There are few things more noticeable or memorable about a person than their smile. When one’s teeth are stained, broken, misshapen, misaligned, or otherwise different in some way other than what is considered “normal” by society, it can make a person very self-conscious and affect them in a negative way.
The process of addressing these concerns is called cosmetic dentistry, but we at Blackstone Family Dentistry prefer to think of it as giving people the smiles they’ve always wanted.
In many cases, the actual procedures used in cosmetic dentistry are identical to those used to treat unhealthy teeth. The key difference is that in cosmetic dentistry those rocedures might not be strictly necessary for health reasons, and thus may not be covered by your insurance company.
Below are the most common procedures that we use to make our patients happier with their smiles along with an explanation of each procedure.
The process of whitening a person’s teeth, also called teeth bleaching, is one of the most basic cosmetic dental procedures. It simply involves applying a bleaching agent to your teeth, in some case over the course of several visits to the dentist, in order to make your teeth appear whiter. We also have a take-home tooth whitening treatment that we can provide to patients in certain circumstances.
Unlike other dental procedures that are used for both health and cosmetic reasons, teeth whitening is a purely cosmetic procedure that has no physical health benefit. Some store brand products that can be used for whitening your teeth can actually harm your teeth. You should consult with us before using any of these products to make sure you use products approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) in order to not damage your teeth.
In the case of the professional tooth whitening process we use at our office, we’ll ensure it is done in a way that is safe. Also, because the procedure doesn’t work as well for people with certain types of tooth colors, we’ll let you know if we don’t recommend it in your case.
Tooth whitening typically costs around $500 and is usually not covered by dental insurance.
Dental veneers are thin wafer-like shells of ceramic or porcelain that are bonded to the front of a tooth. They can be used to change the color, shape, or size of the front of a tooth. They can also correct any minor crowding or rotations of the teeth, allowing patients to forgo the need for braces.
Cosmetic dental bonding is the process by which tooth-colored resin is applied to a chipped, damaged, or discolored tooth. It is very similar to the process of filling a cavity—the main difference is that in the case of a cosmetic dental bonding, the tooth in question is still healthy. The procedure usually takes about 30-60 minutes.
Cosmetic dental crowns are identical to regular dental crowns; the only difference is that they are used for primarily for cosmetic reasons (to cover a misshapen tooth, for example) and are not strictly necessary for health reasons. You can see our page on dental crowns for a more detailed explanation of the procedure.
In the process of teeth reshaping (also called enamel shaping), a dentist simply removes some of the enamel in order to change the shape of it. It is usually a quick and painless process. In some cases, if the procedure is being done to reshape a tooth that was damaged in an accident, insurance may cover some of the cost.
Cosmetic orthodontics is the process of straightening crooked teeth in adults for cosmetic reasons. This can be done with braces or with an alternative such as wearing clear, removable aligners that straighten your teeth. The cost for cosmetic orthodontics varies widely based on the method used and the amount of realignment desired.
Cosmetic Dentistry FAQs
Below are some of the questions we frequently get from our patients about cosmetic dentistry along with the answers.
Will insurance cover my cosmetic dentistry procedure?
In most cases, insurance will not cover 100% of cosmetic dentistry procedures. The exception may be if the procedure is being done as the result of an accident. Our office would be happy to contact you insurance company to ask which procedures are covered if it is determined that you would benefit from any of these procedures.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Teeth whitening is safe as long as it is done properly. There are store brand tooth whitening products that can be harmful if used improperly, which is why we recommend that you discuss any products you use with us before using them on your teeth.