A: Cosmetic dentistry really spans a range of options that one can have. Cosmetic dentistry can start with simple whitening of teeth or contouring of teeth to things like covering teeth with veneers or crowns.
Many times, cosmetic dentistry is not necessary, it’s simply to improve your smile. What we specialize in is handling cosmetic dentistry with needed dentistry. So basically we take care of patients that are unhappy with their smile, but they may require more than a simple tweak. We have to do comprehensive cosmetic dentistry and so, we combine those two. We’re taking care of their health needs but also giving them a great smile at the same time.
Cosmetic dentistry, for the most part, is the aesthetics branch of the dental field. It primarily deals with the surface level appearance of your smile, not the function or oral health. A smile is especially important in our society and that importance can be traced back to ancient times. In ancient Greece, beauty was defined by balance, symmetry, and uniformity. Much of that can be seen in their architectural marvels such as The Parthenon.
It also transcended to personal features and everything from body shape, to adornments, and hairstyles. But, even as far back as then, one of the most important features prized by all was—a perfect smile. Look at art throughout the ages as a perfect example. Have you ever seen a prized portrait of someone with a mess of a smile? Think about it—we’ll wait.
So, why the history lesson? Well, because the American Dental Association does not offer a certification for cosmetic dentistry.
It is a set of skills—skills they have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make them a Godsend for someone with a broken smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry Is The Art Of The Smile
Ok, so, corny Taken parody aside, what we are saying in all seriousness is the history lesson is relevant. Relevant because cosmetic dentistry at its core, really is an art form. The actual term encompasses anything that makes improvements in how your smile looks and makes you feel.
So, can it correct my overbite? No, that is orthognathic surgery.
What about a cracked tooth? No, that is restorative dentistry.
I have bruxism, can it correct that? No that is maxillofacial surgery.
By now you probably get the general idea of cosmetic dentistry and the limitations of what it can correct. However, if you’re dealing with a smile that is stained, not uniform, or misaligned—cosmetic dentistry is the answer. There are quite a few procedures that fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry. All of which focus on things like tooth color, shape, size, position, alignment, and the overall cosmetics of your smile.
Common Procedures Involved With Cosmetic Dentistry
While there are many procedures and treatments involved with cosmetic dentistry some of the most common are:
- Veneers are thin sheets of porcelain bonded on your teeth to perfect shape and color. They are considered permanent but still may need replacing after 10-15 years.
- Crowns are used to cover a tooth as well but are a bit more durable and expensive than veneers. They are also a form of preventative dentistry as they can be used to protect a cracked tooth from further damage.
- Teeth Whitening Incorporates the use of dental-safe bleaching agents to whiten teeth with surface-level staining. It cannot correct stains beneath the enamel—veneers would be appropriate for that. Tooth staining happens over time in most cases and is usually due to food and drinks. Coffee, tobacco, wine, and other intense colored foods are the usual suspects.
- Dental Implants overlap the realm of restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry because they aren’t essential. Sure, you could live without replacing a missing tooth or using dentures. However, your quality of life and self-confidence takes a huge hit, so it is also a cosmetic procedure. Dental implants keep the jawbone from losing density, therefore your facial structure is maintained. Dentures do not, and eventually, your face will look sunken in and will drastically change your appearance.
- Teeth Straightening helps to improve teeth that are crooked or misaligned. Treatment comes in different forms such as traditional metal braces or plastic aligners such as Invisalign. ® These treatments often take a long time to correct and must be maintained with a retainer after removal.
What Is The Difference Between Restorative And Cosmetic Dentistry?
Earlier we mentioned restorative dentistry which even though it overlaps at times with cosmetic dentistry—it’s a different specialization. The main difference comes down to the focus of treatment and the level of expertise the dentist possesses.
Think of the two in the sense of a vehicle body shop and a vehicle repair shop. The restorative dentist is like the repair shop. Its sole purpose is to restore functionality to normal standards. It replaces missing teeth with dentures, bridges or fixes damaged teeth with crowns. However, it doesn’t care if it looks pretty only that it works. Can’t you have your car run right and look good at the same time?
The cosmetic dentist, on the other hand, is the body shop—it’s all about appearances and how it looks. You can get your car fixed after a wreck and it may be drivable, and work properly but still look like a wreck. Is that going to make you feel particularly good about your car? Do you feel made whole? Probably not, but technically it is repaired even though it looks like a wreck.
So, now you take it to the body shop, to work on the outside right? Sure, they take forever and they get really detailed too. However, that is because they replace body panels, add a new fender, etc. and then repaint it to look like new.
How do you feel about your car now? A lot better right? Of course—who wants to drive around a beater held together by duct tape and bungee straps?
The same goes for your smile—sure your smile functions right but it still has some dings, some stains, and other imperfections. Your smile is important to you so you want it to look as good as it functions.
Why Is A Great Smile So Important?
There is an old saying that goes something like this:
Smile, and the whole world smiles with you. Smile with something in your teeth and the whole world laughs at you.
Ok, we may be taking some liberty with that quote but in a way, it is kind of true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, most people agree that a bright, white smile conveys health and beauty. A great smile makes people feel good and makes others feel good. It conveys confidence to others whose reactions then make you feel confident as well.
People also will make general assumptions about you without speaking a word to you. How do they draw these conclusions? By your smile—if you smile freely and it’s not forced, they assume you’re trustworthy. If you have to fake a smile or are shy about it, they are less trusting and think you are hiding something. When you look at the psychology behind our smiles, it is fascinating how it affects our psyche.
Having a great smile has many other benefits as well including:
- Brightens others day
- Acts as a great ice breaker
- Encourages better oral hygiene
- Makes you want to smile more—which studies show boosts vital serotonin levels
Give Your Smile A Boost With Cosmetic Dentistry At Vela
No matter if your less than perfect smile requires cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry—we specialize in both. A healthy smile can lead to new jobs, new relationships, and a better outlook on your life.
Contact us today and see how we are changing lives one smile at a time—we look forward to serving you!