What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is a blend of art and medical science that goes far beyond giving you a Hollywood smile. While the focus of cosmetic dentistry is on enhancing appearance, it also ensures functionality of your teeth.
Your smile is regarded as an integral part of your personality. This is why so many people opt for cosmetic dental treatment. However, in crafting a beautiful smile, cosmetic dentists also make sure your teeth are doing their job properly.
General dentistry mainly provides preventive care and restorative work like fillings, root canals and other kinds of tooth repair. Cosmetic dentistry concentrates on improving your smile but also embraces restorative treatments.
In the hands of a cosmetic dentistry artist using state-of-the-art technology and materials, decayed, crooked, stained or chipped teeth can all be made to look natural and aesthetically pleasing.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry1 (AACD) stresses that aesthetic dental work should go hand in hand with safeguarding oral health and general wellbeing.
The AACD urges cosmetic dentists to make treatment decisions based on sound clinical judgment and proven protocols. The organization also advocates the use of innovative technology and materials to provide an effective and enduring solution.
Typical Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments
Cosmetic dentistry has advanced markedly from simply repairing damaged teeth. It now covers a broad range of aesthetic procedures, including dentures, dental implants, bridges, teeth whitening, veneers, bonding, and crowns.
The number of adults in the U.S. needing dentures is expected to rise from 33.6 million in 1991 to 37.9 million in 2020, according to The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry will ensure your removable full or partial dentures look natural.
An alternative to regular dentures, dental implants can transform a patient’s life in terms of both aesthetics and functionality, whether as multiple implants to support a full or partial denture or a single implant as a base for a crown.
Bridges – artificial teeth bonded to a frame – can replace several missing teeth. Besides reviving your smile, bridges enable an effective bite, preserve the shape of your face, and prevent remaining teeth from shifting out of alignment. Bridges are typically made from porcelain, gold or alloys, or a combination of these materials, and are bonded onto adjacent teeth for support.
Dr. Trivedi from Fine Dentistry of Downtown Orlando says, "Keeping our teeth their whitest is a lot harder than it sounds. With all the coffee, wine, smoking and other foods that have the ability to stain our teeth on a daily basis, even proper maintenance sometimes leaves them a little lackluster. Teeth whitening is an excellent way to restore the natural color of your teeth or even make them whiter than your natural color if you would like."
Teeth whitening by a cosmetic dentist avoid repeat applications of less-effective over-the-counter whitening products. Whitening materials available to a dental professional contain more powerful bleaching agents to produce a better outcome. A cosmetic dentist can lighten staining of both enamel and dentin and will monitor every stage of the whitening procedure to allow for adjustments in levels of the whitening agent.
Porcelain veneers conceal cracked or stained teeth or close gaps between teeth. These tooth-colored shells are bonded onto the front of teeth. Because veneers are customized for each patient, they complement the color and shape of surrounding teeth.
Tooth bonding provides an alternative to veneers to mask gaps, discolored teeth, and damaged enamel. A tooth-colored resin is cemented to the surface of the tooth with an ultra-violet light or laser. The resin can also be applied to a cavity to repair a decayed tooth.
Crowns – or caps – cover the remaining part of a damaged tooth to reinforce it while giving the tooth a natural shape. A crown can also improve the appearance of a tarnished filling, protect a root filling, or help to hold dentures or a bridge in place.
Aesthetics and Functionality in Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry will not only allow you to show off a great smile but also plays a key role in the functionality of your teeth as an aid to proper digestion and clear speech, and allowing you to enjoy the food you like.
Food needs to be broken down by your teeth before entering the digestive system so your body can easily absorb nutrients. Your teeth also help you to pronounce words accurately.
Cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry can overlap in several areas.
For example, veneers are regarded as cosmetic because they disguise stained or cracked teeth but they can be considered a restorative treatment in protecting the surface of a tooth.
While dentures improve appearance, they also address problems such as biting difficulties and slurred speech.
A dental bridge will restore your smile but also enable a correct bite and prevent remaining teeth from moving out of position.
An alternative to dentures and bridges, dental implants can transform a patient’s life in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.
Extractions can be another area where the line between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry becomes blurred if you choose to get dental implants as a foundation for replacement teeth. While the extraction itself is a restorative procedure, implants can be considered a cosmetic solution.
Although the American Dental Association (ADA) does not classify cosmetic dentistry as a specialty, dentists who focus on the more aesthetic aspects of dental care are regarded as cosmetic dentists by their patients and other dentists.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry for Insurance Purposes?
Fifty percent of people in the U.S. have dental insurance. However, according to the National Association of Dental Plans, cosmetic treatment such as crowns, veneers and dental bonding are not generally covered.
Restorative dentistry is necessary for health reasons, so insurance will typically cover some or all of these procedures. However, dental insurance providers regard aesthetic dentistry as elective and, therefore, outside the scope of insurance.
Nevertheless, cosmetic work that also provides a functional benefit – such as restoring tooth structure – may be covered at 50 percent.
If you want a cosmetic procedure that’s not included in your dental insurance, look for a practice that offers the CareCredit healthcare credit card, which covers some aspects of cosmetic dental work.
Cosmetic Dental Technology to Make You Feel Better About Yourself
Cosmetic dentistry can transform your life by enhancing the health and appearance of your teeth and smile to boost your self-esteem.
With the help of intensive research and advances in technology, aesthetic dentistry has progressed rapidly in recent years.
By embracing innovative technology, modern cosmetic dentistry maximizes comfort, convenience, and quality of treatment.
These cutting-edge procedures are now appealing to an ever-growing number of people with crooked, stained, chipped or missing teeth who want to feel better about how they look.