What is it?
Cosmetic dentistry differs from what some may consider “normal” dental work in that it is solely to improve the look of a persons teeth instead of the functionality. Normally, a cosmetic dentist will focus on improving the color, alignment, shape, and overall appearance of a patients teeth with the focal point of interest being the smile.
There has been some controversy surrounding the practice of Cosmetic Dentistry recently however, in that many dentists identify as “cosmetic dentists” regardless of what type of dental training they have. Of course this is to lure in clients, and is considered unethical by many in the industry.
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
In terms of legitimate cosmetic dental practices, there are two types that are recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).
The first is the practice of Prosthodontics which is defined by the ADA as: “the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.”
The second is a more widely known practice called Orthodontics, which deals with poor formations in the teeth and bite of a patient. Many school-aged children have gone to Orthodontists in their lifetime and received braces to correct their teeth, but few would know that the practice actually falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry.
Effect on Self Confidence
The effect on a person after they have undergone successful cosmetic dentistry can actually be quite astounding, especially for high school aged kids. For those who have braces in high school, it can be a very hard time. The stigma associated with braces has lived in the halls of lower education institutions for years. Because of this, it is not unlikely that many kids with braces will face some level of bullying from their peers (or at least this was the case when I went to school). However, a persons smile is something that many consider to be the first thing they notice and when braces come off, the smile is definitely rejuvenated. This can have a profound effect on an individuals self esteem, in a very good way.