Cosmetic dentistry is an industry that has seen a rise in correlation with the celebrity culture and the world's general lust for improving their exterior wellbeing, as well as their internal health. Whereas we've had traditional dentistry for many years, cosmetic dentistry refers to the more recent implementation of practices like teeth whitening, tooth reshaping, veneers and gum-lifts. These don't necessarily improve the health of the teeth, but just the look of them. Cosmetic dentistry is often placed in to the same category as cosmetic surgery, although most of the cosmetic dentistry is performed and sometimes encouraged by regular dentists. Private cosmetic specific dentistry can be very expensive.
Cosmetic dentistry can range from small modifications to regular practices (such as using a white colored material instead of regular gray mercury/metal mixtures for fillings), to full mouth reshaping, coloring and veneering.
One of the more common cosmetic dentistry practices is teeth whitening. After a consultation, for minor stains, the dentist may simply give you toothpaste with a whitener to lighten the outside of the teeth and small grits to help scrape away any topical stains. For medium discolorment that goes deeper in to the enamel you may be given a peroxide paste that is applied with a mouth guard for several minutes periodically to whiten the tooth on the inside, and in more serious cases you may be offered more advanced “in chair” treatment.
Veneering is another common form of cosmetic dentistry. If a patient has misshapen, chipped or uneven teeth, applying a porcelain veneer (like a cap) over the tooth/teeth in question cosmetically rebuilds the teeth for the correct look. They are not false teeth, just additions to current teeth.
Although cosmetic dentistry is seeing an increase, dentists advise that it in no way replaces the need for good oral hygiene.