Cosmetic dental procedures are unique in that they focus on improving the aesthetics of the smile. All other dental procedures are designed to promote, maintain, or restore oral health. Some procedures have dual purposes, such as dental implants. They serve to restore the shape and function of the teeth but also improve the appearance of the smile.
Most cosmetic procedures are elective, which means they are desired by the patient and not necessary for proper oral health. Due to that fact, procedures are not covered by dental insurance policies. There are some dental plans that can be purchased that include discounts on cosmetic procedures, but the majority of costs will come out of the pockets of patients. Some dentists allow payment arrangements to be made prior to a procedure, and financing may be available.
Cosmetic procedures do not come cheap, so consider the costs before scheduling procedures. Professional whitening at a dentist office will cost several hundred dollars. Whitening kits sold over-the-counter (OTC), cost between ten and one-hundred dollars. There are significant differences in the results, but give that a try first to determine if professional whitening is even necessary.
Some procedures are well worth the costs if they can mean career advancement opportunities or a significant boost in self-esteem. The decision is up to the individual, of course, but a consultation may help identify lower-cost procedures that may have equivalent results. It is also possible to have some procedures completed at the office of a general dentist.
People prepared to spend the money on cosmetic procedures will want to discuss and compare the differences of some materials. Veneers, for example, can be made of composite materials or porcelain. The composite ones are much lower in cost per tooth but have a life expectancy of five to seven years. Porcelain veneers are expensive but will last for ten to fifteen years.
Advances in technology have created viable alternatives to some procedures that are less labor and time intensive and more convenient. Implants take two or three appointments and several months from beginning to completion. Mini implants to secure dentures require no drilling, are less expensive, and can be done in one visit. People interested in cosmetic procedures can read more here.