Cosmetic Dentistry: 8 Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Common Procedures 

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Studies suggest that your smile, and particularly your teeth and gums play a significant role in your attractiveness. 

Cosmetic Dentistry

Attributes such as the size, visibility, and color of your teeth, including the proportion of gum display were all critical factors that went into classifying if a smile was attractive or not.

Cosmetic dentistry ensures that your smile never becomes the reason for your curbed confidence.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the different types of esthetic dental services available to you at your local dental office.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is a field of practice that focuses on improving the appearance of your smile while at the same time safeguarding your oral health. This, however, is not a modern concept.

The first smile-restoring procedures could be dated back to 700 B.C. when the ancient people made prostheses out of bone and ivory.

Later on, these primordial devices were replaced with sea shells or gold to act as modern-day veneers and crowns, respectively.

The 1950s saw the first traditional porcelain caps that made the dental experience comfortable, durable, and aesthetically pleasing for patients. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the term “cosmetic dentistry” was first used. 

Today, owing to an “Insta-ready” era, the industry has massively proliferated with projections to reach $32 billion by 2026!

Who is a cosmetic dentist?

cosmetic dentist

A cosmetic dentist has the dental experience to improve the appearance of one’s teeth and/or gums. He/she employs various dental techniques to alter the look of a smile, ranging from simple procedures to major surgeries.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) encourages patients to choose an AACD dentist as they are well-trained in the latest procedures and products which will benefit the patient’s esthetics and systemic oral health.

What is the difference between general and cosmetic dental services?

A general dentist is a primary dental care provider that offers both preventative and restorative dentistry treatments. 

On the other hand, a cosmetic professional provides esthetic dentistry services that center around restoring teeth’s appearance, health, and functional abilities. 

Who can benefit from cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic procedures can be a viable option for dental patients if they have:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Stained teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Oddly malaligned teeth
  • Uneven spaces between their teeth
  • Gummy smile
  • Missing front or back teeth

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Options

Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures include teeth whitening, bonding, restorative fill-ups, implants, and orthodontics.

Teeth Whitening

It is normal for your teeth to stain over time due to regular consumption of dark-colored foods like coffee, tea, or red wine.

Teeth Whitening

When this happens, no amount of toothpaste or vigorous brushing can remove these pesky stains. 

In such cases, you’ll require professional whitening to help dramatically lighten the shade and hue of your teeth and brighten your smile.

For in-office teeth whitening, your dentist will begin by taking ‘before’ pictures of your teeth. This way, they can monitor the progress or success of the treatment.

Next, a thorough teeth cleaning is done to remove the biofilm and any stains that have built up on the teeth.

The dentist will apply a substance to protect the tissues beyond the gum line. Then, a whitening agent will be applied to the teeth.

Some whitening agents can be activated by a laser light which will help lighten the natural color of your teeth.

Professional teeth whitening can take 30 to 90 minutes to complete. You may need 1 to 3 appointments to achieve the results you desire.

Dental Veneers

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells that are designed to cover the front surface of your teeth and are used cosmetically to cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth.

There are two different types depending on the material – porcelain and resin.

Porcelain veneers are applied on two different visits. Your dentist will begin by removing some enamel from the front of the teeth.

Porcelain veneers

They will then take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental laboratory for manufacturing. At your next visit, your dentist will cement the shells to your teeth using a bonding material.

Resin-based composite veneers can be placed at a single visit. This process requires minimal removal of enamel, if any, before placing the shells.

The teeth are simply cleaned and prepared to receive a composite material that is color-matched to your other teeth.

The composite material is then hardened with a special light and polished to look like your natural teeth.

Veneers can conceal mild to moderate chips and discoloration of the teeth.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used as a cosmetic alternative to regular restorations. It does not require the removal of natural tooth enamel. 

The dentist removes any decayed tooth substance and cleans the tooth thoroughly. They apply a tooth-colored composite material to the tooth which is then sculpted into the right shape.

To set the material, a high-intensity light is used.

Bonding can repair any minor chip, cracks, craze lines, or staining of the teeth. It can also be used to change the shape of a tooth to make it wider, longer, or more uniform.

It is the least expensive cosmetic procedure as compared to the others.

Dental fillings

Fillings such as silver fillings may not be considered a cosmetic upgrade. However, some restorative procedures can fulfill your esthetic needs.


Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that are created in a dental laboratory and bonded to the tooth using an adhesive cement.

They can be made of gold or porcelain and are used to strengthen weakened teeth, restore their shape, and prevent further decay or damage.

Typically used for decayed or damaged teeth, these special fillings can also be used for fractured teeth. They are less expensive than some of the other cosmetic treatments like implants.

Dental Crowns and Bridges

Dental crowns are like caps that clip into place over the whole tooth. They can be made out of acrylic or porcelain that has been fused to metal. 

In cosmetic dentistry, these can be used to treat damaged, poorly shaped, badly decayed teeth or teeth sensitivity. They can also be used to cover up any uneven spaces between the teeth.

Similarly, a dental bridge has two crowns on either end with a bridge of replacement teeth, especially when one or multiple teeth in between are missing. The crowns are fused to existing teeth and are known as abutments.

If they are made of porcelain, you can expect them to be stain-resistant, durable, and cosmetically elevated. Metal ones are much stronger and last longer, however, they may not be your first choice when it comes to esthetics.

Lastly, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are a hybrid between ceramic and metal ones. 

Their metal base makes them more durable than their porcelain counterparts, whereas their outer tooth-colored covering gives them a cosmetic edge over metal ones.

Dental Implants & Dentures

If you’re missing any teeth, a denture can be an affordable option to restore your smile.


A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth, however it may not be an ideal esthetic choice.

An implant, on the other hand, is a cosmetically superior and reliable replacement option.

An implant consists of three parts: a crown, a post, and a connecting abutment. A post is a screw-like titanium device that is inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth.

The bone is then allowed to form around the screw, which might take a few months.

Once the bone and the supporting tissues have fused to the implement, they are permanently secured into place. The dentist then uses the connector to attach a porcelain crown onto the implant post.

This replacement tooth is fabricated to match the color of your other teeth.

Getting implants is an invasive procedure, therefore, is usually done under sedation or local anesthesia.

Orthodontic Treatments like Braces

Orthodontics is a procedure by which the dentist helps straighten teeth and correct a bad or dangerous bite. Your orthodontist may use metal braces or invisible aligners over time to slowly move teeth into their desired positions.

After a course of dental braces, you will be required to wear a retainer to prevent the relapse of the teeth into their old positions and to maintain the results of your orthodontic treatment. 

This works best for buck teeth, crooked or misaligned teeth, teeth that have uneven spaces between them, or teeth that have erupted in abnormal positions.

Gum Contouring

If you’re conscious about their gummy smile, there might be a procedure that can help improve your gum-to-teeth ratio when you smile. 

In a process called gum contouring, your dentist changes the shape of your gums to make them look aesthetically pleasing. 

If you have too much gum tissue, your dentist will remove excess gum tissue using a laser or a scalpel. They will then sculpt a new gumline to expose more of your tooth.

This procedure takes one to two hours and is done under local anesthetic.

If you have too little gum tissue due to gum recession, your teeth appear longer. In such cases, your dentist might take steps to treat the gum infection before they reshape your gums.


Gum grafting is then used to help cover the receded gum area and to shorten the look of your teeth.

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

Although cosmetic dentistry treatments are elective rather than essential, some treatment procedures can provide numerous and necessary restorative benefits. 

  • Improve your smile by making your teeth look as natural as possible.
  • Enhance self-confidence by giving you the smile of your dreams.
  • Improve oral health as it addresses cracked, decayed, or damaged teeth.
  • Enforce the function of your teeth by improving your bite.
  • Promote comfort, especially as veneers are thin.
  • Bring symmetry to your smile.
  • Brighten dull or discolored teeth.

Maintaining Results from Cosmetic Dental Procedures 

Dental Care 

After dental work, you should be striving to make the results last a long time. Regular cleaning is important to prevent any further damage to your teeth and to curb oral diseases at the bud.

Brushing and flossing are a no-brainer as they help you maintain results following dental cosmetics. You should also go the extra step by using fluoridated mouthwash to keep gum disease away.


If you’re struggling with unruly or dull teeth and want to give your smile a fighting chance, you should talk to your dentist about your options.

Modern cosmetic dentistry is advanced and ever-growing so you are bound to find the right treatment for you.

As so many incredible options are available to you, you can successfully keep your imperfect teeth under wraps and show off your perfect smile today!

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