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Cosmetic Dentistry

What is meant by cosmetic dentistry?

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Cosmetic Dentistry explained

Dr. Sarah explains everything you need to know
about cosmetic dentistry services at the dentist

There is no surprise that cosmetic dentistry has become the greatest focus for dental patients over the last decade as we continue to focus on feeling and looking our best, ready to take on the world. Everybody wants to feel confident they look their best, and the overall package for achieving self-confidence doesn’t feel complete without a beautiful smile.

Cosmetic dentistry is the focus and management of how your teeth and smile look. It deals directly with problems related to the outer surface of the teeth, and how they generally appear when you smile. A cosmetic dentist is one who focuses their attention on one sole purpose, and that is improving your smile to reach the perfect look you’re after.

What’s the difference between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry?

  1. Teeth whitening:

    Teeth whitening is the most common and most requested cosmetic dental treatment a general or cosmetic dentist offers and performs. Teeth whitening (also known as teeth bleaching) removes built-up deep seeded stains that accumulates on the surface of the teeth over the years and can change the natural discoloration of the teeth as we age. Smoking, drinking coffee and tea, soft drinks, and products with high color content (curries, beetroot, red wine, etc) soak into the tooth structure and darken the teeth.  As we age our teeth also become darker.  For suitable candidates, teeth bleaching can remove this staining and have your teeth glowing white in just a couple of hours.


  2. There are 3 main types of whitening procedures: 

    a. Chemical whitening: 
    Where a chemical agent is placed on the surface of the teeth and mixed with another chemical catalyst. The resulting reaction produces a third chemical that washes away the stains and colors of the teeth.

    b. Visible Light whitening: 
    Works the same way as chemical whitening, but instead of the chemical catalyst, the whitening agent is activated by a source of blue light. This makes the procedure more controllable and less time-consuming.

    c. Laser whitening: 
    Instead of light, lasers are used to activate the whitening agent, adding further control and efficiency to the process. However, laser whitening almost always comes with extra sensitivity.

  3. Smile Makeover:

    Hollywood smile, smile makeover, and dental makeover usually point to the same form of treatment, and that is veneers. Veneers are a thin shell (about 0.3 – 0.5 mm thick) made of porcelain, that is attached to the outer layer of the teeth. These shells fix the shape, form, contour and color of the teeth on which they are attached. Veneers can be applied to a single tooth if the problem is localized (such as a fracture or a large decay in that tooth) or can be applied to all the front teeth visible in your smile, in which case it is named a smile makeover. 


  4. Snap-on smile:

    A variation of the smile makeover procedure. Snap-on smile is an easy, affordable solution made for people in a hurry or those who don’t prefer filing and preparation of the teeth. It is a mold that fits on the outer surface of the teeth, drawn as a perfect smile, and correcting the shape and color of the teeth. It is removable (hence the name “Snap-On” and so requires no preparation, no numbing of the gum to prepare the teeth and no damage to the teeth. Their only drawback is that they are quite fragile, so you should be restricted to a soft diet while wearing them and they tend to make the teeth feel bulkier.


  5. Gum reshaping:

    What most people don’t realize is that your smile is more than just teeth. The smile is composed of many variables, namely the teeth, lips, and gums. If your teeth are in perfect condition, but your gums look subpar, then your smile will be compromised, which is why gum reshaping is a big part of cosmetic dental treatments. In some cases, the gums could be enlarged due to gum disease or some types of medications, in which case removal of the cause of the problem is the main treatment. In other cases, the gums could be inherently larger than normal, or too much of it appears when you smile (called a gummy smile) and in that case, gum reshaping is essential for a beautiful smile. Gum reshaping could be done by lasers or through surgery.


  6. Tooth-Colored fillings:

    This is where general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry meet. Fillings that are made to the front teeth need not only be functional, but invisible as well. A poorly placed filling or a poor choice of form and color of the filling are both considered failures, so your dentist should find a way for both appearance and function to co-exist.


  7. Braces:

    This may come as a shock, but braces fall under the band of cosmetic dental treatments. True that they require another specialized trained dental professional (usually an orthodontist but can also be a dentist who has taken on additional training to provide orthodontic services), but their main purpose is to give you straighter teeth, and a more beautiful smile, making them one of the most highly requested forms of cosmetic treatments.  Unfortunately, movement of the teeth takes time, sometimes years, and requires commitment and patience to achieve the desired result.


  8. Cosmetic contouring teeth:

    In some cases, all you need is a skilled cosmetic dentist to reshape the outer layer of the teeth, such as when your front teeth get chipped minimally, meaning no filling will be needed. In that case, all your dentist would do is smoothen the surface of your tooth with a turbine and maybe apply Fluoride therapy to protect it from harm. It is considered the simplest form of cosmetic treatment.

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Who needs a cosmetic dentist?

Apart from fillings (and braces in some cases), cosmetic dentistry is almost never a “need”. No one really “needs” whiter teeth or a smile makeover, but everyone wants them. Therefore, cosmetic dentistry falls under the “want” rather than the “need” category. This of course does not apply to fillings that are definitely needed to prevent further damage to the teeth.

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How much does cosmetic dentistry cost?

As with any cosmetic procedure involving any other part of the body, cosmetic dentistry could be quite expensive. If you want a great smile, you’ll going to have to pay for it.

Since the range of cosmetic treatments is quite huge, the range of costs for each procedure can also become quite significant in price. Teeth whitening prices usually start at $800 for chair side whitening. There is a less costly option, which is take at home kits, and these range from $250 to $500 (but they will need quite some time to take effect, unlike chair whitening whose results appear immediately).

Tooth colored fillings range from $100 to $300, although for front teeth they could be on the more expensive side of the range since it takes a larger amount of work compared to the back teeth.

Braces have many types and therefore a very wide range of costs. On average, metal braces cost start at $4500 up to $8000. Clear braces are quite close in terms of price, costing between $4500 to $8500. Invisalign and lingual braces are relatively new, and more esthetic options, so they are a bit more costly. Invisalign starts at $6000 and could reach up to $9000, and finally, a single jaw lingual braces treatment starts at about $7500, and a full 2 jaws treatment start at $12000.

A Snap-On smile may be the most cost efficient option of all cosmetic dental treatments. You can have a great looking smile (although a fragile one that requires great care, especially when placing and removing it from the teeth where it is most liable to harm) for as low as $1800.

The cost of laser gum reshaping depends on several factors, such as why the procedure is done and what other treatments (such as crowns and veneers) would follow. Gum recontouring for a single tooth starts at $600 and increases as the number of teeth needing treatment increases.

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How much does a smile makeover cost?

Smile makeovers are the most expensive cosmetic dental procedures, but they are also the most effective. In most cases, a complete smile makeover involves many procedures, including digital smile design, gum reshaping and of course the veneers themselves.

Some practices apply a “per tooth” system of price calculation, where a single tooth costs between $800 and $1500, not including gum reshaping or other procedures. Other practices adopt a “package deal” situation, which can be a bit less costly if you can find them. In that case, a complete smile makeover could cost up to $15000.

Either way, most practices understand that these procedures are quite expensive, and therefore adopt a very comfortable payment plan for you. You could end up paying as low as $200 per month if you find the right offer.

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Is there such as thing as cosmetic dental implants?

Implants mostly consist of two parts. The fixture (or the root part) is placed inside the bone and is therefore invisible, even if it is made of metal. The abutment (or the crown part) is the part that is visible in the mouth, and that could be made of metal or a cosmetic alternative such as ceramic. Recently, digital dentistry was applied to dental implants, and now the crown part is entirely computer made and entirely made of ceramic, so these could be considered as cosmetic dental implants.


In short, cosmetic dentistry is a wide array of not so cheap procedures, but it will deliver exactly what you want, a beautiful smile and improved looks.

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Finding a cosmetic dentist on AirSmile



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It can be an exciting time remodeling your smile into the design you’ve dreamed of, but for some, it can become their worse nightmare – one they wish they never started on the path to achieving.  The creators of AirSmile, the latest and best way to find a dentist perfectly matched to exactly what you need, understand the daunting process of completing dental cosmetic treatments.  When you’ve been given a proposal and options from a cosmetic dentist to fix your smile, how do you know you’ve found the right person to trust in doing the job right?

Our AirSmile dentists are proud to offer outstanding cosmetic treatments and best of all, they don’t start treatment until you feel completely satisfied with the plan and know the outcome you can expect from the agreed upon course of treatment.  

To talk about the smile makeover you’ve been dreaming about, jump on AirSmile and search for a dentist near you who offers cosmetic services.  AirSmile is free to use and free to book a consultation to meet in person and hear about what your options are.  

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Get even more savvy with our FAQ'S

Understanding your condition is the key to making the right choices for you


Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry dealing with the looks and appearance of your teeth. Cosmetic dental procedures are mainly aimed towards looks rather than function.

A cosmetic dentist is one who deals with the many procedures included under the cosmetic dentistry umbrella. Examples of these procedures include whitening, smile makeovers, gum recontouring, and tooth colored fillings. Braces is also a part of the cosmetic dentistry world, but needs a specialist orthodontist.

Cosmetic dental procedures are mostly elective, and most are quite invasive requiring teeth preparation or even surgery. That being said, in the right hands they are very safe and very reliable as well.

As most procedures are elective (much like any cosmetic procedure in the entire body), they are mostly not covered by insurance. However, some plans could cover some of them such as braces or tooth colored fillings.

Yes of course. A number of options are available, such as braces, veneers and crowns. All of these can be helpful in fixing crooked teeth.

A smile makeover is a process of transforming the entire smile, dealing with every structure that appears when you smile. Mostly, smile makeovers consist of veneers that are placed on the outer surface of the teeth, but could also involve gum reshaping and even anti-wrinkles injection if you need it.

Smile makeovers are the most expensive dental cosmetic procedures. Some practices apply their costs on a per tooth basis, so each tooth costs between $800 and $1500, while others make an offer for the entire set of teeth that could reach up to $15000.

All of the cosmetic dental procedures are aimed towards that particular goal, giving you a great new smile. All you need to do is find a great cosmetic dentist, one who is trusted by the community and has a proven track record of great smiles he fixed.

While shocking, yes braces is considered a cosmetic dental procedure since its main aim is to fix crooked, crowded or spaced teeth, giving you a straighter and more beautiful smile.

Cosmetic dentistry is one of the most available specialties, so finding a cosmetic dentist is as simple as an online search for one nearby. The “affordable” part is another matter, since all cosmetic dentistry procedures are quite expensive, but you can find a dentist who has a reasonable payment plan, or just wait around for a once in a lifetime offer from a newly opened practice.

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