Cosmetic Dentistry 101: Improving Your Smile

| March 21, 2016

healthy smileWhen it comes to keeping your mouth and smile healthy, no one is more helpful than your dentist. But making your smile look its best is also something your dentist’s office provides.

Cosmetic dentistry covers a range of procedures. But if you have never considered a cosmetic service, your experience might be limited to whitening. Cosmetic services include not only brightening your smile, but also more permanent improvements like teeth positioning and shaping.

Here are some of your options when it comes to cosmetic dentistry, what they include, and how to determine what is right for your own smile.


The brightness and color of most teeth can be greatly improved with bleaching procedures offered by your dentist. Typically, in one appointment, your teeth can be four to six shades whiter!

We first clean your teeth thoroughly, and then we apply a protective barrier to your gums. A bleaching gel is then applied evenly, including difficult-to-reach areas. The procedure takes about 40 minutes and can last as long as a year.

At-home whitening products are also available. Just ask us for a recommendation based on your unique goals.


Dental bonding involves applying special material to the tooth to shape or restore it. We use a special light to bond a durable composite material directly to the tooth’s surface.

Bonding procedures are often used to:

  • Reduce gaps between teeth
  • Improve discolored surfaces
  • Protect exposed roots
  • Repair chips or cracks
  • Lengthen or shape a tooth

Dental bonds are mostly used for minor cosmetic changes. More significant improvement can be achieved with veneers and dental implants.


For teeth that need more permanent or significant shaping, we may suggest veneers, or lumineers, to also brighten your smile.

Veneers are usually made of porcelain or durable plastic, which are applied to the front of the teeth. Veneers not only protect the tooth’s surface from wear and damage, but they can also restore teeth to the proper color when no other option works.

First, we will clean and take an impression of your teeth, and then veneers will be custom-manufactured in a lab. This ensures that they fit perfectly after a second appointment to have them applied.

Veneers are usually reserved for serious cosmetic improvements, for teeth that are:

  • Chipped or severely worn
  • Crooked
  • Permanently stained
  • Significantly gapped
  • Shaped badly

The Consultation

Deciding what cosmetic procedures might be best for your individual smile is something we are happy to help you with! We are proud to offer free consultations to help you plan your brightest smile.

As part of our consultation, digital photos will be taken to show you exactly what your teeth look like beforetreatment. We also conduct SNAP Cosmetic Imaging, which can show what your smile would look like after a particular cosmetic treatment.

Our doctors and staff will also spend 30 minutes with you discussing your goals, the current state of your smile, and what procedures might have the best results for you.

Whether you are interested in making your teeth a few shades whiter or making a chipped tooth look brand new again, your dentist has a number of cosmetic options available for you. You can schedule your free consultation online, or by calling 614-468-8654.