The first thing you notice when you meet someone is usually their smile, so it should be no surprise that so many people are flocking towards cosmetic dentistry options. cosmetic dentistryThis type of dentistry focuses on the way your teeth look. Most dentists can perform cosmetic procedures such as whitening, crowns, veneers, while orthodontists are required for more complex procedures such as retainers and braces to close gaps and straighten teeth.

Whitening is the most common and most affordable type of cosmetic dentistry. Many dentists will offer whitening specials to get new clients in the door. This makes teeth whitening accessible for many people.

There are a few different ways of whitening your teeth. Take home kits are available that require a bleach or whitening solution to be placed in a tray that you put over your teeth for a specified amount of time. There is also in office procedures that use bright UV light to whiten teeth.

Whitening can be useful in removing stains from the teeth of smokers and coffee drinkers, yellowing that occurs with age or just getting a whiter, brighter smile. Whitening doesn’t last forever though, especially if you continue to participate in stain causing activities or don’t take proper care of your teeth.

Bonding is a convenient way of closing small gaps in teeth that doesn’t require braces. The process of bonding is simple and requires only one single office visit. A tooth colored composite resin is used to fill in gaps or reform teeth after being broken or chipped. Bonding can last for several years, but is more likely to stain or discolor than the rest of the tooth.

Crowns have the longest life expectancy of any cosmetic dentistry procedure and are quite costly and time consuming. Crowns, sometimes called caps, are placed over existing teeth to correct discoloration, gaps, misshaped teeth and other cosmetic issues.

Veneers are made out of thin strips of porcelain that are placed over teeth to correct many of the same issues as bonding and crowns. This process is less costly and can be customized to your mouth. At your appointment, the dentist will take casts of your teeth so that the veneers can be custom shaped to your teeth. At the second appointment, your teeth will be buffed so that the added thickness is bothersome. Then, the veneers are cemented onto the front of your teeth creating a beautiful, straight, white smile.

Contouring and reshaping of the teeth is the least extensive procedure for correcting crooked or gapped teeth and is ideal for people who have a healthy mouth and teeth who only want minimal changes made to their smile. Many people who use this method just have one crooked tooth, or a slightly crooked tooth.

When looking for a cosmetic dentist, make sure to read reviews, ask a lot of questions, and do some research ahead of time. Dentists should be able to show before and after photos of different cosmetic procedures that they have done as well as their credentials and education.