Cosmetic dentistry lets you put on a happy face

Posted on January 18th, 2010 by Michelle

Cosmetic dentistry has been on the rise throughout the decade, with part of the reason being the popularity of teeth whitening services. But cosmetic dentistry is about more than just brighter biters. According to dentist Dr. David Hall, the somewhat longwinded DDS that is behind the website, the difference between a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist is art. “General dentists are trained to fix things,” writes Dr. Hall. “Cosmetic dentists are trained to create things.”  He says that less than 1 percent of dentists are accredited as cosmetic dentists.

So what is this art of which he speaks?  According to, procedures include:

  • Inlays/onlays: a different way of addressing a filling or structural damage. A “filling” is designed in a lab then bonded over the problem area. Benefits of inlays/onlays according to is eliminating sensitivity and eventual tooth loss; made-to-match teeth –  inlays are practically invisible; they won’t expand or contract with extreme temperature changes like metal fillings can; they are long-lasting and because they are bonded on, can strengthen teeth. The price range is $625-$1,200 per inlay/onlay.
  • Composite bonding: “A dental composite material with the look of enamel and dentin is applied into the cavity or onto the surface of a tooth, where it is then sculpted into shape, contoured and hardened with a high-intensity light,” according to and the cost range is $300-$1,600 depending on the tooth, the dentist’s skill and the region of the country.
  • Veneers:  Made popular by celebrities, veneers are basically composite or porcelain slipcovers that are bonded over problem teeth to cover chips, cracks and/or discoloration. According to, the cost per veneer can be anywhere from $975-$2,200.
  • Braces:  Invisalign and clear braces have boosted the popularity of adult orthodontics without the worry of being called metal mouth. Invisalign can range from $5,000-$7,700 for the complete treatment.
  • Dental implants: The replacement of missing or damaged teeth which involves surgery to place the post for the prosthetic tooth in the jawbone. The complete procedure takes several visits. The cost of the surgery can range from $1,000-$2,5000 per implant (if no  bone grafting or special procedures are required), with a similar cost for the implant itself.

Some procedures, such as orthodontics and fixing chipped or broken teeth are often covered or more likely, partially reimbursed, by dental insurance.  But individuals should check their personal policies or with their dentists.

Of course, putting your bling in your mouth — getting a gold tooth, like Flavor Flav has or Johnny Depp did to play Captain Jack Sparrow; and the growing diamond implant trend in India and the U.K. – are also considered cosmetic dentistry. Finding a dentist to do them is another story all together.

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.