Cosmetic dentistry procedures include
Veneer, Bonding and Whitening
Many dentists call themselves cosmetic dentists, but it is not recognized specialty in the field of dentistry. General dentistry encompasses Cosmetic dentistry and I guess it sounds more fancier to call oneself cosmetic dentist rather than general dentist. Most frequently cosmetic dentists advertise Veneer as a mean to do smile make-over and they can cost $900 and more for a single tooth. Veneer can dramatically change shape, color and close a gap between teeth. Depending on the condition of teeth, preparation of teeth can be minimal to none. But if you need natural looking teeth the enamel is often drilled away. I do a lot of direct bonding to diastema (a gap between teeth) and for optimal results combined with minor tooth movements(braces) the result has been great.
The benefit of bonding over Veneer is that you can conserve your tooth structure. To achieve ideal results with Veneer, the enamel, the strongest, the most cavity resistant part of tooth are prepped (i.e. drilled away) and enamel unlike dentin has 0 regenerative power. (FYI unlike bone which has constant osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity in our body, once teeth are formed it cannot regenerate itself. That’s why dentists drill and fill and doctors put you on cast to stabilize and let bone to heal. I heard a friend saying “I am taking Calcium to strengthen my teeth.” Unfortunately, it will do nothing to your teeth, but it can help bone.)
The disadvantage of bonding is that it is greatly dependent on the skill of a dentist and time consuming (in perspective of dentist, a chair time will be longer but bonding is done single visit. Although, I prefer to make minor adjustments and fine polishing on next visit)