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What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Tooth model with braces

A smile is a universal means of communicating; one of the few expressions that shares the same meaning across all cultures. It’s one of the first things someone will notice about you and research shows your smile can even have an impact on your overall health and stress levels. In a survey conducted by Kelton Global for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, nearly half (48%) of adults believe that a smile is the most memorable feature after meeting someone for the first time. Your smile not only impacts someone’s perception of you but it also directly correlates to your self perception and level of confidence. A stunning smile makes you want to smile more often!

The powerful impact of a smile has been known from the beginning. Ancient cultures, such as the Mayans, would use their own methods of tooth enhancement such as teeth filing and sharpening. Cosmetic dentistry has always been around but has only recently evolved into its own field. 

What exactly is cosmetic dentistry? 

Wikipedia defines it perfectly as:

“A practice generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance (though not necessarily the functionality) of teeth, gums and/or bite. It primarily focuses on improvement in dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment and overall smile appearance.”

There is not a “one product fits all” in cosmetic dentistry and at Maestri Dental, we believe that the functional issues should also be addressed. Most cosmetic dentistry procedures are typically performed for aesthetic reasons, but our goal is to also implement restorative benefits as well. A beautiful smile is simply one of the benefits to a healthy one!

Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most practical and cost effective methods to improving your smile. Stains that accumulate on the outer surfaces of the tooth can usually be removed through basic in office cleanings and whitening services or through professional take home teeth whitening kits. If you are at least 16 years of age, in overall good health, and are not pregnant or nursing, you may be a good candidate for Opalescence Go Whitening take home treatments. Be cautious of over the counter teeth whitening treatments. To learn more about potential risks of teeth whitening products, check out our blog “Does Teeth Whitening Harm Teeth?”.

Bonding & Contouring

Bonding is an extremely conservative procedure that uses the same material used to fill cavities to correct flaws such as: stains that won’t correct with traditional teeth whitening, gaps, chipped teeth, misshapen or short teeth. Contouring is a process of refining the shape of teeth. It addresses issues like jagged edges, uneven lengths, overlapping, etc. Bonding and contouring are minimally invasive in office procedures that can refine imperfections and dramatically improve the quality of your smile.


Veneers refer to thin shells of durable, highly translucent dental porcelain that your dentist affixes to the front surface of your teeth. Veneers are incredibly strong, look exactly like natural tooth enamel, and can correct a number of imperfections. For information on the process and if you are a good veneer candidate, click here

Snap On Smiles

Snap on smiles is an alternative to porcelain veneers, removable partial dentures & dental implants and is a much more affordable option. They do not require the removal of any of your natural tooth enamel and correct a range of cosmetic imperfections such as: chipped, crooked or uneven teeth, gaps, stains, missing teeth, and more.


There is a variety or orthodontic options that include clear aligners, clear braces, standard braces and Invisalign. Which option is right for you is dependent upon several factors such as age, condition of teeth and often preference. Orthodontic services correct issues such as bite, spacing and alignment issues.

If you are interested in cosmetic dental services we would love the opportunity to discuss what options are right for you. Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri DDS, Lafayette’s premiere cosmetic dentist, utilizes safe, durable materials and partners with a trusted dental lab to ensure that no matter what procedure or treatment plan you need, you can feel confident that your smile will look great and perform optimally. 

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