Cosmetic Dentistry – Know All of Your Options

A variety of surveys report that if you meet someone for the very first time, you notice their grin over any other attribute. This partially explains the huge interest in cosmetic dentistry in the previous ten years. Major improvements in technology and methods would be another side of the film. With so much information readily available, deciphering this intricate subject can be very daunting, even for the average dentist. This guide will help to explain the subject by describing the pros and cons of each option, so you are able to make an informed and intelligent decision about which option is right for you.

Cosmetic dentistry is often contrasted with ceramic veneers, possibly on account of the success of the extreme makeover shows. Veneers are a terrific option but are by no means the only alternative. Cosmetic dentistry involves whitening, orthodontics (braces), dental implants, oral surgery, gum lifts, tooth colored fillings, and a new pair of dentures. And based on which type of dentist you visit, you might just be provided one or 2 of these options.

Let’s analyze the following analogy: suppose you have a sore joint. If you go to an orthopedic surgeon, most probably surgery will be advocated. A chiropractor might suggest adjustments, a physical therapist might try physical therapy and exercises, a nutritionist might recommend glucosamine, and a pharmacist might recommend Advil or Aleve. All are suitable remedies for sore joints, but not all are suitable for each and every patient. In fact, the ideal treatment may be a blend of many distinct modalities.

Now suppose you have a smile which needs improvement. A general dentist might recommend whitening and/or bonding, a cosmetic dentist may frequently advocate veneers, an orthodontist would surely consider braces, along with a surgeon or gum specialist may nevertheless offer additional solutions. And like the analogy, the best remedy may be a combination of several different approaches.

So let us review the alternatives offered in the area of cosmetic dentistry and also for each supply a notion of the risks, benefits, cost, and time involved.


Tooth whitening occasionally referred to as bleaching, has existed for decades. The active ingredient in virtually all systems is a kind of hydrogen peroxide, which is shown to be completely safe for teeth and maybe even helpful to the gums. The major drawbacks to whitening are sensitivity and unpredictability. The major benefit is the minimal price. Various”whitening strips” could be bought over the counter for around $40. They work well for mild staining on otherwise normal, healthy teeth. Stock whitening trays bought over the Internet provide about precisely the same degree of whitening, but maybe with more sensitivity.

Custom whitening trays supplied by a dentist provide even better results if you are willing to wear them every night for a few weeks. One-hour whitening at a dental office or spa does exactly the exact same or even better job very quickly, but might also result in certain short-lived sensitivity. The expense of in-office bleaching ranges from $400-$1,000, but the results are still changeable. Some individuals experience amazing results from such methods, while some are disappointed. For people with normal healthy teeth which would like predictable results, a system called”Deep Bleaching” developed by dentist Rod Kurthy will deliver predictable results, even in stained teeth. This system is a composite of in-office sessions and specialized take-home trays that provides amazing results every time.

The cost of heavy whitening ranges from $1,200-$1,800, and there is very little or no sensitivity with this system. But if your teeth have other issues along with color, then you will probably be looking at”permanent whitening”, also referred to as porcelain veneers.


Porcelain veneers are thin facings that are bonded to the front of the teeth to revive your smile. They can completely cover stains, as well as even out crooked teeth and make chipped teeth seem like new. Traditional porcelain veneers require numbing of their teeth, and removal of the top stained layer to offer space for the brand new white ceramic coating. The results can be dramatic and immediate, and the lashes may last for decades. The downsides are a high price, sensitivity sometimes lasting for months or weeks, and irreversibility. But for certain cases, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. If you prefer not to have your teeth numbed, another option is Lumineers.

Lumineers are very thin porcelain veneers which don’t require numbing of their teeth in most cases, without any drilling into sensitive areas of the teeth. While they cannot fix everyone’s smile issues, they need to at least be considered, especially for the anxious patient. The two Lumineers and conventional veneers are expensive, approximately $1,500-2,000 each tooth, but they may be completed in only a couple of visits. This makes them perfect for patients wanting”immediate gratification.”

Porcelain crowns are similar to conventional dental crowns but do not include any dark metals on the inside of the crown molding. For patients that are tired of this”dark line” around the gums of their crowned teeth, all-porcelain crowns are a wonderful alternative. The newer crowns are extremely strong and bonded to the tooth to prevent the cement wash-out that used to occur with traditional crowns. Porcelain crowns typically cost somewhat more than conventional crowns but are well worth the extra expense in a region where the edge of the crown shows.


If you don’t mind waiting some months for your new smile, orthodontics may be a far better option than porcelain veneers. For patients with nice looking natural teeth, just crooked or gapped, orthodontics is a more natural and more cost-effective approach. Of course, in the field of cosmetic dentistry, many adults don’t want railroad track braces on their teeth, so manufacturers have developed”clear braces” where everything you see is a thin cable on the teeth. Plus, contemporary orthodontics has embraced the”low-force, very low friction” philosophy, making braces much more comfortable than ever before.

When the thought of braces turns you off, then you should consider Invisalign ( Invisalign is a string of clear plastic trays, much like whitening trays, which gently move your teeth to their new, straight position. In an average treatment time of only 11 months, Invisalign is quicker and easier than conventional braces, and there are no diet restrictions without any problems cleaning and flossing. The disadvantage of Invisalign is the time involved, and the possibility that porcelain veneers may nevertheless be needed to achieve the individual’s aesthetic goals. The advantage is that the preservation of natural teeth, and comparatively low cost at about $6,000 total.


If you are missing some teeth, veneers, whitening, and dentures may not fix all of your needs. Before, missing teeth intended partial or full dentures, or on occasion a bridge. With recent advances in technology, we can now replace missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and feel like normal teeth. With a greater than 95% success rate, implants have become almost routine in several dental practices. The advantages are evident; the disadvantages are high initial cost and the need for minor operation to set them. Over the long run, dental implants may actually be less costly than other choices because they possibly can last the rest of your life.