What is Cosmetic Dentistry and Why Does it Matter?
What is Cosmetic Dentistry and Why Does it Matter?
There has never been a more important time for the cosmetic dentistry industry. Thinking back to older days when people would smile close-mouthed—probably hiding discolored or cracked teeth—and had their picture taken only once or twice a year, our modern world is quite different.
In our modern era, people smile open-mouthed and typically have their photo taken a couple of times every month. People spend hours on their phones and computers, scrolling through close-up photos and videos. Many people now can work and attend school remotely, relying heavily on video calls that exhibit their faces. Our increasingly video and photo-centric world seemingly requires confident smiles.
With more focus than ever being put on smiles, living without a healthy, confident smile can contribute to a lack of self-confidence. That’s where cosmetic dentistry comes in to help.
Defined broadly, cosmetic dentistry encompasses dental procedures that improve the appearance of teeth and smiles. It can also help fix more severe issues like damaged, missing, or crowded teeth–and that’s only the noticeable improvements. Cosmetic dentistry also helps build confidence and give people that extra boost to pursue their goals.
Whether you’re looking to whiten your teeth, straighten your teeth, or replace missing or damaged teeth, choosing a cosmetic dentistry treatment just might be the solution for you.
Whiten Your Smile with Cosmetic Dentistry
Whitening teeth is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry options that is also relatively quick, non-invasive, and pain-free. While there are natural ways to brighten teeth, like reducing coffee and wine consumption, many patients want a more noticeable change in the color of their teeth.
While it’s possible to buy whitening products at the drugstore, our recommendation is to have your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist. A cosmetic dentist will be able to safely apply bleach to your teeth and create a tailored whitening schedule to ensure you achieve your desired results. Some cosmetic dentists even offer at-home whitening kits to provide the convenience of an at-home treatment with the expertise and assurance of an in-office dental visit.
Straighten Crooked Teeth with a Smile Makeover
Straightening crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth is another popular reason patients pursue orthodontics, a branch that falls within cosmetic dentistry. Whether your teeth are causing other health problems or you would just like to straighten them to improve self-confidence, this popular treatment option creates drastic improvements in patients’ smiles–and in some cases can give them the appearance of a complete smile makeover.
When looking into straightening teeth, patients have the choice between Invisalign or braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear aligner trays to move teeth into their corrected positions, whereas braces use brackets and wires to move the teeth. Your dentist or orthodontist will be able to assess your specific situation and make a recommendation on which option is best for you and your smile goals.
Most of these orthodontic cases fall within a range of 18-24 months for their teeth to straighten into their corrected positions. While this is on the longer end of results for cosmetic dentistry procedures, many patients feel as though their new straightened smile is worth the wait in the end.
Cosmetic Dentistry HelpsDamaged or Missing Teeth
One of the most important procedures under cosmetic dentistry is fixing damaged teeth. Not only will this improve the look of your smile, but it will also improve your overall oral health. Depending on the specific issue, there are a few options cosmetic dentistry provides as a solution.
Created from dental-grade ceramic or composite, dental veneers are a thin covering that’s applied to the front of the tooth using a dental adhesive. Veneers are particularly useful when it comes to reshaping teeth or protecting them from future chips and fractures. Veneers are typically created to match the surrounding teeth color, but they can also be created in lighter shades to mitigate tooth discoloration.
If a dental veneer is too small to fix a cracked or damaged tooth, the next step is to look at a dental crown. This option surrounds the whole tooth instead of just the front. Crowns are used most often in restoring infected or cracked teeth, and function as a completely normal tooth. Depending on where the tooth is located, there are a few options for material, with the most popular ones being metal, which is the most durable, and ceramic, which blends best into the surrounding teeth.
If you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants could be a great option to help improve your smile and replace missing teeth. In this procedure, your cosmetic dentist will insert a metal post into your jaw bone where the tooth is missing. Once the metal post has bonded with the jaw, the crown is then placed on the metal screw. The result is a natural looking tooth that helps restore natural speech, eating, and drinking habits.
Improving the Appearance of Gums
When you think of a smile, you probably think primarily of teeth–but that’s not all that goes into the look of a smile. Gums also play an important role in the overall appearance of teeth. There are two main procedures that relate to the appearance of gums in cosmetic dentistry, both of which can help improve smiles.
This cosmetic dentistry procedure is typically used in combination with periodontal therapy. Gum grafting is used where gums have receded and created an unnatural look involving “too much” of the tooth and potentially its root. To restore a natural look to the gums and teeth, healthy gum tissue is removed from one part of the mouth and placed where the gums have receded.
In contrast to gum grafting, crown lengthening is used when a patient thinks their smile is too “gummy” or where they think their gums take up too much space on their teeth. Excess gum tissue is removed and reshaped to expose more of the tooth. The result is a fuller and brighter looking smile.
Costs of Cosmetic Dentistry
The costs of cosmetic dentistry can range drastically depending on what treatment you choose and the severity of your specific case. We recommend speaking to your cosmetic dentist to gain an accurate understanding of what it would cost for your procedure. In general, though, there are a few options, including insurance coverage, that can help with the cost of cosmetic dentistry.
Dental insurance plans sometimes cover cosmetic dental treatments. The chance of coverage increases depending on how a procedure relates to structural issues. Patients should contact their insurance to find out what’s covered before starting treatment so they have a better understanding of what their cosmetic dentistry costs might be.
Patients might decide to pay for cosmetic dentistry procedures themselves, AKA out-of-pocket. We recommend only paying out-of-pocket for what your insurance plan doesn’t cover. Many cosmetic dentists understand that patients need flexible payment options, so some even offer financing plans in-house to make their treatment options more affordable.
Cosmetic Dentist in Phoenix
If you’re a Phoenix valley resident looking to improve your smile through cosmetic dentistry, we invite you to book a consultation appointment with Corner Dentistry. Whether you’re looking for a whiter smile, a straighter smile, or need to fix damaged or missing teeth, Dr. Shim and his team will help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.
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