Cosmetic Dentistry Vs. General Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is no longer just for celebrities or the wealthy.  It is becoming increasingly accessible to the general public, with many affordable treatments available. Some of these treatments are relatively simple to perform, while others are much more complex and can take multiple visits to complete.

So how do you tell the difference between cosmetic procedures and general dentistry? And which type of dentist should you turn to for your treatment?

Cosmetic Dentistry: What Is It?

Cosmetic dentistry involves procedures that enhance or reshape your teeth in order to improve the appearance of your smile. This may involve anything from teeth whitening and bleaching to full-on orthodontic work. Many general practices offer some cosmetic options, but they often don’t have the expertise for more complex procedures like porcelain veneers.

While a general dentist or family dentist is a must when it comes to teeth cleanings, regular dental checkups, and maintaining good oral hygiene and oral health, there are some things that are better done through a cosmetic dentist versus general dentists.

Cosmetic dentists go through additional training to be able to elevate your smile to the next level. Cosmetic dentistry actually covers a large array of procedures. Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures include bleaching and bonding. Both of these treatments can be done in a single visit to give you a brighter, whiter smile for years to come.

Your smile is often the first thing people notice when they meet you. If you’re not confident in your smile, it shows. This is why cosmetic dentistry is so important. It allows you to feel more comfortable in your own skin. There’s no shame in seeking out cosmetic dental treatments to feel better about your smile. Think about how much money people spend on clothes, accessories, and hair? All these things help people feel more confident and an improved smile can give you a great confidence boost.

It’s important to understand the different cosmetic dentistry procedures and how they can help improve your smile. Each cosmetic procedure is different, and your cosmetic dentist may have different recommendations depending on what you’re looking for. These are the most common procedures available through a cosmetic dentist.

Teeth Whitening and Bleaching

Teeth whitening is one of the most common procedures for those who want to change the color of their smile. Your cosmetic dentist will first clean your teeth to make sure they are free from buildup before administering a bleaching agent that will lighten them over several weeks. The results start off subtle, but it’s possible to get the teeth up to eight shades lighter. These treatments can be done in an hour or less and the results of teeth whitening are immediate, which is why it’s one of the most popular cosmetic procedures.

There are several choices for bleaching that can help you achieve whiter teeth. It’s usually best to consult with your dentist about which method is ideal and risk-free for your particular circumstances before beginning treatment.

Tooth Contouring

Cosmetic dentistry is all about improving the appearance of your smile, which typically entails enhancing the teeth you have. They may require some shaping help at times, particularly if they were cracked, chipped, or fractured in the past. Contouring or reshaping of the tooth can make it look straighter, remove the uneven texture or line left from a break, or make a crooked tooth appear straight. If you’re in need of a little boost, this technique is an option.

Some people find that their teeth aren’t straight enough to give them a bright, white smile. Others may have misaligned teeth from wearing braces too early in life or even from an injury that was never properly repaired. A cosmetic dentist can reshape the enamel of your teeth without drilling and filling.

This procedure can be done in a single visit and it’s possible to see results in just one sitting. This process is perfect for those who have busy schedules and don’t want to take multiple days off to see an improvement.


Teeth bonding is another treatment that is minimally invasive and enhances your smile. Bonding can fix chips or cracks in the teeth, make minor alignment corrections, cover spaces between teeth, and change the color of them. It’s a multi-purpose process too because you can correct multiple issues with one visit to your cosmetic dentist.

Bonding is made up of tooth-colored materials that are applied with a special adhesive. Your cosmetic dentist must sand down the surface of your teeth to make sure they are flat enough for the material to adhere to before applying bonding. It takes about 30 minutes per tooth and once it’s set, you can enjoy your improved smile immediately.

You can either cover the whole surface of your tooth in bonding or just fill in areas that would otherwise require a metal cavity replacement. If your smile has become somewhat damaged by tiny amounts of decay, you may utilize bonding to improve it.


Veneers are a thin shell of porcelain that usually fits over the front side of the tooth. It’s extremely thin and perfectly custom-made to fit your mouth. Your cosmetic dentist will take an impression of your teeth so they can craft a veneer for you. This typically requires two dental visits and sometimes your cosmetic dentist will also schedule a follow-up to ensure everything fits well. Veneers are great because they help keep the healthy and natural appearance of your teeth while also protecting them from becoming discolored or broken.


Crowns are an option if you want to replace a cracked or broken tooth, improve the appearance of your smile, or cover up an older filling. Your cosmetic dentist will take an impression of your gum line so that they can properly craft the crown. This is one of the most challenging procedures in cosmetic dentistry because it typically requires two dental visits, but the results are stunning.

Crowns will protect your teeth from breaking, they’ll give you a beautiful smile, and they can be customized to match your bite perfectly. Crowns were originally used for extremely damaged teeth, but they have evolved into one of the most popular cosmetic procedures today because of how effective they are at restoring teeth without compromising their natural appearance.

It is important to note that with a crown, the tooth must be ground down somewhat in order for the crown to fit properly.

If you’re searching for incredible cosmetic dentists then reach out to the team at Lee Family Dentistry by calling 301-662-0300 for a consultation.

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