Submitted by: Abigail Aaronson

Unlike traditional dentistry which focuses on the prevention and treatment of oral disease, cosmetic dentistry addresses how a person’s smile looks. Issues such as discoloration, chips, gaps and cracks affect how our smiles look, and more and more men and women are taking steps to make their smiles as beautiful as possible by seeking out cosmetic dentistry treatments.

There are numerous cosmetic dental treatments out there, including tooth whitening, which is probably the most commonly sought, composite bonding, inlays and onlays, dental veneers, dental implants, and entire smile makeovers. Here’s a quick run-down of each.

Professional Teeth Whitening: During this process the dentist uses a bleaching agent to professionally remove stains and discoloration caused by smoking, coffee, tea, and many food items. Unlike at-home bleaching systems, such as whitening strips and bleaching trays, professional teeth whitening offers considerable improvement in a single one-hour treatment. Some professional teeth whitening treatments use light or lasers to activate the whitening, while others use strong bleaching agents alone.


Composite Bonding: This process aesthetically corrects chipped, cracked, decayed or discolored teeth using a dental composite material which looks like enamel and dentin. The substance is applied, sculpted, then hardened for a natural-looking cosmetic restoration which blends with the surrounding teeth, offering a flawless smile.

Inlays and Onlays: Functioning as cosmetic “fillings,” which last longer and cause less weakening of the teeth than traditional fillings, inlays and onlays can be made from tooth-colored composite resin or porcelain which blend and look more aesthetically pleasing than traditional fillings. Inlays and onlays are also called “indirect fillings.”

Dental Veneers: Made either from porcelain or composite, dental veneers are bonded to the surface of the teeth to correct the appearance of cracks, chips, gaps, worn enamel, and extreme discoloration. Today’s veneers offer a more natural-looking translucent appearance than those of the past. Though both porcelain and composite resin are popular and natural-looking, porcelain is longer-lasting, therefore more expensive.

Dental Implants: Used to address tooth loss, dental implants are prosthetic tooth replacements which are more durable and functional than other restorative options. Dental implants not only improve the appearance of the mouth, but the entire face as well, counteracting that “sunken” facial appearance tooth loss can create.

Smile Makeovers: A complete smile rejuvenation combining treatments such as whitening, dental veneers, implants, gingival sculpting to address the specific issues of a patient’s smile. Unlike a full mouth reconstruction, which is performed for functional purposes, a smile makeover addresses the cosmetic issues of a person’s mouth, creating as flawless a smile as possible.

Though creating healthy smiles is still the essential role of dentistry, cosmetic dentistry is booming as more and more men and women rejuvenate their look through the advantages cosmetic dentistry offers. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 74% of adults feel the appearance of one s smile has an impact on the success of a person’s career. Over 99% see an attractive smile as “an important social asset.”

About the Author: Looking for top-notch cosmetic dentistry? Cary professional dentists at Lane and Associates can brighten your smile and give you that extra edge you seek in your career and social life. For more information, contact



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