7 Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

7 Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Cosmetic dentistry is dental care that improves the appearance of your teeth and smile. A cosmetic dentist can whiten your teeth, straighten them, or improve their shape. They can also replace missing teeth and repair chips.

Not all of the available cosmetic dental procedures will work for everyone. Your dentist can help you determine which method will work the best for enhancing your smile.

This article goes over cosmetic dentistry and the procedures that are commonly done to help people improve the appearance of their teeth.

Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

Also called “teeth bleaching,” teeth whitening treatments can be done in your dentist’s office or at home using whitening products. Not everyone’s teeth can be bleached, so it is very important to check with your dentist before trying at-home whitening products.

Teeth whitening treatments typically contain carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Whitening products manufactured for use at home usually contain a smaller amount of these ingredients.

The whitening procedure works as follows:

• At your dentist: Your dentist will apply a whitening gel to your teeth. Concentrated hydrogen peroxide solutions in water may also be used. Some dentists will also use light to increase the speed and effectiveness of the bleach. The procedure may take between 30 and 60 minutes.

• At home: Whitening strips are applied to the teeth for a certain amount of time over days or weeks. How long to leave them on and the frequency of application varies by product. Whitening gels are also available over the counter; these are painted onto the teeth or applied using a special tray. Look for whitening products that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

• Toothpaste: Teeth whitening toothpaste is also available, however, these products contain abrasive materials that help remove surface stains. Some whitening toothpastes also contain small amounts of peroxide.

Cosmetic Dental Veneers

A veneer is a thin shell made out of porcelain or composite material. Veneers are custom-made and cemented to the front side of the tooth. They can be used to treat dental conditions such as a slightly crooked tooth, discolored teeth, or chipped teeth. They can even cover spaces in between the teeth.

The lifespan of a veneer varies from person to person, but most will last around 20 years.

Veneers are made out of a thin porcelain or a resin-based composite material. The procedure for each is slightly different:

• Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are fitted and applied during two separate visits. To keep the veneer from being too bulky, your dentist will first remove some of the enamel from the front of your tooth. Then, they will take an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental laboratory, where the veneers will be custom-fit to the impression. At the next visit, your dentist will clean your teeth and bond the veneers to them with dental cement.

• Resin-based composite veneers: These veneers can be placed during one visit. Your dentist will not usually need to remove much if any enamel before placing them. The teeth are first cleaned and prepared, then the dentist applies a composite material that matches the color of your other teeth. The material is hardened with light and polished so it looks the same as your other teeth.

Depending on your sensitivity and the size of the veneer, you may be given a local anesthetic during the procedure.

Cosmetic Dental Implants

A dental implant is a metal device used to permanently replace a missing tooth. The device is usually made out of titanium and is surgically implanted into the jawbone where the tooth is missing. A dental implant is designed to act as the tooth root and can anchor artificial teeth such as a bridge or dentures.

There are two different types of dental implants:

• Endosteal implants: These implants are surgically placed into the jawbone.

• Subperiosteal implants: These are placed under the gum tissue above the jawbone. They are usually used to replace multiple teeth.

Dental implant placement is an invasive procedure, so patients receive sedation during the procedure along with a local anesthetic.

Cosmetic Dental Crowns

Crowns, also called caps, are custom-made to fit over your whole tooth. They are usually made out of acrylic or porcelain that has been fused to metal to withstand biting pressure.

Crowns can be used in cosmetic dentistry to treat teeth that are poorly shaped, badly decayed, broken, chipped, or have had large fillings. They can also be used to cover spaces in between teeth.

There are a few different types of crowns, each one with different advantages and disadvantages:

• Porcelain crowns: These crowns are durable, stain-resistant, and have a natural appearance. They are also less likely to cause tooth sensitivity. However, they are more likely to chip or crack than other types of crowns.

• Metal crowns: Metal crowns are made of metal alloys such as gold. They are stronger than porcelain, which makes them ideal for replacing molars or for use in people who grind their teeth. They are resistant to cracking and chipping. One disadvantage of metal crowns is their appearance; they can also cause an allergic reaction in some people.

• Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns: These implants are a hybrid between porcelain and metal. They have a metal base and are covered with a layer of porcelain. They are more durable than porcelain crowns but have a more natural appearance than metal crowns. However, they look less natural than porcelain teeth, and over time they can develop a dark line around the gum. Like metal implants, they can cause tooth sensitivity.

Crowns are usually placed over two visits. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared by removing a layer of enamel. You will usually be given a local anesthetic. Your dentist will then take an impression of your teeth so the crown can be matched to the rest of your teeth and to ensure a good fit.

You will wear a temporary crown while your custom crown is made. During the second visit, your dentist will place the crown with a strong adhesive and make any necessary adjustments to the shape and color.

Cosmetic Tooth Contouring

Also known as tooth shaping or “enamel shaping,” cosmetic tooth contouring can be done to correct small problems like chipping. It can also fix teeth that are slightly overlapping.

The dentist reshapes the tooth by filing or removing some of the enamel. After shaping the tooth, the dentist will polish it to smooth out any rough or uneven spots and to give it a more natural appearance.This process is usually not painful and produces immediate results.

Cosmetic Tooth Bonding

Bonding is a process in which tooth-colored materials are adhered (bonded) to the tooth. This is a procedure that can be used to conceal imperfections like chips and cracks or improve the appearance of a tooth that has been badly stained.

Bonding requires very little tooth preparation, so it can be a fast and inexpensive way to repair minor tooth flaws.

During the bonding procedure, your dentist will prepare a composite resin matched to the color of your teeth. They will then apply the material to the surface of the tooth and shape it until the imperfection has been covered. The resin will also be polished so it will have a more natural appearance.

Cosmetic Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontists can help straighten teeth and correct a bad bite. They see adults as well as children. If you have buck teeth, crowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, or crooked teeth, ask your dentist if an orthodontist can help you.

Orthodontists use aligners or braces to move your teeth into the correct position over time. A retainer may be required temporarily after the initial treatment to help keep your teeth in place.


Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry concerned with the appearance of your teeth and smile. Cosmetic dentists perform several different procedures, including teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental implants, and dental crowns. They can also fix minor imperfections with cosmetic tooth contouring and tooth bonding. Orthodontists can correct your bite or straighten your teeth regardless of your age.