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Cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a discipline within dentistry in which the primary focus is the modification of appearance of a patient's oral cavity and surrounding structures, in conjunction with the prevention and treatment of organic, structural, or functional oral disease. Through cosmetic dentistry, the appearance of the mouth can be altered to more closely match the patient's subjective concept of what is visually pleasing.


Today's common cosmetic dental treatment options include:

  • Whitening, or "tooth bleaching", is the most commonly prescribed cosmetic dental procedure. While many whitening options are now available, dentist-supervised treatments remain the recommended procedures for lightening discolored teeth.
  • Enamel shaping removes parts of the contouring enamel to improve the appearance of the tooth.[1] It may be used to correct a very small chip. The removed enamel is irreplaceable, and may sometimes expose dentin. It is also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, recontouring, reshaping, slenderizing, and stripping.
  • Bonding is an option for chipped or cracked teeth. It is a process in which an enamel-like dental composite material is applied to a tooth's surface, sculpted into shape, hardened, and then polished.
  • Veneers, ultra-thin, custom-made laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth, are an increasingly popular procedure. They are an option for closing gaps or disguising discolored teeth that did not respond well to whitening procedures.


In the past, dental fillings and other tooth restorations were made of gold, amalgam and other metals -- some of which were veneered with porcelain. Now, dental work can be made entirely of porcelain or composite materials that more closely mimic the appearance of natural tooth structure. These tooth colored materials are bonded to the underlying tooth structure with resin adhesives. Unlike silver fillings (amalgams) they are entirely free of mercury. Many dentists offer procedures to be cosmetic and because their patients prefer natural looking teeth.


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    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cosmetic_dentistry". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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