Defining Cosmetic Dentistry

Having a good dentist is just as important as having a good doctor. Dentists, like any other medical doctor, are essential members of your healthcare team.  Whether it is a simple cleaning or a serious abscess, dentists help keep individuals healthy. Yet, dentistry is not just about good physical health; it is about maintaining good emotional health, as well. While general dentistry provides routine and essential oral hygiene services, cosmetic dentistry focuses on restorative and elective oral issues.

Cosmetic dentistry is a broad branch of dentistry that covers a variety of procedures.

Many of these include:

  • Tooth whitening- a dental procedure that whitens discolored teeth
  • Bonding- a dental procedure that provides filler material for teeth with spaces or unsightly gaps
  • Enamel shaping- a dental procedure that alters the shape of teeth to maximize the appearance of evenness and symmetry
  • Veneers- enamel-colored, thin and custom made shells that are applied to the front side of teeth to improve their appearance
  • Braces- dental devices that straighten and align teeth
  • Implants– replace the root of a missing tooth or teeth which in turn supports the tooth or teeth shaped restoration

Despite the term “cosmetic” this form of dentistry is also restorative.  Accidents that cause oral injuries can require emergency surgeries that include cosmetic procedures, particularly when the trauma causes tooth dislocation. In such a case, implants would be a cosmetic option a dentist may use. The possibility of long-term tooth damage may also require cosmetic dentistry. When a patient needs braces, which fall under the cosmetic umbrella, an orthodontist may perform this procedure to prevent future damage to teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry can also provide invaluable emotional benefits and boost self-esteem. One source of self-esteem is tied to physical appearance. If a person is afraid to smile because of unsightly teeth, cosmetic procedures can be a solution to alleviate anxiety about smiling. The positive impact that cosmetic dentistry provides to someone perpetually hiding a smile can be liberating. Smiles are wonderfully contagious; one great smile seems to return another.

 

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