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We’re Setting the Record Straight on Cosmetic Dentistry

Major technological and material advances have led to highly successful and predictable outcomes for patients undergoing cosmetic dentistry procedures. Despite these advances, some patients remain reluctant to move forward with treatment, either due to legitimate concerns or dental myths from an earlier era.

Here are three common concerns and questions patients have when deciding about cosmetic dentistry:

1. “Is the dentist going to drill my teeth down to little pegs?”

Minimally invasive dentistry is the goal when treating any patient. For cosmetic dentistry, the concept of responsible esthetics, coined by American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) past president Michael Sesemann, means we are trying to achieve the esthetic desires of our patients while preserving as much healthy tooth structure as possible. Composite bonding and new ceramic technologies allow us to alter the shade and shape of teeth with little to no preparation (drilling) of the teeth. Another game changer has been the understanding and implementation of orthodontics prior to popular procedures, like porcelain veneers, to further ensure conservative treatment. 

2. “I’m worried my teeth are going to look fake!”

Creating beautiful and natural looking smiles is the ideal in our industry. Learning and applying the principles of smile design is critical for dentists in delivering teeth with appropriate proportions and shades that blend harmoniously with the face and lips. Digital technologies to create blueprints and design simulations allow us to work together with the patient in developing a customized experience for each case. Cosmetic dentists have training that allows them to move from digital design to a provisional “trial smile,” ensuring the patient will be happy with their final restorations.

3. “How do I know who I can trust to give me the results I am looking for?”

Information and marketing overload can sometimes make it difficult to select the right provider for your needs. Many dentists advertise “cosmetic dentistry” in their marketing, and while there currently isn’t a recognized specialty for cosmetic dentistry, there are ways to help you decide:

  • Choose a dentist who is Accredited through the AACD. The AACD offers members ongoing continuing education and a rigorous credentialing process, and AACD-accredited member dentists are dedicated to ensuring excellence in cosmetic dentistry.
  • Get a referral from friends or family that have had cosmetic work that looks and feels great. This has been the traditional route for many patients and is still a good way to select your providers.
  • Do your research. Dentists who focus on cosmetic dentistry will have high-quality before and after images of cases they have completed. These can be viewed on their website or shown to you at a consultation. More information about cosmetic dentistry and choosing the right provider can be found at

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