Have you noticed that perfectly straight smiles that seem to light up the room are the ones you can’t help but stare at? For most people, this is the dream goal for their teeth. While you may think that some individuals are born with a perfect pair of chompers, that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, most people aren’t born with perfect smiles. Whether there is a minor imperfection or something more serve, these issues would need to be corrected to have the perfect smile. Cue cosmetic dentistry services. But what is cosmetic dentistry, and why is it important? 

While general dentistry is the focus of correcting teeth and gum issues for the sake of oral health, cosmetic dentistry typically is aimed at the aesthetic aspect. A primary difference between these is discerned by insurance companies, too, as most insurances won’t pay for cosmetic procedures because they are considered ‘optional’ or ‘elective.’ While you might not necessarily need cosmetics, there are many great reasons why individuals choose these procedures every year.  

How our smiles look can directly affect our self-esteem. In a recent study by the AACD, 99.7% of individuals feel that their smile is a valuable social asset. A smile we feel confident with, we will display more than one that we do not. When a person smiles, the other person reacts differently. It sends a more trusting message to the other person, a feeling of warmth. In a situation where you are meeting someone new, such as on a date, a beautiful smile will make you feel more confident, and it will show. 

What Dental Services Are Considered Cosmetic?

Cosmetic dentistry can solve many types of problems. It is essential to know what it can explain, to understand the services that many dental offices offer to patients. Cosmetic dentistry can fix:

  • Discolorations
  • Missing Teeth
  • Misshapen Teeth
  • Chipped Teeth
  • Broken Teeth
  • Some alignment Issues 

 These situations can range from minor to severe, but cosmetic procedures are typically the best way to solve the issues. Not every dental office offers the same processes, there are a few staples in the industry. These can include:

Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is used to remove stains from the teeth and brighten to a whiter white. Professional teeth whitening has many different brands that can be used in-office, such as Zoom! Teeth Whitening System. This service is much more effective than store-bought products and produces results much more quickly, just one office visit.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are worn on the front of the teeth and can help resolve any problems. For those that have discolorations, that teeth whitening can’t or didn’t fix, chips, cracks, or misshapen teeth, porcelain veneers can be an excellent solution. Veneers are considered permanent. These will have to be replaced every seven to ten years or if they accidentally come out. 

Dental Implants

Dental implants are designed to fill gaps in the smile due to missing teeth. These are sometimes thought of as cosmetic, as most insurance companies still don’t cover the cost, but they can also be considered restorative. Dental implants are surgically placed under the gum into the jawbone and provide support to restorations such as implant-supported bridges and dentures. 

Tooth Bonding

Tooth bonding can be used for a variety of improvements. Commonly used for filling in chips and cracks, tooth bonding can also help prevent future damage to a tooth. The material used in tooth bonding is very similar to the resin used to fill cavities. Your dentist will apply the bonding agent where needed, then file it down to a flawless finish.  

Inlays and Onlays

These can be used to solve specific misshapen teeth problems as well as cracks. The biggest difference between bonding and inlays and onlays is how they are created. Inlays and onlays are fabricated outside the mouth and then affixed to the tooth, whereas tooth bonding is applied directly. Both of these solve similar issues, and it is up to the discretion of the dentist as to which service works best for the patient’s needs. 

Invisalign

Invisalign is sometimes thought of as orthodontics, and many offices do classify it this way. But Invisalign also falls into the category of cosmetic dentistry. The reason here is that it can solve a variety of alignment issues, but most don’t necessarily affect the health of the teeth and gums. Patients are usually required to have excellent oral health before getting Invisalign. Most insurances won’t cover the total cost of Invisalign, and many still consider this a cosmetic treatment. 

Same-Day Crowns

Same-day crowns are created in-office using a 3-D printer. This is a relatively new treatment option some dental offices provide. The benefit of same-day crowns is the speed. Instead of patients having to wait days sometimes weeks for their restorations, your dentist can create on in same day using their 3D printer. Your dentist will design the perfect tooth/teeth using software such as CAD. Once the ideal shape is decided, it is sent to the printer for manufacturing. These are made out of durable resin and last as long as typical lab-created crowns.

Cost of Cosmetic Dentistry

As mentioned previous, insurances won’t cover most cosmetic procedures as they are considered elective. Typically the costs of cosmetic dentistry are more than that of general dentistry procedures. The costs will also vary significantly based on the patient, their specific needs, and what services are used. 

You can expect that most cosmetic procedures to average into the thousands, with teeth whitening being the least expensive being on average $600. When compared to dental implants, that can cost upwards of $3000, including the implant and restoration. Always talk to your dental office about costs and the types of cosmetic dentistry you are considering to know exact figures. 

Conclusion 

When wondering what is cosmetic dentistry, think of procedures that will improve or enhance your smile. Teeth whitening, veneers, tooth bonding, and dental implants are all cosmetic procedures that can significantly improve the look of a person’s smile. While these are elective procedures, they can also make a person more confident in everyday situations.