Types of cosmetic dentistry procedures

The term cosmetic dentistry encompasses all the dental procedures aimed to improve the appearance of the teeth, gums, or bite and enhance the aesthetics. It was first introduced in the 1990s and has addressed a lot of oral care problems. From teeth whitening to teeth replacements and veneers, modern dentistry has developed a lot of techniques to achieve the “Hollywood” smile.

 The seven common dental aesthetic procedures include:

  1. Teeth whitening or bleaching. This dental procedure aims to whiten and brighten the teeth’ surface when there is significant discoloration and or staining from foods and drinks such as coffee, wine, tomatoes, and beets. It can be done at home and at the dentist’s office.
  2. Dental implants. They are essential to people with missing teeth and they play an important role not only for the aesthetic aspect but also for the proper overall oral function of the mouth. The presence of an implant in the position of a lost tooth prevents serious damage to the gum line and jawbone and absorbs the pressure of biting and chewing.
  3. Dental veneers. This procedure includes the attachment of thin, tooth-colored shells to the front surface of the teeth for aesthetic purposes. The material is porcelain or resin- composite materials and they aim to cover chipped, broken, smaller than usual and discolored teeth.
  4. Dental crowns are dental caps that cover the whole tooth. Their purpose is to cover and protect damaged teeth, restore the shape, size and durability and enhance the overall appearance of the teeth.
  5. Tooth bonding is the cosmetic dental treatment where a composite resin is adhered or “bonded” to an area of the tooth which was slightly damaged. This is suitable for minor injuries such as chipped teeth, gaps between the teeth and even lengthening a tooth to match the others.
  6.  Teeth shaping or enamel shaping focuses on the improvement of the tooth size with the filling or removal of enamel. It is a fast and painless procedure with immediate results.
  7.  Orthodontic treatment refers to the adjustment of misaligned teeth, aimed to improve the appearance and functioning of the teeth and bite. Dental specialists place braces in the problematic areas to even the pressure across all the teeth and fix the “bad bite”. Orthodontic procedures can be painful, costly, and require frequent visits for months or years.


Evolution of cosmetic dentistry

The earliest documented form of cosmetic dentistry dates back to 700 B.C. when Etruscans used dentures made of ivory and bone. These dentures were usually extracted from animals or corpses and were used until the 1800s. During the 12th and 13th century, barbers used to work as dentists, mainly because they had the appropriate tools to perform teeth extractions, even though they were not necessarily highly skilled to do so.

 The most notable accomplishments in cosmetic dentistry took place in the 18th and 19th century. Dental practitioners started using metal inserts as dental implants and created porcelain dentures, which were then taken to the USA. Moreover, dentists improved the shape and feel of the dentures by creating molds of the patients’ mouths, and the first dental lab, dedicated to false teeth production, opened in the 1850s. In 1950, metal pieces were fused in the porcelain dentures to produce a dental crown much more durable and comfortable.


The Advantages of Cosmetic Dentistry

Investing in a cosmetic dental treatment also means investing in your overall health. Not all the procedures solely fulfill the purpose of aesthetics and most techniques address and prevent issues that could eventually endanger oral health. Even minor teeth injuries can affect chewing and eating, so people turn to cosmetic dentistry to fix their bite and restore the normal function of their teeth. Dental procedures such as dental crowns and implants promote the integrity of the gums and jawbones and protect them from undesirable medical conditions. Cosmetic treatment can also improve speech.

As for the appearance, a visit to a cosmetic dental specialist can immensely boost your confidence. A bright and symmetrical smile can be a key to a successful social, professional and personal life because it’s a sign of openness and kindness.

 “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”

William Arthur Ward

The Disadvantages of Cosmetic Dentistry

 One of the main reasons people shy away from cosmetic dental treatment is the cost. For example, dental veneers are priced for each tooth individually, hence a more expensive procedure than tooth bonding, and the cost for a porcelain veneer treatment can amount up to 6,500 Euros. Despite the necessity, the working class cannot cover this type of expense and the basic health insurance plans do not cover any dental procedures other than simple visits to the dentist.

 Another disadvantage is that a lot of these procedures offer irreversible results. Thus, it is a serious commitment one has to be 100% sure of and be aware of what they are looking for and what they are signing up for. Last but not least, the aftercare of some procedures is a crucial step in the process to ensure the desired long-term results, but still, sensitivity is a possible outcome after tooth whitening. The risk can be minimized as long as you follow the instructions of the dental specialists.



So, is it worth it? There is a reason cosmetic dentistry has grown so much over the last 30 years and the benefits are many. However, since the cost of a cosmetic dental procedure can be quite high, there are more and more products for home use, which accommodate the need for white teeth pain-free.