While traditional dentistry focuses on oral hygiene and preventing, diagnosing and treating oral disease, cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of a person's teeth, mouth and smile. In other words restorative, general and/or family dental practices address dental problems that require necessary treatment, whereas cosmetic dentistry provides elective – or desired – treatments or services.
Cosmetic dentistry may also provide restorative benefits. For example, dental fillings are a common procedure used to treat decayed teeth. Previously, most dental fillings were composed primarily of gold, amalgam and other materials that left visible dark spots on the teeth.
Today, dental fillings may fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, because you can select fillings made of porcelain or composite materials that closely match the color of your teeth, thus maintaining the natural appearance of your teeth and smile. Many people may choose to have their older fillings replaced with newer, tooth-colored fillings to enhance their oral appearance.
Cosmetic Dentistry Trends
Technological advancements in natural-looking, tooth-colored dental materials make today's cosmetic dental treatments more durable and predictable than in years past. Additionally, dentists are now using more conservative cosmetic dentistry techniques to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible, depending upon your specific clinical situation.
Cosmetic dentists may also use such technologies as lasers in order to perform some procedures necessary for cosmetic treatments in their own offices – without the need for referrals to specialists. This makes cosmetic dental procedures such as smile makeovers more comfortable and convenient for patients, as well as helps to reduce recovery time.