If your smile doesn’t make you feel confident, it can negatively impact your quality of life, and this is where cosmetic dentistry may help. Millions of people turn to cosmetic dentistry each year to improve their smiles and self-esteem. Keep reading to find out what cosmetic dentistry is and if it may be a good option for you.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is an umbrella term for various procedures to improve and enhance your smile. Your oral health team will work with you to decide which cosmetic procedures are the best fit to achieve your smile goals.
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), cosmetic dentistry is “aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and your smile…cosmetic dentists strive to maintain patient’s health, function, and appearance for their lifetime.”
Cosmetic dentistry enhances the appearance of your smile with procedures such as tooth replacement, teeth whitening, orthodontic treatments, and more. Cosmetic procedures can be done for medical reasons or as elective treatments for patients who are self-conscious about their smile.
Common cosmetic dentistry procedures:
A whitening procedure may be a good option if you are self-conscious of stains or discoloration on your teeth, depending on the treatment, these procedures can be done in your dentist’s office or your home. Typically, treatments performed in the dental office are more invasive than at-home alternatives. However, they are usually more effective and faster at whitening your teeth.
Missing teeth are one of the biggest reasons people choose not to smile. Cosmetic dental implant procedures can help fill the gap(s) and replace a missing tooth or teeth. During the procedure, a metal implant is placed in the jawbone to act as the “root” of an artificial tooth. Once the implant is secured in the jawbone, it anchors an artificial tooth. For more information about dental implants click here.
If you have a tooth or teeth that are misshapen, chipped, misaligned, or cracked, it’s easy to be self-conscious about your smile. Tooth reshaping is often less expensive than other cosmetic procedures, such as crowns or bridges. During a reshaping procedure, a dentist will painlessly remove some enamel from the affected tooth and then shape and lengthen it as needed. Sometimes, the tooth-colored resin may be applied to achieve the desired shape.
Cosmetic dental veneers are a great option for patients who have chipped, discolored, crooked, or uneven teeth. Dental veneers are a thin tooth covering (sometimes called shells) made from porcelain or composite materials that appear very natural. Veneers are custom fit to each patient before being applied to the front of a tooth with cement. Once the veneers are applied, the patient can return to normal activities the same day.
Although braces are usually associated with young patients, cosmetic orthodontic treatment for adults is becoming more popular. For adults with protruding front teeth, crossbites, or generally crooked teeth, braces may be a good option to align their smile. Braces have come a long way from the traditional metal type, and people are often surprised at how comfortable they can be. Orthodontic treatments take the longest time to finish but can completely change the look of your smile.
Does dental insurance cover cosmetic dentistry?
One of the most common questions people have about cosmetic dentistry is whether dental insurance covers the procedures. The short answer is—it depends.
Most dental insurance plans don’t cover cosmetic dental procedures if there is no medical reason to have them done. However, dental insurance may cover the cost if a cosmetic procedure is medically necessary due to an accident, disease, or to fix a patient’s bite.
It’s important to contact your dental insurance provider before proceeding with cosmetic dentistry procedures to verify whether they will cover costs or not. Cosmetic dentistry can be costly, so reviewing your benefits should be the first step before scheduling a procedure.
Who performs cosmetic dental procedures?
Cosmetic dentists and prosthodontists are both able to perform cosmetic dentistry procedures. However, there are significant differences between the two specialties.
Cosmetic dentists are frequently general dentists who have completed specialty courses in cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentists usually perform procedures such as whitening, dental veneers, crowns, bridges, and some dental implants.
Prosthodontists are specialists recognized by the American Dental Association. After graduating from dental school, they must complete an additional three to four years of training and are considered experts in restorative treatments. Prosthodontists take on the most challenging cosmetic cases. Prosthodontists can do all the cosmetic treatments a cosmetic dentist does plus temporomandibular disorders, which affect the jaw or muscles controlling the jaw. These can include jaw-related injuries, arthritis of the jaw, clenching and grinding teeth, and more. Contact your dental insurance provider for more information about cosmetic dentistry coverage. To learn more about cosmetic dentistry check out, “What to expect during a dental implant procedure.”