Cosmetic dentistry improves the aesthetic quality of your teeth and mouth and can include procedures like teeth whitening, crowns or veneers, and bonding. Although the name “cosmetic” may imply services that are solely for appearance, many cosmetic dental procedures are preventative and restorative and can improve the health function of your mouth.
Types of Cosmetic Procedures
If you suffer from heavily stained, chipped, missing, or damaged teeth, your dentist may recommend a dental procedure that will improve the way your mouth looks and functions. Cosmetic dental procedures include:
- Teeth Whitening: if your teeth have been stained or discolored, either from consuming staining foods or from damage to your teeth, you may be eligible for in-office teeth whitening. Although there are many over-the-counter options for at-home teeth whitening, patients with severe staining or discoloration should talk to their dentist about having their teeth professionally whitened. In addition to removing stains and damage, your dentist can also “bleach” your teeth to achieve a whiter color than your natural teeth.
- Fillings also called “inlays” and “onlays”: these repair teeth that have been chipped or cracked, your dentist can provide a filling that mirrors the look and feel of your natural teeth. Made in a dental lab, the filling is placed and molded directly to the surface of your tooth, often requiring no preparative surgery.
- Composite Bonding: if your teeth are too decayed or damaged to support a filling, you may be a candidate for composite bonding. Your dentist will drill away the decayed or damaged part of your tooth before replacing it with a “composite,” which is placed on the surface of the tooth and then sculpted to fit the look of your natural teeth.
- Veneers: manufactured from ceramic, veneers can mend and improve crooked, cracked, or damaged teeth. Your dentist applies an adhesive to the front of your tooth, then affixes the veneer, restoring the look of your natural teeth.
- Implants: also considered restorative as well as cosmetic, dental implants replace missing or severely damaged teeth. In place of the missing tooth, your dentist implants a titanium screw, upon which a fake tooth is fastened. This procedure may require several dental visits to prepare your mouth for the new implant.
Although services like teeth whitening are often considered non-essential, many procedures, such as dental implants, composite bonding, and fillings, can also improve the function of damaged or missing teeth. If you aren’t satisfied with the look of your mouth, talk to your dentist about whether a cosmetic procedure could improve both the appearance and strength of your teeth.