Dental Associates

Cosmetic Dentist Questions

Answers to common questions about cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic dentists

What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person's teeth, mouth and smile as an elective, optional treatment as opposed to a necessary treatment. Cosmetic dentistry most frequently is associated with teeth whitening, but can also include veneers and gum tissue sculpting (gum lifts).

What is a cosmetic dentist?
Dentists don’t receive a specific degree in cosmetic dentistry, and the American Dental Association doesn’t even recognize cosmetic dentistry or “cosmetic dentists” as a formal area of specialty dentistry. Rather, general dentists perform many specialty services that include cosmetic changes to a patient’s teeth.

Does Dental Associates have cosmetic dentists?
Our general dentists offer many cosmetic dentistry services, so yes, Dental Associates has cosmetic dentists as it were.

Does Dental Associates offer teeth whitening?
Yes, and your Dental Associates dentist can consult with you on how to whiten teeth with a treatment plan most effective for you.

Is teeth whitening safe?
Products offering white teeth are many, and vast improvements have been made in the area of teeth whitening over the past decade. However, there are risk factors to consider before starting a teeth whitening regiment. Risk factors include any allergies or any oral health problems you may have.

Teeth whitening products that offer the moon but are not properly tested can also lead to problems. Therefore, we recommend that any teeth whitening product you choose be approved by the American Dental Association. We also strongly suggest your dentist be a part of your teeth whitening process to assure the best possible outcome with the least amount of risk.

Are there dangers from excessive teeth whitening?
Everyone wants white teeth, but you should be aware of the potential dangers of excessive teeth whitening. Excessive teeth whitening can lead to gum irritation and other more serious problems for your oral health.

Your dentist will know what’s best for you given your overall oral health and can recommend a product that will work best for you. Following the treatment plan from your dentist and avoiding overexposure will lead to a result you’re happy with and minimize problems.

What are dental veneers?
A dental veneer is a thin shell that covers the front of a tooth that’s stained, chipped, or cracked. Veneers are made from tooth-colored material, like porcelain, giving an imperfect tooth a completely new appearance. Since a dental veneer is set in place permanently, a small amount of the patient’s enamel is removed to make way for the veneer.

What is a gummy smile?
A gummy smile refers to someone who shows an abnormal amount of gum tissue while smiling. While this gum-to-teeth ratio is simply a normal variation in humans and not caused by a specific condition or disease, some patients choose to correct it for cosmetic reasons.

Correcting a gummy smile is done with simple periodontal gum surgery.

What is a gum lift?
A gum lift procedure raises and sculpts the gum line. The procedure involves reshaping the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.

This procedure is typically done to reduce excessively gummy smiles or to balance out an asymmetrical gum line. The procedure, also known as crown-lengthening, has historically been used to treat gum disease. It is only within the past three to five years that dentists have used this procedure for aesthetic purposes.