Cosmetic Dentistry – What You Need to Know

Unlike restorative dentistry treatments, which focus on healing and repair, cosmetic dental care is elective rather than essential. However, some procedures provide both cosmetic and restorative benefits.


Popular cosmetic procedures include teeth whitening, bonding, crowns, and veneers. Each option improves the appearance of a tooth and smile, while also providing health benefits such as strengthening enamel.

Tooth Whitening

Teeth whitening, or bleaching, is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures available. It lightens teeth by several shades and is safe for most patients. However, results vary from person to person. Be sure to consult with your dentist for a realistic idea of how much your smile will improve and how long the process may take.

Dental bonding is another cosmetic dentistry procedure that uses composite resin to repair chipped, broken or discolored teeth. The dentist applies the material to the damaged tooth and “sculpts” it into shape, then cures it with a high-intensity light.

Cosmetic dentistry is gaining popularity in part because many celebrities use it to enhance their appearance. It is also becoming more affordable and, in some cases, can last a lifetime with proper care. If you are not satisfied with the color, position or alignment of your teeth, talk to 209 NYC Dental about the range of treatment options that can help. But first, treat any existing disease because your health is always the priority. Then we can talk about ways to improve your smile.


Cosmetic dentists often perform composite bonding, which involves applying a tooth-colored resin to a damaged tooth and then “sculpting” it into shape before curing it with a high-intensity light. This is one of the least expensive cosmetic dental procedures and can repair a chipped, discolored or misshapen tooth. It can also close small gaps between teeth and make a tooth look longer.

Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that are made in a laboratory and then bonded to a tooth’s surface, usually to repair moderate decay or damage. These cosmetic dentistry treatments preserve more of the natural tooth’s structure than standard fillings.

While most dentists are trained to provide both restorative and cosmetic treatment, some may focus primarily on one or the other. A general dentist will be qualified to offer most cosmetic treatments, while a specialist will typically only provide treatment related to oral health or jaw surgery. Some general dentists, however, may choose to promote themselves as cosmetic dentists and offer certain procedures such as veneers and dental bonding. This is considered unethical and often involves marketing to patients with false claims.


A dental crown, or cap, is a restoration that fits over and replaces a damaged tooth above the gum line. It restores the tooth’s shape, size and strength, as well as its appearance. Crowns protect weak teeth from breaking and support fillings; they can also be used cosmetically to cover misshapen or severely discolored teeth. Crowns are made of porcelain, ceramic, resin or metal.

Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings done on molars. They are done when the damage to a tooth is too much for a regular filling yet not enough for a crown. They are placed into the molars and bonded to them.

Generally, cosmetic dentistry is done to enhance the function of a patient’s mouth, while aiming for the ideal symmetry and harmony. For example, crooked or dense teeth can be corrected with composite bonding. However, if the teeth are too far apart or have severe gaps, then orthodontic methods may be necessary. These may include braces or Invisalign.


Dental veneers are wafer-thin pieces of porcelain or resin composite material that are bonded to the surface of your teeth to improve their appearance. They can be used to makeover pitted and chipped teeth, close gaps between teeth, whiten discoloration that does not respond to whitening (or bleaching), such as mottled enamel, and provide an alternative to orthodontics.

The process of getting veneers typically takes 3-4 visits to your dentist in NW Calgary. The first appointment is for diagnosis and treatment planning. Your dentist will take your preferences and requests into account during this step of the process.

Your teeth will need to be prepped for the bonding procedure, which may include some trimming of your natural tooth surface. Your dentist will also create a temporary veneer for you to test drive for a few weeks.

Once you have your permanent veneers, the care is very similar to that of your natural teeth. You will need to brush and floss your teeth regularly, get regular dental cleanings, and protect your veneers from trauma or injury.


Unlike restorative dentistry which is focused on repairing teeth and gums, cosmetic treatment is focused on the appearance of your teeth and smile. Some dental procedures can be both restorative and cosmetic, such as a root canal or filling. But the vast majority of cosmetic dentistry procedures are purely aesthetic.

The popularity of this type of dentistry is partly due to the increasing number of celebrities who have had cosmetic treatments done. This has also been helped by a growing awareness of the benefits, particularly the positive self-image and confidence boost, that this type of work can provide.

All dentists, even those who specialize in general or restorative dentistry, will usually perform some cosmetic procedures. A general dentist may have taken courses in this area during their university degree or via postgraduate study, while specialists, such as oral maxillofacial surgeons (tooth removal, jaw surgery, implants), will often have a focus on cosmetic treatments as part of their practice. The term ‘cosmetic dentist’ is not recognized as an official specialism, but many practitioners will promote themselves as cosmetic dentists.