With the introduction of quality materials and less invasive procedures, consumer and professional interest in cosmetic dental treatments has been increasing. However, cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized field of specialty since by definition, it only pertains to work related to improving the appearance (and not necessarily the functionality) of teeth and gums.
This definition can be challenged though; since dental implants and tooth restoration with non-mercury fillings help improve the functionality and look of teeth and gums. The desire to achieve that perfect Hollywood smile seems shallow but aside from aesthetics, cosmetic dentistry offer other benefits.
Skewed teeth for instance can cause chronic headaches or chewing problems and cracked teeth can lead to gum disease. Cosmetic dentistry can also help expand the patient be more responsible when it comes to dental care.
Currently, there are several cosmetic dental treatments available. From teeth whitening to veneers to implants to onlays/inlays and composite bonding. Technological advances continue to develop and advance methods, consequently minimizing pain and treatment period.
Yet, only a number of patients avail of cosmetic treatments. According to a US study, the lack of consumer education plus its prohibitive cost intimidate patients from taking advantage - let alone inquiring - about such procedures.
In due time, with increasing awareness, demand, and technological advancements, cosmetic dentistry may finally reach its full bloom.