What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is professional oral care that improves the appearance of teeth and gums. Cosmetic dentists are fully trained dentists who provide treatments to create the perfect smile — from teeth whitening and clear aligners to composite bonding and teeth implants.
People visit cosmetic dentists to adjust the colour, shape, and alignment of their teeth. As with other forms of cosmetic treatments, a perfect smile is about self-confidence.
Cosmetic dentists typically cover four key areas:
- Teeth straightening
- Teeth rebuilding
- Teeth whitening
- Teeth replacement.
Cosmetic dentistry can fix your smile and transform your self-esteem. No longer will you need to find ways to hide your teeth, such as eating dinner alone or covering your mouth with your hand when you laugh.
Here’s a list of the top five trends in cosmetic dentistry to help you smile with confidence.
1. Teeth Whitening
Our teeth endure daily attacks on their appearance. Acids in drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine erode and discolour teeth. And just like our hair, tooth enamel thins as we age, transforming our teeth from a bright white to a dull yellow.
Simple and affordable teeth whitening treatments can reverse these processes, giving us a more vibrant smile. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, whiter teeth are the top issue people would most like to improve about their smile — and the procedure is gaining popularity. Americans conduct 74,000 searches a month for “teeth whitening”, and market analysts estimate that cosmetic tooth bleaching is a $3.2 billion global industry.
Straightening your teeth to brighten your smile doesn’t mean you have to wear metal braces. Invisalign custom-designed clear aligners are discrete and exert gentle pressure to gradually straighten your teeth.
Invisalign aligners are made from a soft, comfortable patented material based on 3-D scans of your teeth. These clear aligners are less conspicuous than traditional braces but address the same dental problems: gaps between teeth, overbite, and overcrowded teeth.
They’re also faster to fit. Metal braces might require two appointments to be fitted, whereas dentists can precisely align Invisalign in half the time. Invisalign is also the only clear aligner system fully supervised by dentists, with face-to-face dental appointments every six to eight weeks.
3. Composite Bonding
Cosmetic bonding (also known as dental bonding) is a minimally-invasive dental procedure for fixing damaged teeth or small gaps between them. A dentist adds layers of colored composite resin to fill chips, fractures, and holes in the teeth to change their size and shape and improve your smile.
Bonding is drill-free (so no anaesthesia), suitable for all ages, and causes no permanent alteration to the tooth’s structure. The composite can be removed or repaired any time after the treatment. However, this solution can only correct minor problems with misaligned teeth.
A cosmetic dentist completes the composite bonding procedure in five easy steps by:
- Cleaning your teeth
- Applying dental adhesive
- Using composite to transform your smile
- Hardening and bonding the composite using a blue light
- Polishing the composite for shine and shape.
4. Gum Contouring
Gum lines vary from person to person. Some people have high gums, some low and some have uneven gum lines.
Gum contouring (also known as gingival sculpting or gingivoplasty) is a cosmetic procedure that resculpts your gums. A dental specialist removes excess gum tissue to expose more of the tooth, giving you a fuller, wider smile.
The procedure is quick, but your gums are likely to be sensitive after, so your dentist will advise you to eat just soft foods for a few days.
The cost of gum contouring depends on the amount of tissue that needs sculpting and the local rates in your area.
5. Dental Implants
A dental implant is a titanium screw fitted into the jawbone to replace a missing tooth or teeth. They are made from a high-quality, non-toxic material that gradually fuses with your jawbone to keep it firm and healthy.
An implant looks and functions like a native tooth and consists of two main parts:
- The crown above the gum. The implant crown looks and feels like a healthy, natural tooth.
- The root below the gum. The implanted screw functions as a natural root and provides a stable foundation for the new crown. After two to three months, the bone will bond to the implant surface.
If you’re missing a single tooth, a single dental implant is used. A fixed implant bridge of two or more screws can also be used if you’re missing multiple teeth.
The five cosmetic dentistry treatments discussed here will alter your smile in many ways. Which dentistry treatment suits you best will depend on your needs and budget.
What all the treatments have in common, however, is that they improve your smile and boost your confidence. People notice you when you smile more, opening doors and creating new opportunities.
How to Find a Good Cosmetic Dentist
When looking for a good cosmetic dentist, before you begin your search, be clear about what you want. Maybe this list of dentistry procedures has provided new options you were unaware existed. If so, Google the procedure name followed by “good cosmetic dentist in your area”. The search may throw up some local results and then you can check the cosmetic dentists’ Google reviews to get a better idea of how they work.
From here, you’ll want to see the dentist’s qualifications. Check they’re registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) and experienced in the procedure you want.
Above all, take your time. Don’t rush into a premature decision by choosing the first cosmetic dentist you find. Weigh up your options. You may find someone local, but they don’t specialise in the procedure you require; another may be over an hour’s drive away but boasts many five-star reviews on reputable sites.
When the goal is a life-transforming smile, you can never be too diligent about finding the right cosmetic dentist.