Your smile is your introduction, whether it’s a social event or a business meeting. You want to leave a positive first impression, so it’s essential to take care of your general dental work as well as any necessary cosmetic improvements. Some dentists, like us here at Wilmington Dental Associates, handle both types of services while others specialize in either general or cosmetic dentistry.
What’s the difference between the two and which is right for you when you want to make the most of your smile?
To help clear things up, here are answers to 10 of the most common FAQs about cosmetic dentistry.
Answers to the Most Common Cosmetic Dentistry Questions:
#1 – What is the difference between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry?
General dentistry is used to diagnose and treat problems with the patient’s teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. This is done by removing tooth decay, filling cavities, and repairing fractured teeth. Another part of general dentistry is when the dentist educates patients about how to help maintain overall oral health at home.
Once a patient’s teeth and gums are healthy, cosmetic dentistry works to improve the appearance of your teeth, gums, and mouth. This type of dentistry includes things such as teeth whitening, inlays, veneers, bonding, braces, and dental implants. The ultimate goal of cosmetic dentistry is to provide you with a healthy smile you are proud to show off.
#2 – Do cosmetic treatments affect my oral health?
Any dentist, no matter what their specialty, will first make sure your oral health needs are met before any cosmetic treatment is started. In this way, yes, your oral health will be improved with any cosmetic treatment.
Once those needs are met, your cosmetic plan will begin. Those might be implants, crowns, veneers, or even Invisalign braces. (Invisalign is technically an orthodontic treatment but is also considered cosmetic dentistry in many cases, too.) Your dentist will provide a treatment plan to enhance your smile and help you keep that smile as healthy as possible in the future with regular checkups and a good oral hygiene routine.
#3 – Can a cosmetic dentist fix my crooked teeth?
Yes! A dentist that specializes in cosmetic dentistry will work with you to reshape the teeth based on how badly they are misaligned. For slightly crooked teeth that have no bite problems, porcelain veneers can often help. Veneers last longer than dental bonding and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
However, if your teeth are very crooked or the bite is misaligned, veneers aren’t the solution. In that case, your teeth would need to be straightened with an orthodontic treatment like Invisalign clear aligners instead.
#4 – What other reasons do people have for seeing a cosmetic dentist?
Here are some of the other reasons you may want to consult with a cosmetic dentist:
- Damaged teeth (cracks, chips, etc.)
- Misshapen teeth
- Missing teeth
People often refuse to smile due to issues like these. Cosmetic dentistry can help eliminate any embarrassment and discomfort you feel by affordably correcting conditions like mentioned above.
#5 – Will people be able to tell that I’ve had cosmetic dentistry work done?
Rest assured that with the advancements in cosmetic dentistry, you won’t have to worry about people knowing you’ve had treatments. The materials used can be expertly color-matched to your natural teeth, making it impossible to distinguish between crowns, veneers and bonding resins and your natural teeth. Furthermore, the glossy finish of the surfaces is identical to that of natural teeth, ensuring a seamless look.
#6 – What are implants?
Dental implants are one of the greatest advancements in modern dentistry in 40 years. They are a permanent solution to missing teeth or those that are badly damaged. This is one of the reasons that implants are one of the fastest-growing dental procedures today.
Titanium posts, which are biocompatible, are surgically inserted into the jaw where one or more teeth are missing. A crown is then added that is indistinguishable from a natural tooth. The implants are reliable and offer stability in the mouth. The process can take up to a year. But, every patient is different. So, your dentist will discuss a more precise timeline with you if you choose to have implants done.
Make sure to check out our in-depth article on dental implants for more information on this treatment.
#7 – Are cosmetic procedures, such as implants, painful?
Modern dental technology has made great strides in reducing discomfort during any dental procedure. Discuss with your dentist any concerns you may have before any dental work if you are uneasy; they will work to provide the best possible experience for you.
Here is what you can expect during the most popular cosmetic dental services, including:
- Teeth whitening –You can typically expect a pain-free treatment. There may be some sensitivity afterward, but this shouldn’t last long.
- Direct bonding – Bonding fixes small gaps, stains, and other imperfections in your teeth and your dentist can apply this tooth-colored resin without the need for a local anesthetic.
- Veneers – Your mouth will be numbed beforehand to prepare the teeth to place these porcelain sheaths over your teeth, so there will be no pain during the procedure and little to none afterward.
- Dental implants – Implants involve a recovery period with some discomfort. Your mouth may be sore for a few days. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication if necessary while over-the-counter medication may be enough.
#8 – Can veneers, crowns, or bridges stain?
Yes, but this is preventable. You are in control of staining on your veneers and crowns by how you treat your teeth in general. Even though veneers and crowns are highly resistant to becoming stained, your natural teeth can still become stained. The more they become stained, the less they will match the color of the veneers and crowns around them. Ask our dental hygienist for information on how to avoid this.
#9 – Does whitening damage the enamel on my teeth?
No, professional teeth whitening at your dentist’s office does not damage your tooth enamel. Some of the home kits can cause damage if they aren’t used correctly.
In-office whitening is a multi-step procedure that will usually take around one hour. The results can last up to two years, so this will be time well spent!
#10 – Does dental insurance pay for any cosmetic dentistry?
It’s impossible to know the answer to this question for your case unless you contact your insurance plan with your dentist’s recommended treatment plan. In general, a cosmetic procedure repairs or restores damaged teeth, many insurance policies will cover the treatment to correct those repairs. Teeth whitening is generally not covered.
It’s best not to assume your cosmetic work won’t be covered. Contact your insurance company with the details of your proposed treatment plan and let them advise you on your coverage. Our team here at Wilmington Dental Associates can also help you navigate your dental insurance benefits and determine if the cosmetic dentistry you need is covered.
We Value Your Smile, Too!
Hopefully the answers we covered above help clear up from of the most FAQs about cosmetic dentistry that you may have thought about yourself. Here at Wilmington Dental Associates, our dental professionals are highly experienced in a variety of cosmetic dental treatments. Let us help create that beautiful smile you want!
The treatment you need may take far less time and be less expensive than you thought, so contact us today with any questions you may have and to schedule a consultation.