Cosmetic dentistry is dentistry that deals with fixing your smile and the general appearance of your teeth. Where cosmetic dentistry is concerned, the focus here is the art, not the actual science behind the procedure. Although cosmetic dentistry is not considered a recognized specialty in the world of dental care and profession, however, it does take years of extensive studies and training to become a cosmetic dentist and be able to perform the procedures available today.

In general terms, a cosmetic dentist is actually a restorative dentist who has studied and trained extensively for the concepts of smile design and the usage of dental materials that create the best possible smile for an individual.

Determining If You Need Cosmetic Or Restorative Dental Work

Although cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry actually overlap each other, as both at times will utilize crowns and implants for teeth restoration as an example, the main difference between the two is their focus and the level of expertise of the dentist. The cosmetic dentist is one who goes beyond the restoration procedures. Where a restorative dentist would stop at helping an individual achieve a set of fully functioning teeth, a cosmetic dentist will go beyond, not only correcting the teeth’s functioning but will also seek to attain results that match well with the individual’s idea of a perfect smile. This requires quite some expertise and a very accurate level of finesse as the cosmetic dentist needs to pay attention to even the minutest of details such as how much teeth should a person have visible while he/she smiles etc.

Restorative dentistry will also fix structural problems to your teeth such as damaged or missing teeth. Restorative dentists use devices such as dentures, crowns, bridges, onlays, inlays and also dental implants to restore your teeth and their proper functioning. But that’s where restorative dentistry ends. If you want to enhance your smile, you should always seek help from a cosmetic dentist as they go into the art of it along with the science. Cosmetic dentistry is completely concerned with the aesthetic enhancements of your teeth. If you think you have an aesthetic flaw with your smile, you can always consult a cosmetic dentist for help. Cosmetic dentistry can eliminate these problems for you to help boost your overall confidence and appearance.

All dental treatments that involve aesthetic enhancements to your smile are considered cosmetic. They simply focus on the appearance of your teeth and help you restore their function and overall oral health as well. A few cosmetic dentistry treatments can include the following:

These are just a few examples of the cosmetic dentistry procedures you might be able to opt for. However, one major difference between cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry is the actual cost of the treatment procedures which might be a bit high for cosmetic dentistry treatments.

cosmetic dentistry smiling womanUnderstanding Cosmetic Dentistry


Cosmetic dentistry involves a series of procedures that can help to improve the appearance, structure, and function of your smile. There are a variety of options and techniques used to treat teeth that have become misshapen, chipped, or discolored. Your dentist can restore worn teeth, close in gaps, and reshape your smile so that you can finally have the smile that you’ve always wanted.

What Are Some Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures?

There are a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help you to improve your smile:

  • Bleaching

One of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures, teeth bleaching uses chemicals in order to whiten the teeth. Some people choose this procedure to remove stains, while others do so to get a whiter shade. Discoloration may be hereditary or worsen with age, and it can also be caused by cigarettes, tea, coffee, soda, and certain medications.

  • Bonding

Bonding uses tooth-colored materials in order to fill in gaps between the teeth. This procedure can be completed in one visit and lasts for several years, and it can also be used to correct teeth that are chipped or broken.

  • Veneers

Veneers involve thin pieces of plastic or porcelain that are placed over the teeth in order to change the shape and color. They are used on teeth that are discolored, chipped, unevenly spaced, or crooked.

  • Crowns

Crowns are used to cover a tooth so that its normal appearance and shape can be restored. They are one of the longest-lasting of the cosmetic procedures and are an alternative to veneers, but crowns are often more expensive.

  • Teeth Whitening

You might get stained teeth due to a number of reasons. At times medication, smoking, drinking soda or coffee and also alcohol can stain your teeth. However cosmetic dentistry offers you teeth whitening solutions. You no longer have to live with browned or yellowed teeth. Consult a dental care provider and he/she will guide you best, better than those over the shelf solutions available in the market.

  • Teeth Replacement

You could have a missing tooth/teeth, however, if you choose to ignore it you are not only making your smile faulty, but also an unhealthy choice. A missing tooth can affect more than your oral health and your confidence. Cosmetic dentistry offers procedures like dental implants that help you replace missing tooth/teeth with a single or a full set of false teeth, and you can get veneers to make up for broken teeth as well. These false teeth work like your real teeth and they even look like it, so as to give you your confidence back.

  • Teeth Straightening

Some people have crooked teeth naturally, or some might get a mouth injury that gives them uneven teeth that look bad. No matter how old you are, if you want straighter teeth, you have orthodontic options available for that.

Cosmetic dentistry offers viable solutions to help people get straighter teeth. There are braces and there is Invisalign. Where braces are visible, Invisalign actually focuses on straightening your teeth with the help of a clear aligner that is invisible. However, Invisalign is a bit more expensive than braces so if you don’t have the cost to be concerned about, you can opt for the procedure and get straighter teeth in no time at all.

How Should I Choose a Procedure?

Your dentist can help you to decide on a cosmetic procedure, as they are well-versed in the techniques that might be able to improve your smile. The best procedure is usually dictated by the condition of your smile as well as your desired results. If you are thinking about a cosmetic dentistry treatment, you should ask your dentist a few questions before deciding on a procedure:

  • What will the final result look like?
  • What should I expect during treatment?
  • What type of upkeep and maintenance will I need to complete?

How Should I Choose a Cosmetic Dentist?

Choosing the right dentist is another important part of pursuing cosmetic treatment for your teeth. It is important to ensure that your dentist is skilled in cosmetic dentistry. Additionally, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recommends asking your dentist a few important questions before pursuing treatment:

  • Proof of education

    It is important to make sure that your dentist has completed continuing education courses that keep him up-to-date on the aesthetic clinical cosmetic dentistry techniques.

  • References

    By checking out your dentist’s references, you can get an idea about the type of quality that he provides.

  • Photos

    Before and after pictures will let you see the results that other patients have achieved while under your dentist’s care.

You should also feel comfortable asking any dentist that you choose questions. You and your dentist will need to work together to find the treatment options that will give you the smile of your dreams.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry The Right Choice For You?

patient smiling at dentist

If you aren’t happy with your smile then perhaps you might think about getting a cosmetic dentistry procedure. There are a number of different procedures that you can opt for; simple ones include the likes of teeth whitening while the complex ones would include getting yourself a whole set of new veneers. The options are endless when considering what you think is wrong with your smile and how a dentist sees it can best be eliminated.

Often gaps between teeth, missing tooth/teeth, crooked teeth, stained teeth or other issues might make you hesitant to smile in public. On top of these oral health issues, there are also plague or bacteria that might give you oral diseases or perhaps bad breath and this will affect your overall confidence as well. There are cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help you out of your trouble.

So if you think you have a problem with your smile, it is best that you seek a consultation from a cosmetic dentistry specialist and get help. Don’t keep your mouth closed. Open up and talk to your dental care provider and see what procedure would help you best. Here are a few listed to give you the know-how of cosmetic dentistry and what it offers.

Last Reviewed By Dr. Eli Friedman on December 18, 2020