Cosmetic dentistry is dental work that aims to improve the appearance of teeth, gums, and sometimes bites. It’s about improving the aesthetics of teeth in terms of position, color, alignment, size, and shape. The overarching goal of cosmetic dentistry is to enhance your smile.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Research shows that we have only 15 seconds to create a good first impression. Our smile, or lack of a smile, is the first thing that someone will notice about us. It’s sad to say that people will judge you on your appearance. However, a big smile, healthy-looking, white teeth, is what people like to see. Moreover, a smile, attractive or not, can affect our oral and mental health.
Knowing that we have a winning smile has us feeling good and motivates us to look after our teeth. Conversely, if we feel that we have a terrible smile, we feel self-conscious. This can result in a lack of confidence, low self-esteem, and even depression. We are then hesitant to take care of our teeth. Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry can address our dental problems which in turn can boost our self-perception.
A Closer Look
Although the American Dental Association (ADA) has yet to provide a definition for cosmetic dentistry, also known as aesthetic dentistry, most dentists would define it as the actions taken to improve smiles and the patient’s self-image. They appreciate that cosmetic dentistry can lead to an overall improvement in oral hygiene.
There are two main types of cosmetic treatments. One focuses on simple cosmetic dental work such as veneers and teeth whitening. The other is restorative and makes use of dental bridges, crowns, dental implants, dental bonding, inlays, and on-lays.
Females make up 96% of aesthetic dentistry patients. 38% of patients are in the 41 – 50-year-old age group and 32% are between the ages of 41 to 50.
Outcomes and Benefits
Apart from whitening discolored teeth, cosmetic dentistry procedures can correct misshaped, chipped, missing, and crooked teeth to a large degree. A cosmetic dentist can also address the problem of gaps between teeth as well as teeth crowding. Your local dental office can address all of these problems with proper cosmetic dental care.
Smile Makeover Procedures
Aesthetic dental treatments, or smile makeovers, involve a variety of procedures based on what needs to be addressed.
Although teeth whitening treatments can be bought over-the-counter, they are not as effective as professional-grade options and should be supervised by a dental professional for the best results. Options range from pre-filled professional-strength trays to custom trays, or even in-office treatments. Teeth whitening is a multi-step process and takes about two weeks to produce the best results.
Dental veneers are used to cover teeth that are discolored, crooked chipped, or misshapen. There are two types of veneers, porcelain veneers, and prep-less veneers. A dentist will first contour the teeth before bonding the veneers to your teeth using special cement. Meanwhile, prep-less veneers require no contouring. Most general dentists favor straightening and bleaching natural teeth over veneers when possible. However, if results can’t be achieved with natural tooth structure, porcelain or resin veneers can deliver beautiful results.
Clear Aligners and Braces
Although braces and clear aligners are orthodontic treatments, they are aesthetic by nature as patients use them to improve the appearance of their teeth. Clear aligners and braces correct problems by exerting pressure on the teeth which improves their position and alignment over time. Most patients prefer clear aligners and clear braces over the metal braces often worn by children as they look better and are not as noticeable.
This cosmetic procedure changes the shape of gums. Gum contouring involves reshaping gum tissue as this causes gummy smiles when there is excessive gum tissue above the top teeth. In addition, gum grafting also helps restore ideal contours when teeth have been exposed by receding gum tissue.
A dental crown is basically a cap that goes over your tooth. A dentist will place the crown over the tooth after matching the color to the other teeth. Crowns are made from ceramic, metal, porcelain, and even gold.
Does insurance cover cosmetic dentistry procedures?
Although many insurers don’t cover cosmetic procedures, they are obliged to cover medically necessary procedures. Below are some general guidelines.
- Teeth Whitening: not covered
- Veneers: not covered
- Braces and clear aligners: possible partial coverage depending on patient age and insurance plan type
- Gum Contouring: possible partial coverage if the procedure is needed for oral health reasons.
Additional Information: What you should know before your first cosmetic dentistry appointment
All Smiles Family Dentistry in Omaha, NE
At All Smiles Family Dentistry, we are proud to provide high-quality care to all our patients both young and old thanks to our compassionate and experienced dental team. We offer a clean and comfortable clinic to help you feel relaxed during your visit. Contact All Smiles Family Dentist or schedule an appointment online.