Cosmetic dentistry includes a wide range of elective procedures that are designed to improve the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums or smile. Cosmetic dental procedures will give you beautiful and natural-looking teeth that you’ll be proud to show off. Cosmetic procedures also have added health benefits and can improve your dental health by making cleaning your teeth easier and reducing the effects of clenching and grinding your teeth. A cosmetic dentist’s primary job is to improve the aesthetics of your smile – but this can have positive effects on your dental health as well.
Cosmetic dentistry can be considered for people with any of the following dental problems:
- Crooked or misaligned teeth
- Teeth which are worn down or excessively short
- Broken, chipped or cracked teeth
- Discoloured or stained teeth
- Uneven or irregularly shaped teeth
- Gappy teeth
How cosmetic dentistry fixes dental problems
Cosmetic dentistry can help by:
- Reshaping uneven teeth
- Rebuilding or covering chipped, broken or worn teeth
- Whitening and brightening your teeth
- Replacing missing teeth and filling in any gaps
- Replacing old amalgam silver fillings
From small and subtle changes to major repairs, cosmetic dental procedures will improve the alignment, colour, shape and appearance of your teeth and gums.
Damaged teeth not only affect your self-confidence and appearance, they can also affect your dental health. If you don’t correct these problems, they will usually worsen over time and become far more expensive and time-consuming to correct in the future.
Cosmetic dentistry procedures
There are a wide range of cosmetic methods that dentists can use to enhance and modify your smile, including:
- Dental veneers – thinly constructed, custom-made shells that cover the front surfaces of your teeth to conceal dental imperfections.
- Dental crowns – a cap that fully encases the entire tooth, improving its appearance, shape, size or strength.
- Dental bridges – a restoration that is used to fill the gap between missing teeth, creating the illusion of a tooth where no tooth actually exists.
- Dental implants – an artificial tooth which is inserted into your gum to replace one that is missing or too damaged to keep.
- Gum lifts – involves the use of a dental laser to raise, sculpt and contour the gum line to improve the appearance of your smile.
- Teeth whitening procedures – whitening agents are applied to your teeth, either in the dentist’s chair or using a take-home kit, to restore a whiter and brighter appearance to your smile.
- Micro-abrasion – involves the use of mechanical and chemical means to eliminate tooth discolouration by removing a small amount of tooth enamel.
- Reshaping or smoothing of enamel – involves the removal of small amounts of tooth enamel to change the surface, shape or length of teeth.
What is not included in cosmetic dentistry?
Because cosmetic dentistry is considered a voluntary procedure, it does not include dental procedures which are necessary to treat broken teeth or dental disease. There is a fine line between procedures which are considered to be cosmetic dentistry and procedures which aren’t, however. In some cases, nearly identical treatments can be considered cosmetic dentistry in one case, and general dentistry in another. The difference lies in the reason the treatment is sought.
For example, if a tooth was badly damaged and needed a crown to rebuild it, this would be considered general dentistry. If, on the other hand, a crown was placed on a healthy front tooth with no decay or damage, to improve its appearance, shape or alignment, this would be considered a cosmetic dental procedure. The treatment – the crown – remains the same, but in the first case the crown is placed for necessary reasons, while in the second, the crown is placed for voluntary reasons. Cosmetic dentistry includes all those procedures prompted by voluntary motivations, and not those procedures motivated by necessity (decay and damage). It improves appearance, but not necessarily function (although certainly function is sometimes improved by cosmetic procedures).
The most important thing cosmetic dentistry includes
The most important thing cosmetic dentistry includes is something you can’t see, but which is nonetheless extremely important: an improvement in confidence. Confidence plays a big role in success, so if your smile looks unsure or you greet people with a neutral expression or a frown, you may be negatively impacting your life in ways you haven’t even thought about. If you don’t appear confident, you may be missing out on opportunities to make the most of yourself. Improving your smile will have a whole host of benefits for your self-confidence and wellbeing. Cosmetic dentistry can help you re-discover your smile and your self-confidence, so that you can enjoy living life to its fullest.