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What is cosmetic dentistry?

September 6, 2017

Whether you’re looking for a minor change or a larger repair of some sort, your dentist will have the skills to update your smile so that they’re no longer discolored, chipped, or misshapen. There are a number of procedures that fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry, but all of these are common and relatively simple to perform. Some of these procedures might also be advised to solve oral problems such as an overbite.


Bleaching is a common process that’s used to whiten teeth and can help with the removal of stains that are a direct result of smoking or excess caffeine drinking. Usually, this process is performed by your dentist in their office and will involve them in creating a custom mouthpiece to ensure that the correct amount of whitening solution is used. To achieve the desired results, you may have to have more than one bleaching appointment with your dentist and these can last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.


Bonding is perhaps the easiest and most affordable cosmetic dental procedure. It involves using a tooth-colored composite resin (plastic) to repair decayed, chipped and fractured teeth, to make a tooth appear longer or to fill spaces between teeth. Bonding can sometimes be used as a cosmetic alternative to fillings which can often be unsightly.


Crowns, or caps, are used to cover a tooth and restore it to its original shape and appearance. These are often used in cases where other procedures won’t be effective such as to protect a weak tooth from breaking, to restore a broken tooth, to cover a dental implant, to cover misshapen or discolored teeth, or to ensure that a dental bridge stays put. Permanent crowns are costly and can be made out of metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, resin, or ceramic. Your dentist will advise you on which one suits you best.


Veneers are pieces of plastic or porcelain that are placed over the teeth to change their shape or color. Usually, they are used on teeth that are uneven, chipped or discolored meaning that they treat some of the same problems as bonding. Your dentist will take an impression of your tooth, or teeth, and a custom-made veneer will be cemented directly onto it. To combat the added thickness of the veneer, your dentist will lightly buff the tooth. Porcelain veneers will require more than one dental visit, but they have a longer life expectancy and will retain their color better than bonding.

 Contouring and reshaping

As expected, contouring and reshaping is primarily used to change the shape, length, or position of your teeth and might even help to solve problems with bite. Bonding is commonly combined with tooth reshaping but only if your teeth are healthy enough to benefit from subtle changes. To ensure that they are, your dentist will take X-rays to identify if there is enough bone between the teeth to support them.

Remember, a professional dentist will be able to answer any questions that you might have regarding which cosmetic procedure might be the best for you.

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