Cosmetic Dentistry Explained

Cosmetic dentistry is a term used to describe procedures that improve the look of your smile. This may include the addition of dental materials to teeth and gums – such as bonding, porcelain veneers and crowns – or removing tooth structure – enameloplasty and gingivectomy.


Your general dentist is a great resource to help you understand the range of treatment options available and how they relate to your overall oral health.

Dental Implants

Dental implants replace lost or missing teeth with artificial (fake) teeth — porcelain crowns that fit on titanium posts anchored in the jawbone. They look and feel like natural teeth, and unlike dentures, they don’t have to be removed at night or for cleaning. They also help preserve facial structure, prevent bone deterioration, and improve chewing function.

Implants can be fashioned for a single missing tooth, multiple teeth, or for the entire upper or lower jaw. In general, dental implant procedures are successful, especially when patients follow oral surgeon and dentist instructions. However, there are factors that can decrease an implant’s long-term success rate. For example, smoking can slow the healing process and cause complications with the implant and connected restorations.

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, it’s important for patients with implants to maintain good oral hygiene and schedule routine appointments at the dental office for checkups and cleanings. Patients should contact their dentist immediately if they have pain or experience any other symptoms that may indicate an infection that could threaten the health of an implant or surrounding teeth.

In some cases, if a patient doesn’t have enough healthy bone to support an implant, the doctor may recommend a bone augmentation procedure. This may involve grafting bone from another area of the body or using bone additives to encourage growth.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a quick and affordable solution for fixing minor cosmetic dental issues such as chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth, filling in gaps between teeth, and reshaping misaligned teeth. This procedure involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin material to the affected teeth and shaping it to achieve the desired result. Dental Bonding is a minimally-invasive treatment, meaning it preserves the most natural tooth structure possible and is often recommended as a conservative alternative to more invasive treatments like dental crowns.

Before beginning the tooth bonding process, your dentist will consult with you to determine your cosmetic expectations and make sure the procedure is appropriate for your needs. Then, they’ll take X-rays and examine your teeth and gums to ensure you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

To prepare the tooth, your dentist will roughen its surface and apply a conditioning liquid to help the bonding material adhere properly. They’ll then apply the composite resin, molding it to fit the affected tooth, and then cure it with an ultraviolet light. Finally, they’ll polish the resin to give it a smooth, natural-looking shine.

Tooth bonding is an extremely fast and simple cosmetic dental procedure, and it usually doesn’t require any type of anesthesia (unless they’re repairing a chipped tooth near the nerve). Once the dentist has completed the procedure, it should only take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete each tooth, and you won’t have to schedule multiple visits.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that cover your teeth to create a brighter smile. They look like natural teeth and can be color matched to your existing teeth. They are also durable and long-lasting. Veneers can be used to fix a variety of problems, including chips, stains, and gaps. They are an excellent choice for patients who do not want to commit to a more extensive dental treatment.

Porcelain veneers require two office visits and minimal tooth preparation, meaning they are less invasive than other treatments such as crowns. At your first appointment, the dentist will make an impression of your teeth and discuss what you would like to accomplish with your veneers. During this visit, you can also request a temporary veneer to wear while waiting for the permanent one to be made in a lab.

Once your new veneers are in place, you will need to maintain proper oral hygiene to ensure that they last. This means brushing and flossing regularly and visiting the dentist for routine cleanings and checkups. You should also avoid smoking or using any other tobacco products and use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth at night. This will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy and reduce the risk of damaging the veneers. However, if you notice any signs of damage, such as chips or stains, it is important to contact your dentist right away.


Crowns are tooth-like caps that fit over a damaged or otherwise imperfect tooth, helping to restore its appearance and function. They’re used in cosmetic dentistry for a variety of reasons, including covering up misshapen teeth, discolored or chipped teeth, or even replacing a large filling that isn’t a natural look.

A crown can be made from acrylic or porcelain fused to metal, allowing it to withstand biting pressure. Cosmetic dentists can also use veneers, which cover only the front surface of a tooth and are typically less invasive than a crown since they leave more of the original tooth intact.

Discolored Teeth

Teeth whitening treatments can often help to remove staining from a tooth’s enamel, but not all types of discoloration are responsive to this treatment. If you have tooth decay, for example, your tooth may become dark grey and unattractive. A cosmetic dentist can use a crown to hide this unattractive tooth color and give you back the white smile you’ve always wanted.

Before crowning a tooth, cosmetic dentists will first numb the area using local anesthetics. The tooth or implant will then be shaped to prepare it for the crown. This is done to ensure that the crown will look natural and provide a secure, comfortable fit. Various computer-assisted processes are also used for this process, which help to make sure that the crown matches up with the existing teeth and provides a consistent look.