A cosmetic dentist is a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dental procedures which are designed to improve the appearance of a patient's smile. Cosmetic dentistry was not a recognized dental specialty as of 2009, making it somewhat difficult to define it, but as a general rule, a cosmetic dentist has qualified as a dentist and has received additional training in procedures which will make smiles more beautiful. Some cosmetic dentists belong to professional organizations which promote high standards within the field of cosmetic dentistry, and these practitioners are often the best choice for patients who are seeking a cosmetic dentist.
Like other members of the dental profession, cosmetic dentists are concerned with overall oral health, but their specific area of interest is dental aesthetics. A cosmetic dentist can perform procedures like teeth whitening, color matching for fillings, chip repairs, veneers, dental implants, and the installation of invisible braces which will provide correction without being obvious. These procedures are not generally medically necessary, but they improve self-confidence for patients and make them feel more comfortable with their smiles.
Instead of simply performing maintenance and repair on the teeth, a cosmetic dentist actually designs a smile, working with the patient to achieve a desired look and feel. Regular dental services are still important, as teeth will not look flawless if they are not healthy, but the outcome of cosmetic procedures is more patient-oriented than health-oriented. Some cosmetic dentists offer both general and cosmetic services, while others may prefer to focus on working as a cosmetic dentist exclusively, although they can work with general dentists to coordinate things like color matched fillings or the installation of dental bridges.
Costs for visits to a cosmetic dentist vary widely, depending on area, the dentist's experience, and the type of procedures performed. These visits may not be covered by insurance plans, and patients may want to do some research if they would like cosmetic dental work to be covered by insurance. Insurance companies may steer patients to particular providers, or have lists of allowable procedures, and patients can take this information into account when selecting a care provider.
For people in professions in which personal image is very important, seeing a cosmetic dentist can be critical to personal advancement. Public relations professionals, actors, models, and other people who have prominent public profiles may find that cosmetic dentistry improves their work prospects, and bolsters personal performance by supporting self-confidence.