Cosmetic dentistry is concerned with the appearance of teeth and the enhancement of a person’s smile. In this field, the emphasis is on the art of dentistry, not just the science. On the surface, creating white teeth, or even whole new teeth in general, may not appear to be that complicated. Yet cosmetic dentistry requires a good eye, a thorough understanding of dental anatomy, and a mastery of dental materials. Beyond that, the dentist must be able to communicate his or her vision to a laboratory technician — a key player in the realization of any smile makeover. Though cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty within the dental profession, it takes years of extensive study and training to be able to perform
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What is a Cosmetic Dentist?
Generally speaking, a cosmetic dentist is a restorative dentist who has extensively studied the concepts of smile design and dental materials to create what could best be described as works of art. Cosmetic dentists are usually affiliated with a professional organization that provides continuing education and levels of accreditation to verify outstanding achievement in the study of cosmetic dentistry.
What is the Difference Between Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry?
While there is some overlap between the two fields (both may utilize implants and crowns, for example), the focus is different, as is the level of expertise. The cosmetic dentist goes beyond restoring an individual’s teeth to their proper function, seeking to attain the most ideal result according to the patient’s definition of beauty. This involves a high level of finesse with even the smallest details, such as how much tooth should be displayed in a particular smile.
What Should I Expect From A Cosmetic Consultation?
You can expect your dentist to ask you to describe in detail what you like and dislike about your smile, and what you want to change. Bringing photos of how you have looked in the past or would like to look in the future are helpful to serve as general guidelines. Because aesthetic problems such as missing or discolored teeth can also point to underlying health issues, a comprehensive oral exam is a must. Once your dentist has a thorough understanding of where you are starting from and where you want to end up, he or she can explain your treatment options (including how much they will cost and how long they will take to implement) and plan a course of action.