Curious about cosmetic dentistry? It’s not just an elite service that is only available to the rich anymore. Here’s everything you’ve always wanted to know about cosmetic dentistry, but are too shy to ask.

It can be very painful when you are unsatisfied with the appearance of your smile. After all, it’s one of the first things we notice about each other. Emotional and physical pain go hand-in-hand when it comes to poor oral health. It’s normal to feel reluctant to smile. It’s common to feel embarrassed when your smile is less-than-perfect. And it’s normal to feel reluctance and embarrassment about stepping into a dentist’s chair.

You may also be concerned that the cost could make these services unattainable for you. Cosmetic dentistry is an industry that is expanding, with services becoming more accessible and innovations in treatments happening every day. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about cosmetic dentistry.

What to Know About Cosmetic Dentistry Basics

Cosmetic dentistry is a method of professional oral health care that is centered around improving the appearance of your smile. This includes your mouth, teeth, gums. Cosmetic dentists perform everything from minor topical treatments to major surgeries.

Some reasons a person might choose to see a cosmetic dentist include: tooth decay, damage to the teeth (such as cracks or chips), crooked teeth straightening, misshapen teeth, discoloration, or missing teeth. People living with teeth that are damaged, decayed, or missing may also experience increased difficulty with eating or speaking. It can also have a big impact on self-esteem.

A survey by the American Dental Association conducted in 2015 concluded that 33% of young people feel reluctant to smile due to conditions related to their teeth and mouth. Another 23% of adults reported that they purposefully cut back their participation in social activities due to feeling self-conscious about their smiles. Cosmetic dentists like the ones at City Dental Centers offer smile makeover services to improve their patients’ quality of life and self-esteem.

Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Services 

Teeth Whitening

This is one of the most affordable, and pain-free cosmetic dentistry procedures. Certain foods such as dark berries, chocolate, coffee, red wine, and habits like smoking can all leave stains on the teeth. Teeth whitening is performed to remove these stains and brighten the smile. After teeth are cleaned of plaque, tartar, and other debris, the teeth are treated with a whitening gel to brighten the appearance of the teeth.

Increasingly doctors use laser or LED treatments for their in-office teeth whitening procedures. There are also some take home whitening kits that are being developed to offer dentist-office-quality tooth whitening treatments at home. A product like the BrightBar organic tooth whitening system is a great example and is available for a fraction of the cost of typical in-office dental whitening.

Dental Veneers

Veneers are thin shells that are placed over the surface of the teeth. They are custom-made for each patient to resemble the appearance of natural teeth. They are made from either medical-grade porcelain, resin, or ceramic.

Your cosmetic dentist removes some of the enamel from the surface of the tooth. This allows the shells to bond in a way that looks realistic and gives the appearance of natural teeth. Dental veneers are a great option for patients looking to fix a number of cosmetic issues. These include crooked teeth, damaged enamel, and gaps between the teeth. 

Dental Crowns

Crowns are also known as dental caps. In other words, they’re artificial teeth designed to sit on top of a decayed or damaged tooth. Crowns help to protect weekend teeth at risk of breaking. They can also be used in a purely cosmetic sense to cover any misshapen or severely discolored teeth. However, they’re also used to cover dental work from other procedures such as root canals, enamel fillings, dental bridges, or implants. 

Inlays & Onlays

These are sometimes known as indirect fillings. They are used when a tooth is too decayed to maintain its structure from a traditional filling. Inlays and onlays are created in a laboratory and bonded in place by a cosmetic dentist. An inlay is when there is material bonded over the center of the tooth.

On the other hand, an onlay is when the filling only covers one or more parts of the tooth. Onlays may even cover the entire surface of the tooth. This procedure is good for preserving the natural surface of the tooth. It also strengthens and restores the tooth after decay or deterioration. It is sometimes used as an alternative to crowns. 

Dental Implants

Implants are used to replace teeth that have been lost or severely decayed. This could be due to accidents as well. The cosmetic dentist attaches a screw into the bones of the jaw to provide support for the implant. The implant is then inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth. The bone and tissue will fuse with the implant over time, securing the replacement tooth firmly inside the mouth. The implant will blend in seamlessly with the surrounding teeth and be completely functional.

Dental Bonding

When it comes to dental bonding, a cosmetic dentist will apply moldable resin onto the tooth. After that, they’ll harden it by using ultraviolet light. The dentist will then blend the material with the surface of the tooth by trimming, shaping, and polishing it.

Bonding is usually done to repair chips, cracks, misshapen teeth, and tooth decay. Dental bonding is a more affordable alternative to fillings or crowns. Furthermore, it’s a great option to consider if the damage to your teeth is not extensive, but just one or two small fixes. 

Orthodontics

Some cosmetic dentists incorporate orthodontics into their practices as well. They incorporate procedures such as braces, aligners, Invisalign, or reconstructive surgery. Services like these are available for both children and adults. This can be performed to address cosmetic concerns as well as to correct damage sustained from an accident or injury.

What to Know About Cosmetic Dentistry

So now that we’ve covered some of the things that cosmetic dentistry entails, here are some of the things your cosmetic dentist would love for you to know about cosmetic dentistry. The first, and most important is that you should not avoid seeing your dentist because you feel self-conscious or embarrassed about the appearance of your teeth.

A good cosmetic dentist will never shame you or make you feel judged for any dental issue you are experiencing. If they do, find a different dentist. A good cosmetic dentist will understand that all kinds of life circumstances and events can contribute to dental problems, and make you feel at ease throughout each step of the treatment. They will be honest and transparent with you about what kinds of results are reasonable, associated costs, and long-term results.

Cosmetic dentistry is safe and effective and can even protect against future dental problems. Many of the procedures such as veneers, crowns, and dental bonding strengthen the underlying tooth. Your cosmetic dentist can also help you incorporate better dental hygiene practices and motivate you to be diligent about getting routine cleanings. Long story short, getting these treatments can make a huge impact on how you feel, so don’t let embarrassment keep you away.

Expenses Associated with Cosmetic Dentistry Services 

Cost can be another factor that keeps patients from exploring cosmetic dentistry as a viable option. Many cosmetic dentists are innovating treatments in order to make them more affordable for patients than they were a few decades prior. For accurate cost estimates, schedule a consultation with a local cosmetic dentist. Don’t be afraid to shop around to get a good idea of the types of services that are available, where you can find the best price, and which dentist made you feel the most comfortable. 

Another thing that’s important to know about cosmetic dentistry is that you may have to foot the bill yourself. Unfortunately, most dental plans typically include cosmetic dentistry. However, some plans may cover the partial cost of procedures if the primary purpose is to repair structural issues. For example, dental crowns may be covered in certain instances, or repairs to damage sustained in an accident. Some cosmetic dentists may offer financing options. Others accept third-party financing to assist with budgeting. Each office will be a little different. At City Dental Centers, we accept Care Credit dental financing.

The improvements in confidence, oral health, and quality of life will make the cost more than worthwhile. Being able to smile without feeling self-conscious or worrying if someone is looking critically at your teeth is priceless. Improvements to the appearance of your smile can also act as a fountain of youth, making you look years younger overnight. For instance, when you lose a tooth it can cause the bones and tissues surrounding the area to start shifting, creating a more sunken appearance in the face that can make you look much older than you actually are.

Get Familiar With Your Local Cosmetic Dentist

Patients often want to know how long they can expect their cosmetic dentistry procedures to take. The short answer is, it depends. Cosmetic dentistry is a highly personalized process. As a result, it depends on the needs and budget of each individual. If all that is needed is a simple repair (such as dental bonding to fix chips or cracks, or tooth whitening), a patient may only require a couple of treatments. In other instances, if there is extensive structural damage, the cosmetic dental work may need to take place over the course of months.  

When you go in for your consultation you may already have a clearly defined end goal, such as fixing a broken or damaged tooth, replacing a missing tooth or teeth, removing stains with tooth whitening treatments, etc. Or you may be unsure about which course of treatment is most appropriate. Your cosmetic dentist will ask about your goals and desires in terms of results from the procedure. They will then follow your consultation with a physical exam, and possibly x-rays or other imaging so that they have a full picture of what is happening with your mouth and teeth.

From there they will make recommendations as to the kind of cosmetic dentistry that would be most effective, and the results you can expect when the treatment is complete. From there, it is up to you whether you would like to proceed. Don’t be afraid to consult with several dentists to make sure you’ve found the best fit.

What to Expect From Cosmetic Dentistry 

The outcome of your cosmetic dentistry procedures will depend on the dentist’s level of skill and expertise. Look for a dentist that has plenty of experience in their field. While those with a degree in general dentistry can perform cosmetic procedures, it is advisable to choose a cosmetic dentist who has pursued specialized continuing education and additional training in cosmetic dentistry.

During your consultation, it is perfectly appropriate to ask for the following: Before and after photos of past patients, patient references, and proof of continuing education. Another thing to watch out for is whether your dentist is a member of the AAC, which requires their members to complete rigorous study of cosmetic dentistry procedures as well as pass an examination in order to become a member. 

Cosmetic dentistry is no longer an unattainable service that is only available to wealthy elites. Thanks to innovations in technology, as well as by talented cosmetic dentists, the field is expanding to provide smile makeovers to people of all walks of life. If you have longed to improve the appearance of your smile, book a consultation with a cosmetic dentist today, and upgrade your smile, as well as your confidence.

Convenient Cosmetic Dentist Offices in Southern California

Doctor Sam Shahovesi and the team at City Dental Centers are here to provide our patients with the best dental services and dental surgeries for children and adults of all ages. From toddlers to seniors, City Dental Centers offers six convenient dentist offices in Southern California. We even have a dedicated children’s dentist office, City Dental Kids & Braces, to cater to the special physical and emotional needs of children.

Whether you need checkups, x-rays, braces, bonding, teeth whitening, sealants, oral cancer screenings, root canals, crowns, bridges, implants, or tooth extraction, City Dental Centers is here to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible.

Contact The Nearest Dentist to You

Ready to experience the best dentists in Los Angeles? Choose one of the convenient dental offices we have surrounding LA. We have dental practices in Azusa, Corona, Lake Forest, Montclair, Pico Rivera, and West Covina. You can call our main line at (888) 624-8933 or reach out to an office directly with the information below. We’re so happy you’ve chosen City Dental Centers. We can’t wait to help you along your dental journey and brighten your beautiful smile!

Dentist in Azusa, CA

Location: 483 S. Citrus Ave. Azusa, CA 91702
Phone: (626) 966-3400

Dentist in Corona, CA

Location: 161 McKinley St. STE 102, Corona, CA 92879
Phone: (951) 737-3746

Dentist in Lake Forest, CA

Location: 24602 Raymond Way #210, Lake Forest, CA 92630
Phone: (949) 461-5800

Dentist in Montclair, CA

Location: 5182 Moreno St, Montclair, CA 91763
Phone: (909) 295-3477

Dentist in Pico Rivera, CA

Location: 9400 Whittier Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660
Phone: (562) 949-2526

Dentist in West Covina, CA

Location: 154 Plaza Dr, West Covina, CA 91790
Phone: (626) 962-1722