A Complete Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a $6.9 billion market. Through this practice, dentists help people feel better about the look and feel of their smiles.

This cosmetic dentistry guide will tell you everything you need to know about types of procedures and their costs. Plus, we’ll give you tips for finding the right cosmetic dentist for your needs.

If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure for your teeth, keep reading to have all your questions answered.

Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

When we say cosmetic dentistry, what do you think of? Maybe you think of a whiter, straighter smile. Or maybe you think of a mouth full of veneers.

In either case, you would be right. Cosmetic dentists administer a wide range of procedures. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular ones in Australia.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is the most-requested cosmetic dentistry procedure in Australia. According to Azusa Pacific University, more than 2 million Australians get their teeth whitened per year.

It is extremely common for people to develop tooth stains. Discoloration can occur due to genetics and lifestyle factors (e.g., smoking).

Getting your teeth whitened is one of the more affordable ways to fix up your smile. It will also offer immediate and visible results.

You can purchase teeth whitening kits over the counter. Or you can get your teeth professionally whitened at a dentist office.

Dentists use hydrogen peroxide and other bleaching ingredients to lighten your teeth by a few shades. You will see faster results if you choose professional whitening.

Teeth Straightening Procedures

Teeth straightening are another popular cosmetic procedure for people who have an improper bite, gapping, or crooked teeth. Another word for teeth straightening procedures is orthodontics.

Over 1.5 million Australians get one or more orthodontics treatments annually. And not all of these people want straighter teeth due to the problems we mentioned above. Some people choose orthodontics for aesthetic purposes.

The most common types of teeth straightening procedures are braces and Invisalign clear aligners.

Braces have been around since the 1700s. But dentists didn’t start using them regularly until the mid-1970s.

Braces consist of brackets that adhere to your teeth and metal wires that string the brackets together. Orthodontists strategically tighten those wires to progressively shift teeth into the desired position.

Invisalign is a newer invention in orthodontics. Invented in 1997, the FDA approved clear aligners in 1998. Today, Invisalign has replaced braces as the teeth straightening procedure of choice.

Dental Veneers

With over 1 million Australians getting this procedure done annually, dental veneers are the third-most-popular cosmetic dentistry procedure in Australia.

Dental veneers are made of tooth-colored porcelain or ceramic. Dentists apply these custom-made covers to the outside of the teeth. People ask for this procedure to improve the color, size, or shape of one or more teeth.

Veneers can also help eliminate gaps between teeth. In this sense, this procedure can sometimes be an alternative to teeth straightening procedures.

Dental Bonding

Bonding is an alternative procedure to getting dental veneers. It fixes many of the same problems as traditional porcelain veneers.

Yet, dental bonding is more affordable than porcelain and ceramic veneers. That is because dental bonding uses less expensive resin rather than pricey porcelain or ceramic.

Dentists apply the soft resin material to the outside of the target tooth or teeth. Then, the dentist uses UV light to harden the material. Finally, the dentist shapes and polishes the tooth to match the rest of the smile.

This process leads to a better-looking smile, although bonding is not as natural-looking as porcelain and ceramic veneers.

Dental Contouring

Another way to change the look of your teeth without having to get veneers is with dental contouring. This type of cosmetic dentistry procedure can alter the height, shape, and size of your teeth.

A cosmetic dentist will use a powerful file to shave down your teeth. They can remove cracks and chips, change the tooth shape, or even reduce the appearance of gapping.

Contouring can completely change the look of your smile. And it is more affordable than veneers and bonding.

Dental Implants

The average Australian adult has between four and five missing teeth. Maybe that is why dental implants are so common.

Unlike veneers and bonding, implants completely replace teeth. They do not simply cover up the existing tooth. And implants function like natural teeth.

Implants are made up of a titanium screw and a strong and durable tooth-like cap. Dentists must surgically adhere the titanium screw to the jawbone. The implant will last 15 or more years, depending on how well you care for it.

Some people prefer bridges and dentures to implants. That is because bridges and dentures can replace multiple missing teeth at once. They are also more affordable than getting a mouth full of implants.

Bridges can replace 1–2 missing teeth in a row. Some people also ask for implant-supported bridges for more than two missing teeth. Implants anchor each side of the bridge, but the inner tooth or teeth are not implants.

All-on-4 dentures are meant for people who need to replace almost all or all their teeth. Implants also secure either end of the denture, but the in-between teeth are not implants.

Gum Re-Shaping

People with too much or too little gums often get gum re-shaping procedures. The former is typically a cosmetic procedure. But having receding gums can be medically necessary in some cases.

Too much gum tissue can cause what dentists refer to as a “gummy” smile. Gummy smiles feature gums that cover too much of the tooth. Or a gummy smile could feature noticeably uneven gums.

Dentists can address this problem using gum re-shaping, also known as gum contouring. During this procedure, the dentist will shave back the extra gum tissue. This contouring can result in larger, longer-looking teeth.

Too little gum tissue is a condition called receding gums. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of a receding gumline. And three in 10 Australian adults suffer from moderate to severe gum disease due to poor oral hygiene.

To fix the receding gumline, dentists apply gum grafts. These grafts can prevent further recession, which will reduce the chances of your teeth falling out.

Also, receding gumlines can lead to an increased risk of future gum disease. Getting gum re-shaping done can help restore your smile and boost your dental health.

Fillings and Crowns

Fillings and crowns are not always considered cosmetic dentistry procedures. That is because they are medically necessary for treating cavities and tooth decay.

However, certain types of fillings and crowns are more cosmetic than others. For example, people can ask for tooth-colored fillings and crowns.

Though not necessary to treat tooth decay, these options are far more aesthetic than cheaper materials.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are alternatives to fillings and crowns. But like fillings and crowns, these treatments can be cosmetic or medically necessary.

When medically necessary, inlays and onlays treat tooth decay that has damaged a large portion of the tooth. The tooth isn’t large enough or strong enough to support a filling.

Sometimes, people have enough tooth surface and strength for fillings, but they prefer an inlay or onlay. This preference may be due to the fact that inlays and onlays are more durable than fillings.

In this case, the procedure would be cosmetic. And the procedure would especially be cosmetic if the dentist uses tooth-colored materials.

Does Insurance Pay for Cosmetic Procedures?

Insurance pays for cosmetic procedures in some cases. But it depends on whether the policyholder requires the treatment to restore his or her oral health.

In other words, insurance will only pay for procedures that are medically necessary. Medically necessary procedures can include:

  • Gum grafts
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Inlays and Onlays

How much of the procedure insurance covers also depends on medical necessity. For example, if you need a filling for a cavity, insurance covers it. But if you request more expensive filling materials because they look better, insurance may only cover the cost of the standard, less pricy material.

If you get a dental procedure done purely for aesthetic purposes, that is a cosmetic dental treatment. And insurance will not cover the cost.

How Much Do Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures Cost?

Now that you understand the difference between medically necessary and cosmetic dentistry, you are probably wondering about the cost of cosmetic procedures. Prices vary by treatment and other factors.

Here are the price ranges for some of the cosmetic procedures we mentioned above:

  • Teeth Whitening: Professional whitening can cost anywhere from $250 to $650 per session
  • Teeth Straightening: The cost to straighten your teeth varies by method and severity, ranging from $5,000 to $9,000
  • Veneers: A full set of porcelain veneers will cost over $2,000 per tooth, while dental bonding only costs around $500–$750 per tooth
  • Implants: One implant costs anywhere from $3,000 to $5,500, while all-on-four dentures might cost as much as $27,000
  • Dental Contouring: This procedure is one of the more affordable ones at only $195 per tooth
  • Gum Re-shaping: A single session of gum re-shaping surgery can cost anywhere from $200–$300 per tooth
  • Cosmetic Fillings: Tooth-colored fillings cost $135–$240 per tooth

Even though insurance doesn’t cover these procedures, there are ways to save. For example, Invisalign typically costs more than braces. And ceramic braces can cost less than metal braces.

But do not just consider the procedure’s price tag when determining affordability. For example, porcelain veneers are more expensive than composite ones. But porcelain lasts longer, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Why Are Dental Treatments So Expensive in Australia?

It is no secret that dental work is expensive in Australia. But why exactly is this the case?

The Australian government requires all dental products to comply with the standards of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). TGA has strict requirements surrounding the quality of dental instruments.

When dentists have to pay more for their equipment, their costs go up. Dentists offset this problem by passing the extra costs onto you— the patient. This cost-sharing results in a higher price tag for procedures and especially cosmetic procedures.

At the same time, it is a good thing that the TGA has strict standards. These standards ensure that Australians get the highest-quality, safest treatments possible.

How to Find the Right Cosmetic Dentist for You

Now that you understand the types of cosmetic procedures and their costs, are you ready to schedule your visit? First, you have to find the perfect cosmetic dentist near you.

Here are our top three tips for doing just that.

Ask for Referrals

Do you have a friend or family member who has undergone the cosmetic dentistry procedure you want? If so, that is a great place to start. Ask for a referral if your friend or family member was satisfied with their dentist’s work.

Check Out the Dentist’s Credentials

Once you have a short list of dentists to check out, it is time to evaluate their credentials.

Some things to look for include where the dentist went to school, any special certifications he or she holds, and what professional association he or she is part of.

Inquire About Pricing

A good cosmetic dentist should offer you a price list when you inquire about a procedure. What’s more, cosmetic dentists should offer financing plans if you can not afford the procedure you want.

Inquire About These Cosmetic Procedures at JustSMILE

Cosmetic dentistry covers dozens of procedures, from teeth whitening to cosmetic fillings. Insurance may cover a portion of the cost if part of the procedure is medically necessary. Otherwise, you will have to pay out of pocket for these treatments.

Are you searching for a cosmetic dentist in Ramsgate or Woollahra? Contact JustSMILE Dental Clinic today to book your first appointment!

Unit 4-160 Ramsgate Road
Ramsgate Beach NSW 2217
Phone: (02) 9159 3764
Monday - Friday:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat. - Sun.: Closed
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Terms & Conditions
Free Smile Assessment Offer:
  1. Must be over 18 years of age
  2. Free Smile Assessment consultation must be face to face
  3. Includes : Smile analysis, Facial lines and asymmetries, Teeth size, shape and position analysis, Teeth color recording, Jaw analysis, General tooth and gum health assessment and advise on the suitability for Invisalign or other Smile Make-Over procedures and recommendations.
  4. Does not include a full examination, x-rays or a scale and polish.
  5. Free Smile Assessment offer can be used in conjunction with other offers such as Whitening, Check up and Polish, and Invisalign offers.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risk. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. This offer may change without notice.