What Is Cosmetic Dentistry? What Does It Include?

February 7, 2023

There are many different specialties within the dental field, including cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on the appearance of your mouth and smile. Take a closer look at what it is and what it includes.

Defining Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry works to improve the aesthetics and appearance of your smile. Some of the most common procedures included are dental bonding, teeth whitening, and veneers.

Cosmetic Dentistry Vs. General Dentistry

One of the best ways to understand cosmetic dentistry is by comparing it to general dentistry. General dentists offer preventative care and treatments. These include dentists like Dr. Dhiraj Sharma, who provide treatment and care through teeth cleanings, dental fillings, bridges, crowns, and more.

Importantly, most dental procedures that a general dentist performs will also improve the appearance of your teeth. The primary focus, however, is the health and overall function of your teeth. By contrast, the goal of cosmetic dentistry is the appearance of teeth.

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

The following procedures and treatments are common examples of cosmetic dentistry.

Teeth Whitening

Professional whitening is easily among the most common cosmetic dentistry treatments. Your dentist can whiten your teeth in the office or give you an at-home teeth-whitening kit. The in-office treatment tends to deliver the best results.


Dental crowns are sometimes considered part of cosmetic dentistry, although not always. These are dental caps that fit on top of a damaged or decayed tooth. They help protect the weakened tooth and also improve the appearance of your teeth.


Dental implants are another treatment that is sometimes considered cosmetic. Your dentist places implants to replace missing teeth. It’s a two-step process that starts with connecting a screw to your jaw to support the replacement tooth. Then, the implant is inserted.

Onlays and Inlays

These are indirect fillings created in a dental lab instead of molded in the dentist’s office. Your dentist bonds the fillings onto your teeth. It is considered an inlay if the material bonds with the center of your tooth and an onlay if it covers the biting surface or at least one tooth point. Onlays and inlays are alternatives to crowns.

Dental Bonding

Another common example of cosmetic dentistry is dental bonding. This is when your dentist applies tooth-colored composite resin to cover up hairline cracks, discoloration, cracks, and other minor cosmetic issues.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are made from medical-grade ceramic and thin shells that stick to the front of your teeth. They can conceal discoloration, cracks, chips, and more.

Gum Contouring

During this cosmetic treatment, your dentist removes any excess gum tissue. They also reshape your gumline to make it look more balanced and symmetrical.

Tooth Contouring

During this procedure, your dentist shapes your teeth by removing small quantities of enamel.


Cosmetic dentistry primarily focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth or smile. This contrasts with general dentistry, which may improve your smile but only as a secondary result of treatment. Most dentists will offer at least some cosmetic dentistry services, such as teeth whitening in Chicago. To learn more about our cosmetic dentistry in Lincoln Park and other nearby locations, contact us today.



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