A newer dental specialty is becoming more popular in many cities: Cosmetic dentistry. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), “cosmetic dentistry is dentistry aimed at creating a positive change to your teeth and to your smile … (a)esthetic dentistry must complement the overall general and oral health of the patient.”

Cosmetic dentistry procedures

A cosmetic dentist has a wide range of services that they can offer to make your smile more radiant.

Teeth whitening

This is the set of procedures that most people think of when they think of a cosmetic dentist. Teeth whitening is usually done with a peroxide bleach solution and sometimes UV light. An advantage of a dentist performing teeth whitening versus you doing it at home is that the process is much faster (a couple of hours instead of a few weeks) and can achieve brighter results than home kits.

Teeth whitening in your dentist’s office can take a few hours, though, so be prepared to sit for a while with a UV light shining onto your teeth.

Dental veneers

Dental veneers are a medical-grade (will not cause inflammation or allow bacteria to grow) ceramic made for your individual teeth. A cosmetic dentist can make them look realistic, and they are used for crooked teeth, cracked teeth or damaged enamel. Veneers are applied to specific teeth and can stay for years.

Composite bonding

Bonding is a procedure in cosmetic dentistry that can help fix damaged enamel in your teeth. Enamel can be damaged in a number of ways, including cracks, chips or gum disease. Composite bonding involves the application of a putty-like resin to the damaged teeth. The cosmetic dentist chooses the correct color and then shapes the resin to match the desired shape.

This is another treatment that can last for up to 10 years. Make sure to see your dentist regularly to ensure that the bonding is still properly applied.


A cosmetic dentist will use dental implants to replace lost teeth. An implant is typically used instead of a denture because dentures can cause damage to the upper and lower jawbones. When an implant is placed, it is almost indistinguishable from a normal tooth.

Be aware that implant procedures can sometimes be very invasive depending on the number of teeth you need to be implanted. Update your medication list with your dentist beforehand because you might need post-operative care.

Inlays and Onlays

An inlay or onlay is known as an “indirect filling.” They are a sort of middle-ground between a filling and an implant.

Your dentist will take a mold of the tooth in question and send it off to fit the inlay or onlay. Therefore, this procedure usually takes at least two appointments. An inlay or onlay is a versatile procedure that can last years and produces good results.

How do I find a cosmetic dentist?

A good place to start is our office! Our trained professionals would be happy to help guide you through the process of finding a skilled cosmetic dentist.