether or not your insurance will cover the procedure.
Keep in mind that some types of insurance may consider things like teeth whitening or veneers to be optional.
Private dentists – who may or may not take your insurance – often perform cosmetic dental work and may even specialize in the type of aesthetic-centric dental work that insurance doesn’t often cover.
One thing to keep in mind is that cheap cosmetic dental surgery is almost never a good idea – your teeth are irreplaceable and when it comes to dental surgery – like anything else – you get what you pay for.
Are you considering a cosmetic dental surgery or any other kind of cosmetic dentistry work?
The various options might seem daunting at first, but talking to your family dentist (who may very well also offer cosmetic dentistry work or are able to point you towards colleagues who do) and doing some research on your own before booking a consultation or two.
If you are considering cosmetic dental work, remember one thing – confidence in your smile is priceless.