Cosmetic Dentistry: Things You Need To Know

beautiful female smile after cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry or Aesthetic dentistry can give people more beautiful, confident, and healthy smiles by improving the appearance of their teeth. Are your teeth:

·         Chipped or broken?

·         Misshapen or misaligned?

·         Discolored or stained?

Cosmetic dental procedures can help your teeth look bright, white, and new again.

Cosmetic/Enhancive Dentistry: What Is It?

We tend to think of cleanings and fillings when we think of dentistry options, but aesthetic dentistry services are different from those at your regular dental checkups.

So, what is cosmetic dentistry? It involves fixes such as teeth whitening, bonding, fillings, crowns, inlays, onlays, Invisalign straighteners, and dental implants that enhance the appearance of your smile.

General Dentistry vs. Cosmetic Dentistry

General dentistry describes standard procedures such as cleanings, x-rays, extractions, and fillings, all of which are necessary to preserve your oral health. While aesthetic dentistry procedures sometimes work in tandem with general dentistry, such as repairing damage from periodontal disease, enhancive dentistry usually involves elective procedures that address aesthetics.

Can Cosmetic Treatments Help You Improve Your Oral Health and Function?

In some instances, enhancive dentistry can improve your oral health. If your gums are receding, aesthetical dentistry can:

·         Rebuild and restore your gum tissue

·         Strengthen your teeth

·         Protect your bones

Other cosmetic procedures can correct crooked, worn, or misaligned teeth, reducing long-term consequences such as jaw pain, uneven tooth wear, and cavities.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Getting a Dental Procedure

Even enhancive dentistry procedures can involve anesthesia and recovery time. Before getting any dental procedure, talk with your dentist about their experience with this treatment, precisely what it entails, and whether your insurance will cover any costs.

Types & Procedures

Here’s a summary of some popular types of cosmetic dentistry.

Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening uses peroxide compounds to remove discoloration and stubborn stains from nicotine, caffeine, or simply aging.


Your dentist can apply a product in the office, or you can apply the product at home using a professional-strength kit. If you have your teeth professionally whitened, they may need a refresh every six months to a year.

Cosmetic Fillings

Cosmetic fillings treat tooth decay with a synthetic combination of acrylic resin and glass that blends in with your natural teeth.


The dentist drills to clear the decayed tooth, packs it with filling, then polishes it to match the surrounding teeth.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin ceramic coverings that permanently cover the front of a tooth to correct a chip or other imperfection.


The dentist removes a small portion of the enamel from the front of the affected tooth, then takes a mold of that tooth to create a veneer. After checking fit, the dentist bonds the veneer to the tooth.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding:

·         repairs chipped, cracked, or decayed teeth

·         closes gaps between teeth

·         corrects a tooth’s length or shape


The dentist matches a special composite resin to the shade of your teeth. The dentist then:

·         conditions the tooth’s surface

·         molds and shapes the resin into place

·         dries it with a special light to bond it

Dental Crowns

A dental crown is a cap that covers a tooth or several teeth to prevent further damage or improve your smile. A crown often covers a weakened tooth, such as one treated with a root canal.


The dentist takes a scan or a mold of the affected teeth and either crafts a custom crown in the office or sends it to a lab for manufacture before cementing it into place.

Inlays and Onlays

Also called partial crowns or indirect fillings, inlays and onlays restore a tooth that’s too damaged for a filling while providing stability and strength.


The dentist drills away from the damaged portion of the tooth and makes a custom mold for the porcelain, gold, or composite inlay or onlay to blend in and fit correctly with the rest of your teeth.

Dental Implants

If you’ve lost a tooth because of an accident, an injury, or disease, a dental implant can improve your speech, restore your smile, and strengthen your surrounding teeth.


A dental implant involves surgery to place a metal fixture into your jawbone below the gums. Once this becomes integrated with your jaw, the dentist fits artificial teeth on top that blend in with the rest of your smile.


Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces that uses custom-made transparent aligners to correct your bite and straighten your teeth.


Invisalign uses clear plastic trays that you can wear discreetly and remove for cleaning. The dentist makes a scan of your teeth for each adjustment, and you switch out the trays over the course of about a year.

Full Mouth Reconstruction

Also called full mouth rehabilitation, this involves several aesthetic dentistry procedures to correct:

·         broken, missing, or worn teeth

·         a painful bite

·         damage from diseases such as gingivitis


The procedure varies by patient, but it can involve deep cleanings, gum contouring, orthodontics, bone grafting, dental veneers, and orthographic surgery.

Advantages of Enhancive Dentistry

Enhancive dentistry restores your confidence as it enhances your smile. In conjunction with general dentistry procedures, aesthetical dentistry can also restore the strength and natural function of your teeth and your bite.

Dental Insurance

If you want enhancive dentistry strictly for aesthetic reasons, your dental insurance won’t consider this medically necessary. However, if your dentist notes the necessity of fixing a broken filling or adding a crown or implant to stabilize your teeth, your insurance may cover at least part of the cost.

Ways to Save on Aesthetic Dentistry

Dental discount plans are one way to save on aesthetic dentistry procedures. These involve paying an annual cost for an individual or a family, but they provide discounts at participating practices for general and cosmetic procedures like regular health insurance.

How to Find a Good Cosmetic Dentist Near You

A good cosmetic dentist is someone you trust to deliver quality results, especially given the cost. If you have friends or relatives who are happy with their dental care, they can refer you to an excellent cosmetic dentist. Otherwise, you’ll need to look at their credentials and experience.

Is The Price Worth It?

Some cosmetic dental procedures improve the strength and stability of your teeth, while others are purely aesthetic but no less worthwhile. It’s impossible to put a price on the self-esteem that someone feels when they can smile with confidence.

Credibility: Experience & Reputation

Look at how long the dentist has practiced and whether their office has any before-and-after photos of their work, as well as any testimonials. Likewise, you can search online for any complaints with the state dental society or dental board.


You’ll want to choose a cosmetic dentist whose office is convenient for you, especially if your procedure involves more than one visit.


Most qualified cosmetic dentists have accreditation from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

What to Expect at a Consultation

Before any consultation, be sure to determine what you’d like to change about your smile. Write down in advance any questions you have. Depending on your mouth’s overall health, your dentist might suggest treating any underlying issue, such as an infection, before diving into a cosmetic treatment plan. Be sure to listen to the dentist’s reasoning and note whether you feel they hear your concerns.

The Chicago Dental Studio: Say Hello to a Perfect Smile

Our team at The Chicago Dental Studio is proud to be a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which has provided advanced, top-notch, and high-tech dental care since 2012. We have three locations across Chicago. To learn how we can help you find your smile again, visit our website, contact us, then click on “Book Now” to arrange an appointment at a convenient location near you.