Cosmetic refers mainly to procedures performed to enhance a person's appearance. Procedures used in cosmetic dentistry include the use of clear braces, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening procedures, and dental implants that are used to replace broken of missing teeth. People often choose to have a cosmetic procedure performed to correct specific abnormalities that detract from how their teeth and mouth look. Gaps in the teeth, small teeth, teeth that are irregularly shaped, and missing teeth are the most common reasons people look into cosmetic procedures.
The purpose of cosmetic dentistry is to improve the look of a person's teeth or overall structure of their mouth. Reconstructive procedures, on the other hand, are used to restore proper function and form to the mouth after an injury or severe illness. A good example of this is a person with a cleft palate. While cosmetic procedures are used to make the outer lip look more natural, reconstructive procedures are used to close the palate and make necessary changes in the mouth's overall structure.
There are many dental procedures that are cosmetic in nature. Veneers, crowns, and dental implants are extremely common and can dramatically change the outward appearance of a person's smile. Teeth whitening procedures are also very common and are performed in most dental offices. Patients can use home-based teeth whitening systems and toothpaste, or they can opt for a more professional option which produces longer lasting results. While dentures are not always considered to be a cosmetic device, they do enhance a person's appearance and can restore basic function.
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