Cosmetic Dentistry and Your Dental Health

People who are unhappy with their smile can now choose to improve the appearance of their smile with a number of cosmetic dentistry procedures. The techniques range from a simple tooth whitening process to taking advantage of the full gamut of procedures available in cosmetic dentistry today.


Cosmetic dentistry procedures include dental veneers, composite bonding, teeth whitening, orthodontics, Invisalign, surgery, and implants.


Smile makeovers when properly done will begin with a dentist taking into account the appearance of the patient’s face, skin and hair tones as well as the color, shape and size of the teeth, gums, and lip formation. There are a number of reasons to consider cosmetic dentistry, and the treatment is customized to fit each patient’s rationale for seeking the smile makeover.


The consultation normally starts with the patient revealing to the dentist what it is they dislike about their teeth or their smile. Some of the components of a smile under the dentist’s review include:


Tooth color: If the concern is a mouth full of metal fillings, these can be replaced with a natural looking substance. Stained, dull, or yellow teeth can be whitened. If more than whitening is indicated, various procedures including porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, dental implants, and composite bonding can be employed.


The tooth color and shading the dentist decides upon depends on the patient’s skin tone and hair color.


Spacing and alignment: Crooked, overlapping teeth or teeth with gaps in between them can be straightened and aligned through orthodontics or the newer Invisalign procedure. To get an idea of the kind of results you can expect from braces, check out braces before and after photos. They can be further enhanced with veneers.


Missing teeth: Missing teeth affect the smile in a negative way. Additionally, the bite will be off and the remaining teeth are at greater risk of decay. Missing teeth can be replaced by implants, bridges or partial dentures.


Balance: Chipped, cracked or different-sized teeth may be treated by bonding them with a cosmetic material to improve the symmetry of the smile. A patient with a smile whose teeth are overwhelmed by gums can have the teeth reshaped to make the smile more attractive.


Lips and cheeks: An aging face can be made to look more youthful with orthodontics or oral maxillofacial surgery, or both.


The cosmetic dentist’s consultation will also involve the financial branch of the dental office to determine the procedure or procedures best suited to the patient’s budget.


The Cost of the Procedures


Whitening costs anywhere from $450 to $650, while porcelain veneers are between $925 and $2,500 per tooth and will last approximately ten to fifteen years. On the other hand, composite veneers range from $250 to $1,500 per tooth and last five to seven years. Dental implants run from $900 to $3,000 depending upon type, the material used, and where in the mouth the implants are to be placed. Dental bridges cost between $700 and $1,500 per tooth depending upon the material used. Finally, orthodontics or Invisalign costs anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 on average.


Cosmetic dentistry is not likely to be covered under any dental insurance policy. The wide range of cost for each procedure is due to dental fees and the city and state in which the dentist practices.


Improving the appearance of one’s smile is not a subject to be taken lightly. A thorough cost-benefit analysis along with a consultation with a qualified cosmetic dentist is essential before undertaking any smile makeover procedure.


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