How Cosmetic Dentistry Improves Your Appearance
Ways your dentist can helps you “say cheese” with confidence
Your smile is a window into your personality. What does your smile say about you when you’re on a date? Or a job interview? If you’re tired of smiling with your mouth closed, cosmetic dentistry might be an option to improve your appearance.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry professionally enhances the quality of your smile. This can be accomplished with several common cosmetic dentistry procedures, including:
- Teeth whitening with bleaching: Peroxide-based gel coats the teeth and bleaches surface stains and stains deep within tooth enamel.
- Teeth whitening with veneers: Thin layers of tooth-colored composite resin or porcelain are applied over teeth to improve their shape, color and overall appearance.
- Dental implants: A permanent treatment that replaces the roots of lost teeth. This helps maintain bone support and extend the life of surrounding teeth.
Bonding: The attachment of dental bonding materials directly to a tooth. The material can be porcelain or composite resin. These accurately mimic natural-tooth appearance and function.
Popular teeth-bleaching options
Teeth whitening with bleach is one of the most popular (and least expensive) cosmetic dentistry procedures. Several bleaching options are available to get your sparkling smile back.
- At the dentist: After protecting your gums with a gel or shield, your dentist coats your teeth with a bleaching agent. Your dentist may use light or heat to speed up the bleaching process.
- Using a whitening tray: Your dentist can fit you with a custom mouthguard for use with a bleaching solution at home. Or you can buy a “do-it-yourself” kit that usually requires you to heat a generic mouthguard to form to your teeth. When cooled, the tray is lined with dental-safe bleach and applied to teeth.
- Using a brush applicator: Some store-bought tooth whiteners come in a bottle with a brush applicator. Using the brush, you coat your teeth with the bleaching agent and leave it on your teeth for the recommended time period.
Using whitening strips: You take flexible, thin plastic strips with a layer of peroxide-based gel and fold them over your teeth. Some whitening strips are made to dissolve in your mouth. This is the most inexpensive whitening treatment and can be bought over the counter.
Bleaching vs. veneers
It’s important to keep realistic expectations after teeth bleaching. If you’re discouraged that your teeth aren’t “movie-star white,” multiple bleaching treatments may be necessary. And veneers may be another option.
What are veneers?
Veneers are a thin layer of tooth-colored composite resin or porcelain that is applied over teeth to improve their shape, color and overall appearance. To apply a veneer, your cosmetic dentist may either slightly score your teeth or grind and reshape your teeth.
Types of veneers
|Composite Resin Veneers||Porcelain Veneers|
Improve appearance of teeth, will need to be polished over time
Are translucent, thus better mimic the look of the translucent enamel of real teeth
If chipped or broken
Often can be repaired
Must be replaced
Usually completed in one dentist visit.
(Composite resin veneers are made
chairside by the dentist.)
Usually completed in two dentist visits.
(Porcelain veneers are made in a lab by a dental technician using a dental impression.)
Susceptible to staining
Resistant to staining
More costly than bleaching, less costly than porcelain veneers
More costly than composite resin veneers
WATCH: Learn more about cosmetic dentistry in our quick video