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What Procedures do Cosmetic Dentists Provide?

April 08, 2013 | News | The Office of The Palisades Dentists

Traditional dentistry includes services that help patients prevent and treat tooth decay and to follow good oral hygiene practices. A cosmetic dentist provides patients with elective treatment that can enhance and improve their smile. Many patients seek the services of a cosmetic dentist for whitening or other procedures that will give them a more confident smile.

Services cosmetic dentists provide

Cosmetic dentists can provide patients with inlays and onlays, which are similar to fillings, but they are custom fit to a patient’s tooth and can enhance the patients’ smile.  These services have the advantage of being closer in color and overall appearance than a traditional metal filling, crown, or cap.

A well-known cosmetic dentistry procedure is teeth whitening, which is also referred to as bleaching.  While there are many over-the-counter products that can remove stains left by coffee, tea, wine, and tobacco, a cosmetic dentist specializes in whitening procedures, and patients are often more satisfied with the appearance and safety of a professional whitening.  Cosmetic dentists can provide take-home teeth whitening packages.

A cosmetic dentist may also perform composite bonding in which a composite that appears to be natural tooth is applied to a cavity or a tooth surface, sculpted, and then hardened with a high-intensity light.  Cosmetic dentists use this method to effectively restore chipped, broken, or otherwise imperfect teeth.

Another service that cosmetic dentists provide is custom-made tooth veneers.  These are a thin, porcelain laminate that is bonded directly to a patient’s tooth.  A cosmetic dentist uses veneers to cover teeth that do not respond well to whitening, to close gaps in teeth, or to repair chips and cracks in natural teeth.

Dental implants replace missing teeth by means of a porcelain crown installed over a fixture that attaches to the patient’s jaw bone.  Implants can enhance the appearance of a patient’s smile, and they require a procedure by an oral surgeon or a periodontist prior to their installation.

There is some overlap between traditional dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, and sometimes patients will need to visit an endodontist or an oral surgeon in conjunction with cosmetic dentistry treatment.  A visit to the “regular” dentist can shed light on what procedures may be available in his or her office, what procedures need to be completed elsewhere, and what the patient might reasonably expect from cosmetic dentistry services.

Having a confident smile can make a big difference in how patients feel about themselves, and many patients find the time, energy, and cost of utilizing the services of a cosmetic dentist well worth it.  Some services a cosmetic dentist provides may be covered by insurance, so it is worth inquiring as to what procedures are covered.  Some cosmetic dentists may offer patients payment plans or other incentives, so do not let a fear of cost prohibit you from researching these services.