FAQs about Cosmetic Dentistry
What is cosmetic dentistry, and how is it different from general dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry combines both art and science to give you a healthy, aesthetic, flawless smile. While general dentistry is aimed at maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, cosmetic dentistry provides comprehensive treatment options that improve and preserve the way your smile looks and feels.
Common cosmetic treatments include:
- Teeth whitening
- Contouring/tooth reshaping
- Dental implants
- Tooth-colored fillings
- Smile makeovers
Why should I see a cosmetic dentist?
A cosmetic dentist is trained to safely and effectively provide a variety of treatments that are designed to enhance your smile. If you have missing teeth, you feel that your teeth are crooked, or you're an adult looking for an alternative to braces, a cosmetic dentist can help you achieve the beautiful smile you've always wanted.
How long will each cosmetic treatment take?
Just as every smile we treat is unique, so are the treatments we provide. While cosmetic treatment times may vary, some treatments are completed within one office visit.
Will my insurance cover cosmetic dental care?
Insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses for cosmetic treatment vary. Our practice will work with you to provide several different treatment options, and we will coordinate with your insurance provider, if coverage is available. You will know all of your treatment costs up-front so that you can choose the best payment plan for your needs and your budget.
Am I a good candidate for teeth whitening?
Patients who experience the most benefit from having their teeth whitened:
- Are in good dental health
- Maintain good dental health (i.e. brush three times a day, floss, receive regular dental checkups every six months, etc.)
- May suffer from slightly discolored or yellow teeth
- Wish to improve the look of their smile for aesthetic purposes
- Are in good physical health
Are there any side effects with teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a safe, effective procedure, and does not typically include any negative side effects. Minor side effects may consist of:
- Increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
- White spots on the surface of the teeth (a potential side effect of at-home whitening systems)
- Nighttime whitening trays may cause additional gum sensitivity or irritation.
What are porcelain veneers?
Veneers are natural looking ultra-thin shells made of ceramic material that are bonded to the front teeth to mask discolorations, brighten teeth, or close gaps to improve a smile. Veneers are excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size, or shape.
This treatment takes two visits; the first is to remove surface discoloration or reshape tooth and fabrication of temporary veneers then the second visit is to bond the porcelain veneers to the teeth with special adhesive cement under high intensity light.
Patients with diastema (gaps) or teeth that are chipped or discolored (tetracycline staining or hyper-fluorosis) may consider veneers as a treatment option to greatly enhance their smile and heighten self-esteem. Ask Dr. Alem if veneers are the right choice for you.
Call 206-629-5461 to schedule a complimentary cosmetic consultation.