Cosmetic Dentistry – Bridging the Gap Between Health and Beauty

One of the first things you notice about a person is their smile. A bright, healthy looking smile not only looks great but can also boost self-esteem and confidence. Cosmetic dentistry is an increasingly popular way to improve your smile. From replacing missing teeth, reshaping teeth and closing small gaps, cosmetic dental procedures can enhance your overall appearance.

Traditional dentists manage your oral health by keeping your gums and teeth clean, repairing damaged teeth and treating dental diseases. However, even a well-maintained mouth can have flaws that affect the appearance of your smile, especially as you age. These might include chips, cracks and stains that can be caused by poor oral hygiene, diet and habits or simply the natural effects of aging. A cosmetic dental professional is trained to correct these problems and create a healthy, beautiful smile that will leave a positive impression on people you meet.

Often, cosmetic procedures will not be covered by your regular dental insurance. The main reason for this is that traditional dental insurance plans mainly cover procedures that are deemed medically necessary to maintain good oral health. This is in contrast to cosmetic treatments that may have no real practical benefits other than enhancing the beauty of your smile. However, there are still some cosmetic procedures that may be partially or fully covered by your dental plan including whitening, composite bonding and veneers.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) is an international professional organization composed of general and cosmetic dentists, laboratory technicians, researchers, educators, students, hygienists and other professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life through better smiles. The AACD has created and implemented several quality standards for the dental profession and for consumers to help identify those dentists who are qualified to perform these types of procedures.

Some common cosmetic dental procedures include composite bonding, veneers and reshaping (enamel shaping). Composite Bonding: A tooth-colored material is used to repair minor dental imperfections including chipped, cracked or worn-down teeth. This material is bonded to the tooth and then cured with a high-intensity light. This is a relatively quick and inexpensive procedure that can make a significant difference to the look of your smile.

Veneers: In this cosmetic treatment, a thin porcelain shell is bonded to the front of your teeth for a more even and attractive smile. They are also commonly used to replace existing teeth that have been severely stained or damaged by tooth decay or root canal therapy. Unlike traditional silver or amalgam fillings, composite veneers are free of mercury.

If you’re in the market for a cosmetic smile makeover, talk to your dentist about which procedures are best for you. Then, explore your options for financing the treatment, if necessary. Never let a lack of funds prevent you from receiving the dental care you need or deserve. If you need additional assistance, ask about the flexible spending account (FSA) available through your employer. This program allows you to set aside money from each paycheck into an interest-free savings account that you can then use to pay for most dental expenses.

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