Have you ever wondered what cosmetic dentistry really means? You’ve heard the term used to describe dental practices and procedures or treatment plans. Generally speaking, cosmetic dentistry is a term used to describe any procedure that improves the appearance of your smile. Cosmetic dental procedures are often elective, and not always covered by dental insurance.
Despite being associated with elective care and higher costs, the benefits of cosmetic dental procedures are powerful, even life changing. A bright, flawless smile is important, especially when it fills you with extra confidence that can benefit and enhance your life. Studies have shown that smiling more improves your happiness, and what better reason to smile than a great, movie star-quality grin? Cosmetic Dentistry can take years of age off of your teeth and help you appear happier and healthier.
123 Dentist’s network is filled with dentists that offer cosmetic dentistry. Almost every clinic offers at least one cosmetic service, even if their name doesn’t suggest it. You can find a full list of our clinics’ services here. Below is a list of procedures often considered cosmetic, though it’s worth mentioning that some cosmetic services are also restorative. Because they fit into more than one category, sometimes our dentists classify them differently online.
- Dental Bonding
- Enamel Shaping
- Gum Contouring
- Orthodontics & Invisalign
- Teeth Whitening
- Gum Reshaping
Maybe you’ve heard the term before, a ‘complete smile makeover’. It refers to some combination of restorative and cosmetic procedures as part of a treatment plan to completely reshape someone’s smile.
Let’s take a look at some examples of how a complete smile makeover can help a patient, courtesy of some real cases from Downtown Dental…
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Enamel Shaping and Dental Bonding can correct chips and minor shaping issues. Combined with whitening treatments to cover staining, it’s a whole new smile.
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Orthodontics – either traditional wire braces or Invisalign can help to reshape crooked teeth and correct issues with your bite. Sometimes orthodontics are not purely cosmetic and are required to correct serious problems.
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Veneers are porcelain facades permanently bonded to real teeth. In this case, veneers were used to cover up some misshapen teeth, a few chips and staining.
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Gum Contouring can correct gum issues and better show off your teeth.
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Getting Your Treatment
Advances in technologies like CEREC Single Visit Crowns and oral sedation allow dentists to complete complex, multi-step treatments in less time than ever before. Some treatments like implants and veneers still take a couple of visits as there are multiple steps required. Other treatments like orthodontics are frequently ongoing processes that take years.
There are multiple steps in any treatment plan, and each one is different. Here are some basic steps you can expect to take on your journey:
Consultation – Your consultation is often free and offers the dentist a chance to assess your needs and discuss options with you.
Treatment Plan – Once you decide to go ahead, your dentist will make a plan with you, both for treatment and payment. You can talk to your dentists about your insurance and make monthly payment arrangements at many of our clinics. Ask in advance if you’re looking for a payment plan.
Begin Treatment – For any treatment plan where multiple cosmetic procedures are needed, you will likely need more than one visit. For veneers or orthodontics, your first treatment will be preparation. Your dentist will treat the area on and around your teeth, prepping everything accordingly. For veneers, your real teeth are filed down to make room for veneers. For orthodontics, and specifically for Invisalign, a scan of your mouth will determine the required tray measurements.
Fabrication Time – Since many cosmetic treatments involve custom artificial materials like trays (Invisalign), caps or veneers, they have to be fabricated by the dental team over time to precise specifications. Once they’re ready, you’ll be called back to complete your treatment.
Complete Treatment – Finally, after time to fabricate and/or wait for your mouth to heal from previous treatment steps, you’ll be ready to complete the process and see your new smile for the first time. Be ready, looking in the mirror at a brand new set of teeth can be a shocking and powerful experience.
Follow Up – With orthodontics and some other treatments, there are important follow up visits to your dentist. These are meant to ensure your treatment is as effective as possible, and that there are no complications. Surgical procedures in particular require careful attention to avoid infection, so follow your dentist’s instructions!
Enjoy! – Enjoy that new smile, and flash it as often as possible. Our customers have told us time and time again how much of a difference a new smile has made in their lives. So get started now with a consultation!