What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is a broad term used to describe a variety of dental procedures which result in the improved appearance of the teeth, gums, and/or bite. These procedures target dental aesthetics such as color, size, shape, alignment, and position. Cosmetic procedures range from teeth whitening to braces to veneers. There is almost no limit to improving a smile when it comes to the possibilities of cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry is broken down into four main types. These four types cover all aspects and procedures within this dental field. The types and examples are as follows:

1. Adding dental materials to teeth and/or gums

a. Examples: crowns, gum grafts, veneers, and bonding

2. Removing of the tooth structure and/or gums

a. Examples: enameloplasty and gingivectomy

3. Neither adding dental materials nor removing tooth structure or gums

a. Examples: teeth whitening (bleaching) and gum depigmentation

4. Straightening of teeth

a. Examples: orthodontics

Finally, because of the wide range of procedures included in the cosmetic dentistry spectrum, most general dentists practice many forms of this service. However, it is important to note that the American Dental Association does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a formal specialty area within dentistry. This means you should be cautious regarding dentists who identify as cosmetic dentistry specialists. All practicing dentists are trained and equipped to handle many cosmetic procedures, but this tactic is more marketing focused.

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