Are you unhappy with your smile? If so, cosmetic dentistry is your ideal solution. The branch of dentistry could help improve your oral health and treat sensitive teeth while making your teeth look better. Cosmetic dentistry generally involves any dental work that improves the appearance of teeth, gums, or bites.

It primarily focuses on improvements in dental aesthetics such as color, position, shape, size, alignment, and overall smile appearance. So to enhance your smile's appearance, you should visit a cosmetic dentist.

At Washington Dental, we offer quality services to improve oral health and treat sensitive teeth while making teeth look better. Our experienced dentists use state-of-the-art technology to provide you with the best possible care. Please call us to schedule an appointment if you seek cosmetic dental services in Lomita.

What Does Cosmetic Dentistry Mean

Cosmetic dentistry generally refers to any dental work that improves the appearance of teeth, gums, or bites. It primarily focuses on improvements in dental aesthetics in color, position, shape, size, alignment, and overall smile appearance.

The Difference Between Cosmetic Dentistry and General Dentistry

The main difference between cosmetic and general dentistry is the focus of each treatment. Cosmetic dentists focus on improving your smile’s aesthetic appearance, while general dentists focus on preventing and treating oral health problems like cavities and gum disease.

For example:

  1. If you have a cavity, a general dentist will treat it by removing the decayed portion of your tooth and filling it with a material such as an amalgam or composite resin.
  2. If you want to improve your teeth' appearance, a cosmetic dentist can help you by offering treatments such as teeth whitening, veneers, or dental implants.

Who Benefits from Cosmetic Dentistry?

From whitening treatments to porcelain veneers, cosmetic dentistry can be tailored to the needs of individuals, depending on their desired outcome. Below are people who may benefit from cosmetic dentistry:

  • People with stained or discolored teeth.
  • Those with chipped or cracked teeth.
  • Patients with gaps between their teeth.
  • People with misaligned teeth.
  • If you have missing teeth.
  • People with uneven gums.
  • Persons with worn-down teeth.
  • People with old dental work that needs to be replaced.
  • People who want to improve their self-confidence.
  • Those who want to look younger.

Can Anyone Undergo Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments?

Any person can undergo cosmetic dentistry treatments. However, some treatments may not suit everyone. For example, you cannot undergo cosmetic procedures like veneers if you have extensive cavities or gum disease. So you want to consult a cosmetic dentist to determine which treatments are right for you.

Examples of Procedures Under Cosmetic Dentistry

Some examples of cosmetic dentistry procedures include:

Cosmetic Dental Veneers

Cosmetic dental veneers are thin shells fixed to the surfaces of your front teeth to enhance your appearance. These tooth-colored veneers can treat cosmetic issues like chipped, discolored, broken, or smaller teeth. Also, veneers are made from resin-composite materials or porcelain and are permanently bonded to your teeth.

Cosmetic Tooth Contouring

Cosmetic tooth contouring, also known as "tooth reshaping," is a dental procedure involving the removal of small bits of enamel to improve the appearance of teeth. It is a simple, cost-effective way to fix minor cosmetic issues like chipped, overlapping, or irregularly shaped teeth.

During the procedure, your dentist will use a drill or laser to remove small amounts of enamel from the affected tooth. This will help to smooth out any rough or jagged edges, reshape the tooth, or reduce its size. The process is painless and usually only takes a few minutes per tooth.

Tooth contouring can be completed in a single visit to the dentist. It is also a minimally invasive procedure requiring no anesthesia or recovery time. After the procedure, your teeth may be slightly sensitive for a few days, but this should quickly subside.

Cosmetic tooth contouring is best suited for minor cosmetic issues. Your dentist may recommend other treatments like dental crowns or veneers if you have more extensive problems like significant damage or decay. Discussing your options with your dentist to determine the ideal solution for your needs is important.

Cosmetic Gum Contouring

Gum contouring is a cosmetic procedure that improves the look of your gummy smile. Gum contouring is often an elective dental procedure, meaning you do not need to treat it. Instead, the procedure improves the teeth, gums, or smile. However, your dentist could recommend gum contouring to improve your oral health.

The procedure is done in a dentist's or periodontist’s office under local anesthesia and typically takes place in one visit. It can be performed using traditional surgical methods or more advanced, less invasive methods using lasers or pinhole techniques.

Reshaping or resculpting your gum line helps to reveal more of your teeth, create a more balanced gum line, and enhance the overall appearance of your smile. Your dentist cuts away or removes excess gum tissue around your teeth.

Cosmetic Dental Bonding

Cosmetic dental bonding involves using a tooth-colored composite resin to correct your smile. Dental bonding closes gaps, repairs chips, or changes a tooth's shape and color. This procedure is reversible, unlike other cosmetic dental treatments, for example, porcelain veneers.

When performing the procedure, the dental expert applies tooth-colored resin material to the affected teeth to change their size, shape, or color. Dental bonding is minimally invasive and can be completed quickly and easily. It is also more affordable than cosmetic dental procedures like veneers or crowns. Cosmetic dental bonding is a great option for individuals with minor cosmetic teeth issues.

However, the resin material is not as strong as your natural teeth or other dental restorations. Therefore, you do not want to chew on hard objects like ice or use your teeth to open packages to prevent damage to the bonded material.

Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

Cosmetic teeth whitening involves various procedures to make natural teeth look whiter. Teeth whitening methods include bleaching, sanding down stains, or ultraviolet (UV) light therapy. Some teeth-whitening methods have side effects, such as irritation and sensitivity of the gums.

Choosing a whitening method that removes tough stains is important. If you have intrinsic and extrinsic stains, you want to choose a whitening method that is safe for each type. If you still have trouble determining which stain you have, contact your dentist.

Cosmetic Dental Crowns

Dental experts say dental crowns are caps placed on top of damaged teeth. Crowns are used to protect, cover, and restore the shape of your teeth when fillings do not solve the problem. Dental crowns can be made from metals, porcelain, resin, or ceramics. Crowns typically do not require special care over time other than regular, good oral hygiene.

You may want a dental crown fixed for several reasons, including:

  • Restoring a broken tooth.
  • Covering and supporting a tooth with a filling without much tooth remaining.
  • Holding a dental bridge in place, covering severely discolored teeth or misshapen.
  • Covering a dental implant.
  • Protecting a weak tooth from cracking or keeping it together if some parts are cracked.
  • Covering a tooth after a root canal procedure.

Typically, having a dental crown fixed involves two visits to the cosmetic dentist. During the first visit, your tooth is prepared by having a small amount of its outer layer removed to make room for the crown. An impression of the tooth is then taken, which is used to create a custom crown similar to the color, size, and shape of your natural teeth. A temporary crown is placed over the tooth while the permanent crown is made.

During the second visit, the temporary crown is removed, and the permanent crown is cemented using a strong dental adhesive. The dentist will ensure the crown fits properly and feels comfortable before permanently bonding it to the tooth.

Cosmetic dental crowns can last many years with proper care, including regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups. They can help improve the appearance and function of a damaged tooth, restoring your smile and confidence. If you are interested in cosmetic dental crowns, talk to your dentist to see if they are the right option.

Enamel Abrasion

Enamel abrasion is a term in cosmetic dentistry that refers to removing enamel from the teeth to improve discoloration or staining that is only present on the outer layer. It is a conservative way to remove years of built-up stains that may not respond well to teeth-whitening agents.

Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth that protects it from damage and decay. Over time, enamel can become discolored or stained, making teeth look yellow or dull. Enamel abrasion can help remove these stains and restore the natural whiteness of teeth.

The process of enamel abrasion typically involves using a particular instrument to gently remove a small amount of enamel from the tooth's surface. This is done carefully to avoid damaging the tooth or causing sensitivity. Enamel abrasion is a safe and effective procedure that a trained dental professional performs.

Enamel abrasion can be used to remove a variety of stains and discolorations from teeth, including those caused by:

  • Smoking.
  • Drinking coffee, tea, or red wine.
  • Eating dark-colored foods, such as berries or soy sauce.
  • Poor dental hygiene.
  • Aging.

Enamel abrasion can also smooth out the rough or jagged edges of teeth, creating a more polished and uniform appearance.

After the enamel abrasion procedure, you want to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent further staining or damage to the teeth. Your dentist may also recommend a teeth-whitening treatment or other cosmetic dental procedure to enhance the results of enamel abrasion.

Enamel Shaping

According to Implant & Periodontic Specialists, enamel shaping is a non-surgical dental procedure to improve teeth' appearance. Also known as "enamel contouring" or "reshaping," this process involves your dentist physically shaping your natural teeth enamel to correct overlapped or uneven teeth.

Enamel shaping is a quick and easy procedure that doesn’t involve surgery. You can do it at your local dentist’s office without an anesthetic. Since the process resembles your run-of-the-mill tooth cleaning, enamel shaping can also help reduce plaque buildup. That makes it a fantastic way to keep your teeth beautiful and healthy.

The dentist will shape and smooth the enamel to create a more balanced and symmetrical appearance. Enamel shaping is a painless procedure that can be completed in one office visit.

Enamel shaping can be used to address a variety of cosmetic dental issues, including:

  • Uneven or jagged teeth.
  • Minor chips or cracks in teeth.
  • Overlapping or crowded teeth.
  • Pointed or excessively long teeth.
  • Teeth that are slightly out of alignment.
  • Rough or uneven tooth edges.
  • Small gaps between teeth.

Enamel shaping is a minimally invasive procedure that can produce immediate results with little to no recovery time. It is a safe and effective option for people who want to improve the appearance of their teeth without undergoing more extensive dental work.

After enamel shaping, it's essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to keep teeth healthy and prevent further damage. Your dentist may also recommend other cosmetic dental procedures, such as teeth whitening or dental bonding, to further enhance the results of enamel shaping.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are dental restorations that are used to repair teeth that have been damaged by decay or trauma. They are also used to replace old or worn-out fillings. Inlays and onlays are often made of porcelain or composite resin and are custom-made to fit perfectly into the tooth cavity.

An inlay is a type of restoration used to repair a cavity that is too large for a filling but not large enough for a crown. Inlays are typically used to repair cavities in the molars or premolars. Having an inlay involves removing the decayed or damaged portion of the tooth and creating an impression of the cavity. The impression is then sent to a dental lab, where the inlay is fabricated. Once the inlay is ready, it is bonded with a special dental adhesive.

Onlays, on the other hand, are used to repair larger cavities or teeth that have been damaged by trauma. An onlay covers the entire biting surface of the tooth and extends down the sides to provide additional support. Like inlays, onlays are custom-made to fit perfectly into the prepared cavity.

Both inlays and onlays offer several advantages over traditional fillings. They are more durable and can last up to 30 years with proper care. They also require less removal of healthy tooth structure than a crown, which helps to preserve the natural tooth.

In addition, inlays and onlays are less likely to stain or discolor than traditional fillings, providing a more natural-looking restoration. However, inlays and onlays are typically more expensive than traditional fillings, but they offer a longer-lasting and more aesthetically pleasing restoration.


Dental implants are a popular and effective option for replacing missing teeth. An implant is a small titanium post inserted into the jawbone as an artificial root for a replacement tooth. The implant is then topped with a crown or other restoration to create a natural-looking replacement for the missing tooth.

Typically, the process of getting a dental implant involves several steps. First, the dentist will thoroughly examine you to determine whether you are a good implant candidate. This may include taking X-rays or CT scans to assess your jawbone's and surrounding teeth' health.

If you are a good candidate for implants, the next step is to place the implant into the jawbone. This is done under local anesthesia or sedation to ensure comfort during the procedure. Once the implant is in place, a healing period of several months is required to allow the implant to fuse with the surrounding bone in an osseointegration process.

After the healing period, an abutment is attached to the top of the implant. This serves as a connection point for the replacement tooth or restoration. The dentist will take impressions of your mouth to create a custom crown or other restoration that will fit over the abutment.

Dental implants are durable and can last a lifetime with proper care. They also look and function like natural teeth, allowing you to eat and speak confidently. In addition, implants help preserve the jawbone's health and structure by providing the stimulation needed to prevent bone loss.

Can Restorative Dental Procedures Also Offer Cosmetic Benefits?

Many restorative dental procedures offer cosmetic benefits. Restorative dentistry focuses on restoring the function and integrity of damaged or missing teeth, while cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of the teeth and smile. However, there is often an overlap between the two fields.

For example, dental implants are a restorative procedure that replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function like natural teeth. This not only restores the function of the missing tooth but also improves the appearance of your smile. Similarly, tooth-colored fillings are a restorative procedure that repairs cavities while blending in with the natural color of the surrounding teeth for a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Advantages of Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry offers many advantages beyond just improving the appearance of your smile. These include:

  • Improved Self-Confidence: A beautiful smile can make you feel more confident and self-assured in social and professional situations.
  • Better Oral Health: Many cosmetic procedures, such as dental implants and inlays/onlays, can improve the function and health of your teeth, leading to better oral health.
  • Pain Relief: Restorative procedures like dental implants and bridges can help to alleviate pain caused by missing or damaged teeth.
  • Faster Results: Many cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening, can provide quick results in just one or two visits.
  • Minimally Invasive: Most cosmetic procedures are minimally invasive and require little to no downtime or recovery.
  • Long-Lasting Results: With proper care and maintenance, many cosmetic procedures can provide long-lasting results that can improve your smile for years.
  • Natural-Looking Results: Advanced materials and techniques in cosmetic dentistry can provide natural-looking results that blend seamlessly with your teeth.
  • Customizable: Cosmetic procedures can be customized to meet your specific needs and goals, ensuring you achieve desired results.

Potential Risks Of Cosmetic Dentistry

While cosmetic dentistry is a fantastic way to enhance your smile, it has drawbacks. Potential risks include:

  • Cost is a significant factor, and many cosmetic procedures can be expensive, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
  • Some procedures, such as braces or Invisalign, can take a long time to achieve the desired results, which can be frustrating for some.
  • Sensitivity is a common side effect of many cosmetic procedures, which can be especially noticeable when consuming hot or cold food and drinks.
  • The durability of some procedures, like veneers or bonding, is shorter than natural teeth and may need to be replaced or repaired over time.
  • There's a risk of damage to your teeth or gums during specific cosmetic procedures, mainly if not performed by a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist.
  • Specific cosmetic procedures, such as dental implants or oral surgery, can be uncomfortable or even painful.
  • Some procedures may only suit some, depending on individual oral health needs and goals.

Always consult with a qualified and experienced cosmetic dentist, and be sure to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.

Choosing the Right Cosmetic Dentist

While choosing the right dentist can be overwhelming, finding a qualified and experienced one is crucial. Below are tips to help you select the ideal cosmetic dentist:

Consider the Dentist's Experience and Qualifications

Look for a dentist who has completed specialized training in cosmetic dentistry procedures and has a proven track record of successful treatments. Ask the dentist about their education, training, and years of experience in cosmetic dentistry.

Check the Dentist's Reputation and Reviews

Before selecting a cosmetic dentist, research their reputation and read reviews from their previous patients. You can check online reviews and social media pages and even ask for referrals from friends and family who have undergone cosmetic dentistry procedures. Hire a dentist with positive reviews and a good reputation for providing high-quality cosmetic dentistry services.

Schedule a Consultation with the Dentist

It is a good idea to schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dentist before undergoing any procedures. During the consultation, you can discuss your concerns, expectations, and goals for the treatment. You can also ask questions about the process, the cost, and other problems. The consultation is an opportunity to get to know the dentist and ensure you feel comfortable and confident in their care.

Look for a Dentist Who Uses the Latest Technology

Cosmetic dentistry constantly evolves, and new technologies and techniques are continually being developed. Look for a dentist who uses the latest technology and equipment to provide the best possible results. The use of digital imaging, laser technology, and computer-aided design can enhance the accuracy, speed, and effectiveness of cosmetic dentistry procedures.

Consider the Cost and Payment Options

Cosmetic dentistry procedures can be expensive, so it is vital to consider the cost and payment options before selecting a dentist. Some dental insurance plans may cover specific cosmetic procedures, but most do not. Look for a dentist who offers flexible payment options and financing plans to help you manage the cost of the treatment.

Find a Cosmetic Lomita Dentist Near Me

Cosmetic dentistry offers various procedures that can help improve the appearance of your smile. There are many options, from teeth whitening and dental crowns to dental implants and Invisalign braces. If you are looking for a cosmetic dentist in Lomita, there are a few things you can do to find the right one. Start by asking for recommendations from friends and family or searching for local cosmetic dentists online. Make sure to read reviews and check their credentials before making an appointment.

At Washington Dental, we offer a wide range of cosmetic dental procedures to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Our experienced and knowledgeable team is dedicated to providing high-quality care and personalized treatment plans to meet your unique needs. If you are ready to take the next step in your smile journey, call us at 310-326-5183 to schedule a consultation with one of our cosmetic dentists.