July 23, 2017

At Cooley & Vick DDS, we get a lot of questions about cosmetic dentistry. What exactly does the field entail, and what does it mean for the average person? The list of unknowns can be daunting for those curious about the field. To help assuage some of this confusion, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked question along with our answers. Let’s get started, why don’t we?

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is an area of dentistry focused on making aesthetic improvements to the mouth, teeth, and gums. Teeth whitening procedures are the most common manifestation of our work, but we also use veneers and gum reshaping techniques to provide the best smiles possible.

Who performs cosmetic dentistry?

Many general dentists provide some cosmetic procedures, such as in-office teeth whitening procedures, but fewer practices offer as many options as Cooley & Vick, DDS. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry for yourself, it’s best to visit a practice specializing in the field to learn about the many treatment options available.

Why would I get cosmetic dentistry?

The techniques we use at Cooley & Vick, DDS are employed with one goal in mind: boosting the patient’s self-esteem. Yellowed, chipped, and otherwise unsatisfactory teeth can all be treated in one way or another.

Many people dismiss these issues as trivial, but unhappiness with your smile can impact your life in a substantial way. Maybe you don’t smile when you otherwise might, or maybe you’re a bit sheepish in group photos. Cosmetic dentistry can make these hang-ups a thing of the past, resulting in a smile you’ll be excited to show off.

How do teeth become discolored in the first place?

Discoloration is a natural part of the aging process, but there are many exterior forces that can accelerate the process. These include smoking, the consumption of dark drinks like coffee and tea, and even the use of some medications. Enamel wears down, leaving your teeth looking duller than before and opening the surface up to yellowing.

You might be surprised to learn that tooth discoloration can be genetic. Some people are simply born with less enamel, or enamel more prone to wear. Provided basic information about your diet, oral hygiene routine, and lifestyle, your dentist should be able to give you some idea whether your discoloration issues are genetic.

Is cosmetic dentistry right for me?

Only a dentist can tell you whether or not cosmetic treatment is right for you, but it’s very likely that at least one technique is appropriate. This all starts with the initial consultation, during which your dentist will perform a thorough examination and discuss your treatment goals with you. Deciding on the correct direction for treatment should come out of a continued dialogue between yourself and your dentist, as this is the best way to ensure a clear, comprehensive game plan. To get the results you want, you have to be on the same page with your dentist.

Are there any negative side effects associated with teeth whitening?

It’s possible to have an allergic reaction to some teeth whitening solutions, but those provided by our practice are extremely safe. Your dentist will advise you on which treatments are safe for you!

Mother And Daughter Brushing Teeth TogetherIs cosmetic dentistry ever appropriate for children?

There are quite a few reasons why a child or teenager would be interested in receiving cosmetic treatment for their teeth. Maybe it’s a chipped permanent tooth or severe discoloration caused by one factor or another. Our team has a huge amount of experience dealing with situations like these, and we always strive to provide the best solutions available for patients dealing with adolescence.

That said, many treatments can’t be applied on teeth that are still when the dental arch or jaw is still developing. Things are just changing too rapidly for some treatments to make a real impact–your doctor will be able to give you an accurate assessment.

What is a gummy smile?

One of the most misunderstood scenarios we treat is the gummy smile. This isn’t due to a specific disorder or condition but is simply the result of the patient’s genetic makeup. Some choose to have their gum line reduced or made more symmetrical for simply cosmetic reasons, and still, others find it physically uncomfortable.

Traditionally, gummy smiles are treated with a simple procedure using a small metal blade. At Cooley & Vick, we use a state-of-the art laser treatment that cauterizes the gum as it goes along. This means the patient will experience little to no bleeding after the procedure, as well as shorter healing times.

Is cosmetic dentistry covered by my insurance?

This depends on both your insurance plan and the procedure. Many procedures are substantially covered under many plans, while others are almost never. Once you’ve decided on a treatment along with your dentist, you’ll go over insurance coverage and payment plans in detail. At Cooley & Vick, DDS, we do whatever we can to make sure payments work for you, not against you. Everyone deserves to be proud of their smile!

How do I know if a cosmetic dentist is good or not?

If a cosmetic dentist does quality work, he or she won’t be afraid to show potential patients. Check the dentist’s website for a before-and-after gallery, or simply ask in person to see photos of results. If the doctor doesn’t seem too welcoming to the idea, it might be a good idea to consider treatment elsewhere.

To see the results we’ve provided, click here for our smile gallery!

How do I get started?

All dental care starts with an initial consultation. This allows us to get to know one another, as well as get the best picture possible about your dental needs. We’ll go over your dental records and perform the first exam. We offer a FREE cosmetic Consultation!

If you’re in the Memphis area, Cooley & Vick, DDS is a leading option for cosmetic dentistry. Give us a call at 901.754.3117 or visit our contact page here. We hope to show you around the office soon!

Staff photo