Common Procedures in Cosmetic Dentistry

More people are visiting cosmetic dentists now than ever before. This is due to many factors including movies, celebrities and other social influences.


Unlike restorative dentistry, which prioritizes function and health, cosmetic dental procedures focus on improving the appearance of your teeth and smile. These procedures include whitening, veneers, crowns and composite bonding.

Dental Implants

Cosmetic Dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your mouth, teeth, gums and bite. Common procedures include whitening, veneers and fillings. While these procedures are not necessary for overall oral health, they can have a big impact on your self-esteem and smile.

Dental implants are often used as tooth replacements and can be considered part of both restorative and cosmetic dentistry. They are a durable, permanent solution to missing teeth. They also help keep your jaw bone healthy, which can prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting due to empty spaces.

To place an implant, your dentist will first verify that you have generally healthy gums and adequate bone volume in your jaw to support the post. If you don’t, the dentist can perform a grafting procedure to build up your jaw.

When placed, the dental implant will look like a natural tooth. It will not only improve your smile, but it will also help you chew and speak normally. For patients who are missing multiple teeth, a dentist can place a bridge of artificial teeth over the implant.

Inlays and onlays are two types of indirect fillings that are typically done to fix molars with large amounts of decay that cannot be treated with standard fillings. These procedures can be done in a single visit and are often more affordable than crowns.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding involves fusing a tooth-colored composite resin material to the surface of a damaged, discolored or misshapen tooth. It is a non-invasive restorative treatment and typically requires only one appointment to complete. The dentist will use a shade guide to select the composite resin color that best matches your natural teeth. Once the bonding is applied, it can be molded and shaped to the desired aesthetic appearance.

During this procedure, a dentist will apply an etching solution to the surface of your tooth to roughen it and help it adhere to the composite resin. Next, the dentist will coat the tooth with a conditioning liquid primer to prepare it for bonding. Then, the dentist will apply the putty-like composite resin and mold it to your tooth. It will then harden with a laser or ultraviolet light. After the composite is dry, your dentist will polish it for a smooth finish and add any additional shaping.

Cosmetic dental bonding is a popular choice for patients who need to repair a chipped, broken or discolored tooth. It can also correct minor misalignments and fill in gaps. The process is quick, painless, and relatively inexpensive compared to other cosmetic dentistry procedures. Additionally, it is a great alternative to more invasive treatments like veneers or dental implants. When properly cared for, cosmetic dental bonding can last between five and ten years.

Dental Crowns

While dental crowns are often used for practical purposes, such as repairing a tooth that is damaged or reshaping a misshapen one, they can also be used for cosmetic reasons. These prosthetics are fabricated in the same way that they would be for a tooth with a problem, but they are typically made of a more natural-looking material, such as porcelain.

A dentist can use a crown to cover teeth that have become discolored, crooked or misshapen over time, such as the result of an injury or a bad habit like biting into ice or grinding ones teeth. The crown can cover the affected tooth, making it look pristine again and leaving the patient with a healthier looking smile.

Cosmetic crowns can also be used to repair a tooth that has become chipped or cracked, as well as cover a dental implant or fill in a gap between teeth. A cosmetic dentist will use a crown that is made of a material such as porcelain fused to glass-infiltrated alumina, which is both strong and natural-looking.

A cosmetic dental practice will usually have a porcelain lab that can fabricate these crowns for the patient in a same-day appointment, which is convenient for busy patients. Some people may refer to these caps as caps, but most modern dentists use the term “crowns.” These are not the same thing as a dental bridge, which is an entirely different procedure for replacing missing teeth.


Invisalign is a modern version of braces, designed to straighten teeth without the discomfort, restrictions, and limitations associated with traditional metal braces. Invisalign treatment typically consists of a set of clear aligners that gradually shift the position of your teeth, which can help resolve cosmetic issues like crooked teeth or gaps.

In addition to addressing cosmetic dental issues, Invisalign improves oral health. Straightened teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Invisalign can also make cosmetic procedures, such as veneers or dental bonding, more effective. Invisalign can often minimize the amount of enamel reduction needed for a successful fit, which helps preserve the healthy condition of your natural teeth.

Many general dentists offer Invisalign, although some may refer you to an orthodontist if they are unable to perform the procedure themselves. You can also find Invisalign treatments at some cosmetic dentistry practices, and many dental insurance providers provide coverage for this treatment as a part of their preventive care benefits, says Dr. Eckhardt.

Invisalign and cosmetic dentistry work hand-in-hand to deliver a complete smile transformation. Once your teeth are correctly aligned, you can address other aesthetic concerns with a variety of procedures, including teeth whitening, dental bonding, and porcelain veneers. Whether your goal is to close gaps, hide discoloration, or reshape your teeth, combining Invisalign with these cosmetic enhancements can give you a radiant smile that’s both healthy and beautiful.