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What you’ll pay for cosmetic dental procedures

Cosmetic dentistry includes procedures like teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, tooth-colored fillings and crowns that can improve the appearance of your smile.  These procedures are paid out of pocket and the fees are substantial.  This article summarizes what you can expect to pay for each procedure and outlines other factors to consider in selecting a cosmetic dentist.

Like cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry is becoming increasingly popular. Procedures including teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, crowns and even tooth-colored fillings can improve the appearance of your smile and are offered by most dentists. Unlike most dental procedures, you can expect to pay 100% of the cost of a cosmetic procedure out of your own pocket. Your dental insurance company will typically not pay for purely cosmetic procedures. Usually, insurance only covers the costs of procedures required for a functional purpose. In cases where there is both a functional and cosmetic need for a procedure, e.g. crowns that protect and improve the appearance of your teeth, and insurance companies typically only covers the amount required to protect the tooth. If you are considering a cosmetic dental procedure, you may want to do your research to make sure that you are getting a fair price on the services your dentist offers. Price for common cosmetic procedures Below is a list of the most common procedures in cosmetic dentistry:
  • Whitening , or "tooth bleaching", is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure. There are many options that do no require a visit to the dentist, but dentist-supervised treatments remain the best option for lightening discolored teeth. Whitening your entire mouth ranges from: $400 to $600/treatment.
  • Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made porcelain laminates that are applied directly to the teeth. They can close gaps or cover up discolored teeth that cannot be whitened. Veneers range from: $1,100 to $1,900.
  • A porcelain crown is used to cap or completely cover a tooth. The cost ofall-porcelain crowns : $1,000-$1,500.
In the past, fillings for back teeth were done using silver coloredamalgams. Tooth colored dental composites have become far more popular because they are less visible than amalgams. The price of fillings for back teeth is determined according to the number of surfaces covered by the fillings. Single surface fillings cost between $140 and $200. Two-surface fillings cost between $170 and $250 each. Other factors to consider beyond price Every general dentist who has graduated dental school can claim to be a cosmetic dentist. Unlike other fields of medicine, there is no generally recognized formal accreditation process for cosmetic dentistry. Because of this, you may find a wide difference between differences in the skill and artistry required for cosmetic dentistry. All dentists have thoroughly trained in the functional aspects of dentistry, e.g. creating tooth-colored fillings, but are not necessarily as trained in the aesthetic aspects of cosmetic dentistry. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a cosmetic dentist:
  • Experience matters: Don't be afraid to ask the dentist for an estimate of how many of the specific type of dental procedure you are requesting that he has performed.
  • Most dentists document their work with before and after photos: Review photos of the specific procedure you will have done.
  • Check references: A good cosmetic dentists should have plenty of happy customers who are willing to vouch for his or her work.
Like many buying decisions, selecting the best cosmetic dentist for your procedure should depend on price as well as the other factors that are more difficult to quantify. Don't be afraid to shop around. The more you know, the happier you will be with the outcome.

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