Cosmetic Dentistry – Solution for a More Beautiful Smile
No one is born with a set of perfect pearly whites, and even people who are lucky enough to have their adult teeth grow in straight and well-spaced often find that time takes its toll. Damaged, discolored, or missing teeth can all have a dramatic negative impact on a person's self-esteem. Still, the good news is that there's a simple solution for anyone who wants a more beautiful smile. Visit a cosmetic dentist.
What Is a Cosmetic Dentist?
A cosmetic dentist is a trained professional who provides care for every patient's teeth and gums with the primary objective of improving the appearance of their overall smiles. Cosmetic treatment can be used in conjunction with restorative dentistry to increase the aesthetic beauty of just about anyone's smile and the confidence that goes along with it.
What Do Cosmetic Dentists Do?
Cosmetic dentists perform various procedures, from teeth whitening to installing dental implants. Some patients visit a cosmetic dentist just once to have minor work done before a special occasion, such as a wedding. Others need more substantial or ongoing help restoring the appearance of their smiles and therefore schedule multiple visits over months or even years.
When it comes to training and expertise, a cosmetic dentist can perform all of the basic dentistry techniques usually associated with general dentistry, including cleanings and exams. In addition, they can also provide services such as:
Teeth whitening is one of the least expensive and most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures. It involves removing plaque, tartar, and other debris and bleaching the surface of the teeth to remove stains and discoloration. Professional tooth whitening is up to eight times more effective than over-the-counter products.
Cosmetic dentists use dental veneers to address minor cosmetic issues such as damaged enamel, crooked teeth, and gaps between teeth. The dental veneers can be made from porcelain, resin, or ceramic and are custom-fabricated for each patient. A cosmetic dentist installs veneers by removing a small amount of enamel from a tooth's surface then bonding the thin shell to the front of the tooth.
Dental labs design dental crowns to restore the appearance of more severely misshapen or discolored teeth. General dentists also use them to protect weakened, damaged, or decayed teeth and cover root canals, bridges, implants, and enamel fillings.
Inlays and Onlays
Cosmetic dentists use inlays and onlays, also called indirect fillings, to cover teeth that are too decayed for standard fillings. Like dental veneers, dentists bond inlays and onlays to the patient's natural teeth. They're considered a viable alternative to crowns when only part of the center or surface of the tooth is damaged or decayed to the point where it's visually unappealing.
Cosmetic dentists and their patients love dental implants because they offer the most natural-looking way to replace missing teeth. The implants are inserted into patients' jawbones then fitted with a crown. Once an implant heals, it looks and functions like a regular tooth.
Dental bonding involves applying a moldable resin to a tooth then hardening it with UV light. The material can then be trimmed, shaped, and polished to blend into the tooth's surface. This technique primarily repairs cracks, chips, and misshapen teeth.
Reasons to See a Cosmetic Dentist
Every patient has a slightly different set of reasons for seeking the services of a cosmetic dentist. However, most people place these common reasons at the top of their lists:
- Repairing damage and tooth decay
- Reshaping misshapen teeth
- Reducing discoloration
- Hiding crooked teeth
- Replacing missing teeth
How to Find and Choose a Cosmetic Dentist
Usually, a few specialists practice in each town, so finding a cosmetic dentist is typically easy. However, choosing a cosmetic dentist can be much more challenging. Therefore, patients wondering how to find the best cosmetic dentist in their areas should plan to start their searches in advance. To get the search started on the right foot, follow the steps below.
Step One: Ask for Referrals
The best place to start searching for a cosmetic dentist is with friends and family who live in the area. Patients can also ask their general dentists, post in forums asking for advice, or read through reviews of local practices online. Try to choose no more than three or four dental offices to research.
Step Two: Check Credentials
There's no special license required for dentists to call themselves cosmetic dentists. However, the AACD does provide credentialing for professionals who work in the field. So before moving forward with a cosmetic dentist, check if they are AACD accredited.
Step Three: Ask About Education
Few dental schools provide students with general education in cosmetic dentistry. Instead, professionals in the field receive degrees in general dentistry then pursue post-graduate training to master the principles of cosmetic work. Ask whether the dentist has pursued additional training and is up-to-date on the latest cosmetic techniques.
Step Four: Ask About Experience
Becoming a great cosmetic dentist requires more than just formal training. It also takes plenty of hands-on experience. Ask any dentist still in the running after the first three steps about how much experience they have with the particular procedures you want. Also, find out how much of the practice is devoted to cosmetic work. It can also help to check out some before and after photos.
Schedule a Consultation with a Cosmetic Dentist
Once a patient has learned the ins and outs of cosmetic dentistry and completed the steps above, it should be relatively easy to choose the best cosmetic dentist. However, before making a final decision, schedule a consultation to explain objectives, ask for the dentist's recommendations, and ensure that the practice feels like a good fit. Then, with the right cosmetic dentist, the rest will be easy.