Cosmetic dentists specialize in improving the health and appearance of the teeth, gums and mouth of patients, explains Study.com. They perform corrective procedures and educate patients on proper mouth care. General dental practitioners sometimes offer select cosmetic dentistry services, but cosmetic dentists focus on elective, aesthetic dentistry, which encompasses filling replacement, porcelain laminate placement, bonding and bleaching.
Cosmetic dentists perform teeth whitening, which lightens the color of blemished teeth. They can perform the procedure in their offices or recommend a whitening kit that patients can use at home, reports Everyday Health. When it comes to damaged or chipped teeth, dentists give patients a perfect smile by attaching tooth-colored materials to the affected surfaces.
Cosmetic dentists sometimes use veneers, which are extremely thin, personalized porcelain shells, to mask discolored teeth, states Everyday Health. Tooth reshaping involves the modification or removal of enamel to improve the shape of teeth, while crown lengthening removes extra gum tissue to make the teeth appear longer.
When choosing a cosmetic dentist, patients should check if a prospective dentist is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which requires dentists to master cosmetic dentistry procedures and pass an exam to become members, notes Everyday Health. It is also important to view pictures of dental patients before and after they were treated and request patient references and documents proving the dentist's completion of continuing education.