Most dentists recommend that their patients should pay them a visit at least twice a year, and these regular check-ups and cleanings are crucial for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. But this doesn’t need to be your only interaction with dental care. Separate from general dentistry, the growing field of cosmetic dentistry can help you to adjust and improve the appearance of your teeth, with a number of useful services. Visiting a teeth whitening dental practice is often the first step for people who might be wondering “what is cosmetic dentistry?”.
Why Would I Need Cosmetic Dentistry?
Patients who otherwise have healthy teeth may still have some concerns about the way they look, or some dental issues that are affecting their everyday life. By fixing a few basic flaws, you could get more uniform teeth and a brighter, more attractive smile. This can lead to more confidence and more success in your career and interpersonal relationships. And people wondering “what is cosmetic dentistry?” might not be aware that it can also have functional benefits, protecting your teeth and improving your bite.
Some common problems that cosmetic dentistry patients want to get fixed include:
- Decayed teeth
- Misshapen teeth
- Damaged or broken teeth
- Missing teeth
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry comprises all the non-essential procedures that can improve your teeth, usually by changing their color, shape, or structure. Some cosmetic dentistry services include:
- Teeth whitening. This usually involves applying some kind of gentle abrasive or bleaching agent to your teeth, to polish them, remove stains, and shift their color from a yellowish-brown towards white.
- Dental veneers. This involves cementing wafer-thin, custom-made shells to the teeth, after removing a small amount of enamel. The shells are usually made of tooth-colored porcelain or resin, and they can give you that winning ‘Hollywood smile’.
- Dental bonding. A putty-like resin, matching the color of teeth, is applied and shaped, and then set in place using an ultraviolet light.
- Dental crowns (caps). Usually made of ceramics, resin, or metal, these are fitted over teeth, entirely replacing them above the gumline.
- Inlays/onlays (fillings). Made of gold, ceramics, or composites, these are custom-made in a dental lab to fit the shape of teeth, in order to preserve as much of the healthy tooth as possible. They’re a more advanced alternative to crowns and bonding.
- Dental implants. If teeth are missing, implants are used as a foundation for their replacements. They’re usually made of titanium, and inserted into the jawbone socket. As the bone heals, it grows around the metal and anchors it securely in place.
How Much Does it Cost?
Unlike general dentistry, cosmetic dental services are considered non-essential and are not usually covered as part of standard dental plans. They can also involve some advanced techniques and expensive equipment. However, the benefits are potentially big enough to outweigh the costs. A survey from Oral Health Group suggests that teeth whitening alone could make you 58 percent more likely to get a job offer.
Teeth whitening is generally the cheapest option for a better smile, and some of the more basic products are even available over-the-counter, from pharmacies or retail outlets. Bonding is a little more expensive but is definitely a worthwhile cosmetic dentistry option for patients with cracked or chipped teeth. More expensive are veneers or crowns, which are similarly priced, both providing noticeable, permanent cosmetic benefits. Inlays /onlays and dental implants are the most advanced, and therefore most expensive, procedures, offering a major overhaul to the structure and appearance of your teeth.
If you want more specific information about prices or any other details related to cosmetic dentistry, pay a visit to your local clinic. Like thousands of other dental professionals nationwide, the cosmetic dentists in Columbia, MD are ready to answer “what is cosmetic dentistry?”, and any other questions you might have. Start to explore the world of cosmetic dentistry today, and find out how much better your smile could be.