What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

cosmetic dentistry

Are you looking for a way to improve your smile? Are your teeth stained from your daily cup of coffee? Do you have any chipped or slightly crooked teeth? If so, cosmetic dentistry might be for you.

Cosmetic dentistry refers to dental work that improves the appearance of your teeth, bite and gums. It focuses primarily on improving the color, size, alignment, shape, position and overall appearance of your smile. It does not address or treat any dental issues that affect the functioning of your teeth, gums or mouth.

The most common cosmetic dentistry procedures involve crowns, tooth implants, teeth whitening and veneers.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are coverings, or caps that are placed over your tooth usually for added protection and better appearance. If you have teeth that are chipped, damaged, or misshaped, dental crowns may be the cosmetic dental procedure you need to better your smile. The most common materials used in crowns are gold, porcelain, ceramic, acrylic and metal alloys. Porcelain is the most common.

Crowns are used to improve the shape, alignment and appearance of your teeth as well as cover and protect damaged teeth. A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment.

Crowns can also be used with implants to fill in gaps caused by missing teeth. A crown is placed on top of the implant to create a tooth-like shape and structure. Certain crowns, particularly ceramic or porcelain can be made to match your natural teeth color.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are metal posts or frames that are inserted into the jawbone under your gums. Once the implants are in place, a replacement tooth or crown is mounted on it.  Implants are often used when teeth are missing, creating embarrassing and sometimes disabling gaps.

Dental implants also provide a stable, permanent foundation for dentures and bridges, making them ideal if you have multiple missing teeth next to each other. The implants will make your dentures and bridges fit better and reduce slipping and discomfort.

To get dental implants, you need to have healthy gums and bone. We’d assess the condition of your bone and gums before the procedure.

Teeth Whitening

Frequent and long-term use of certain foods or drinks can stain your teeth. Coffee and red wine are usually the main culprits. There are two kinds of teeth whitening options available: at home and professional, in office cleaning. While the at home option is less expensive, it takes longer to see results. Most cosmetic dentists use a strong peroxide whitening agent that quickly and powerfully brightens teeth within a few hours.

To keep your teeth white and prolong the effectiveness of the whitening procedure, it is important you avoid drinks such as tea, coffee and wine. We’ll be able to inform you in more detail about what foods and drinks you should avoid. The first 48 hours after whitening are the most crucial in avoiding possible staining foods and drinks.


Veneers are often associated with celebrities and for good reason. They brighten and straighten teeth and fill in embarrassing gaps between teeth. These corrections can give you the perfect smile. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), are “thin pieces of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel.” Veneers are custom made to fit the contour of your natural teeth by being bonded, or cemented to your teeth’s enamel. Veneers often require multiple office visits and are permanent.

Veneers can not only smooth, whiten, and reshape your teeth, but they can also correct minor tooth misalignments and close gaps between teeth.

Porcelain is traditionally the material used in veneers and veneers can last from 10-20 years.

The biggest reason you and other dental patients seek cosmetic dental procedures is so that you can make your smile look its best. The effectiveness and longevity of the aforementioned procedures can only be attained by trained, experienced cosmetic dentists. Arrowhead Dental Lab provides resources, seminars and classes to dentists who want to further their knowledge and experience in cosmetic dentistry. Our dental students are expert cosmetic dentists who will give you the perfect smile you’re looking for.