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The Ultimate Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is a branch of dentistry that focuses on improving the aesthetics or appearance of teeth. Common cosmetic dentistry services include teeth whitening, dentures, and Invisalign.

Cosmetic dentistry is a good option for anyone that is self-conscious about their smile. Dental offices that offer cosmetic dentistry typically have various treatment plans to accommodate anything from a small fix to a complete smile transformation. That being said, cosmetic dentistry treatments typically cater to those with the following conditions:

  • Tooth discoloration
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowding teeth

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure for individuals who have discolored teeth. Discolored teeth can be brightened quickly with a one-time, in-office procedure. Professional whitening is much more accommodating than the lengthy process of over-the-counter teeth whitening products.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Numerous factors contribute to tooth discoloration. Poor hygiene, lifestyle choices, and aging all impact the color of your teeth. Some lifestyle factors that cause your teeth to discolor include:

  • Frequent consumption of pigmented drinks such as coffee, tea, soda, and wine.
  • Frequent consumption of sugary and starchy foods.
  • Tobacco consumption, both chewing and smoking.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Certain medications and medical treatments.
  • Excessive consumption of fluoride.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Professional teeth whitening is the simplest, quickest, and most effective way to treat tooth discoloration. While over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are readily available, they take longer, may damage your gums, and do not achieve the same results.

The dentist will apply a bleaching product to your target teeth and then use a light or laser to activate the whitening product. Once the whitening product is activated, you will need to sit and let the product work on your teeth, typically for about an hour. In-office teeth whitening treatments should provide gum protection, high levels of hydrogen peroxide, and immediate results.


Dentures are a cosmetic dentistry treatment for individuals with missing teeth. Dentures come in partial and full sets, depending on the number of teeth missing. While dentures offer the aesthetic benefit of having a complete smile, they also provide greater comfort while eating and talking and are shown to increase self-confidence.

What Causes Missing Teeth?

Numerous factors can lead to missing teeth or teeth that need to be removed. Poor hygiene, lifestyle choices, and aging all impact the health of your gums and teeth. The following causes are some of the most common reasons for missing teeth:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Trauma or injury
  • Medical conditions

How Are Dentures Fitted?

After a dental exam to determine which tooth or teeth a denture is needed for, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth by placing a putty-like substance onto your jaw. The impression of your teeth will act as the guidelines for making your dentures. After the impression is taken, you will likely need to schedule a second, later appointment to be fitted with dentures. Sometimes two fittings are required to ensure that the dentures fit well and are comfortable to wear.


Invisalign is a popular option to straighten crooked teeth. Invisalign is sought out as a more aesthetic option to the metal wires and brackets that come with braces. Invisalign clear aligners are made of clear BPA-free plastic that is hardly noticeable to others.

What Causes Crooked Teeth?

Numerous factors contribute to crooked teeth, with genetics being the primary factor. Additional factors that may lead to crooked teeth include:

  • Prolonged childhood habits such as thumb-sucking, bottle feeding, and pacifier use beyond three years of age can lead to crooked teeth.
  • Poor oral hygiene that results in tooth loss can cause misalignment of remaining teeth.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign utilizes a series of trays to gradually shift your teeth into the correct alignment. Your dentist will take scans of your teeth to create the custom trays, and you will have to wear them at least 22 hours per day throughout the course of your treatment. Invisalign trays need to be worn as much as possible to ensure that you get the fastest, best results.

Dentistry that Makes You Smile

Start your journey to a smile you love at Boise River Dental! Patient focus is truly at the root of our services and our team will work hard to meet your dental goals and needs.

Contact us online or call (208) 400-5203 to learn more or to schedule a complimentary consultation with our dentist in Boise, ID.