Tips & Advice
What are the most common cosmetic dental procedures for kids?
An increasing number of children are getting tooth whitening treatments and veneers. However, dental experts advise against childhood cosmetic procedures except in the event of an emergency.
What should I look for in a cosmetic dentist?
Prospective patients should choose a dentist who is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry or the American Dental Association. These organizations offer their members the latest in dental research, procedures, and training. It’s also a good idea to request photos of the dentist's prior work to see the quality.
A gum lift is a quick procedure where a dentist removes a bit of gum tissue to give a person a less gummy smile. The gum line is cut and reshaped, and a laser is used to seal blood vessels. A gum lift is also known as a gingivectomy.
On the opposite end, a gingivoplasty adds gum tissue to the gum line to make teeth look smaller or treat gum recession.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are metal frames that are surgically attached to the jaw bone. An orthodontist then attaches artificial teeth to the frame to replace any that are missing. They are one of the most expensive cosmetic procedures, but they're the most suitable option for people with several missing teeth adjacent to one another. Dental implants are also used to stabilize dentures.
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain shaped to cover a person's tooth. They're a popular choice for people who want to make slight alterations to their smile, such as altering the size, shape, or color of one or more teeth. To apply veneers, a cosmetic orthodontist shaves a thin layer of enamel off the patient's tooth. Then, he or she applies resin to the veneer and seals it to the tooth with a curing light. Veneers preserve more of the natural tooth than crowns and are more stain-resistant than bonding.
Dental bonding is a process where tooth-colored resin is adhered using a high-intensity curing light. Dental bonding is often used to make teeth look longer, repair damaged areas, close the space between teeth, and reduce discoloration. Bonding is one of the least expensive cosmetic procedures, but the resin used isn't as strong as veneers or crowns.
What is bleaching/tooth whitening?
Tooth bleaching or whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures. It brightens teeth by removing surface stains, but the process must be repeated for maximum effect. Patients can buy whitening products over the counter or head to their dentist for a stronger series of treatments.
Does dental insurance cover cosmetic procedures?
Cosmetic procedures are rarely covered under dental insurance plans. Some dental surgeons offer financing options to help patients afford the cost.
How much do cosmetic procedures cost?
Cosmetic dental procedures cost anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Over-the-counter teeth bleaching treatments are the cheapest, while veneers and dental implants are some of the most expensive.
What are the most common cosmetic dental procedures?
Although some treatments are also used to fix issues like broken teeth, cosmetic dental procedures aren't medically necessary. Some of the most common are:
- Teeth bleaching or whitening
- Composite bonding
- Tooth contouring
- Cosmetic gum surgery
- Clear orthodontic aligners