What Do Cosmetic Dentists Do?

There has been a lot of talk lately within the Dental Industry of Torrance regarding the term: “Cosmetic Dentist” and whether or not it is a specialty (it is not) and whether or not Dentists are allowed to use this term in marketing (they are not). With all the confusion, we felt that the people this term affects the most – you, our patients and clients – may not get the full picture of what exactly the term refers to. So we’ve set out to try clarify a few things.
When people feel insecure about the appearance of their teeth, want their smile to look a certain way, or have a functional dental problem, they sometimes search for a “cosmetic dentist” to correct these issues as they may seem to all fall under one category. As mentioned at the outset, there is no professional designation for a “Cosmetic Dentist”, but rather a marketing term that many dentists have sought to attach themselves too. In reality, these dentists are just like any other dentist, except that they may choose to focus more on aesthetics.

How Is What a Cosmetic Dentist Does Different than What a General or Other Dentist Might do?

Unfortunately the term “Cosmetic dentists” have become synonymous with dentists that perform a variety of procedures such as dental whitening, straightening, and applying crowns and veneers, primarily with aesthetics in mind. This common misconception has been perpetuated by many dentists that have chosen to make aesthetic decisions over functional ones. Meaning, function of the teeth has taken second place to form, and this goes contrary to the fundamentals of their dental training – improving your dental health. The reality however is that certain pioneers in the field of what has come to be called “cosmetic dentistry” like Dr. Teboul, absolutely focuses on where form meets function. But because the form that follows function goes beyond the “necessities” of simply fixing the problem, much of the work these dentists do is completely elective, and most often not covered by dental insurance.

How Are Cosmetic Dentists Recognized?

In many regions, cosmetic dentistry is not formally recognized as a subgroup of the industry because all dentists should be able to do some basic cosmetic work. The American Dental Association (ADA) of which Dr. Teboul is a member, for example, does not acknowledge it as a separate specialty area. Even so, dentists that advertise their ability to perform cosmetic procedures generally still have to have completed formal training, which means going to dental school, passing certification exams, and getting a license. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the world’s largest organization for cosmetic dentists, also provides a certification, but ADA does not yet recognize it.

Does Insurance Cover What Cosmetic Dentists Do?

Depending on what a person needs, his insurance company might or might not cover the costs of a cosmetic dentist’s work. A company might cover fixing a chipped tooth, for example, if the chip is resulting in decay and loss of dental function. Teeth whitening, which is one of the most common procedures, often isn’t included in coverage because it doesn’t generally help the teeth work better or provide any sort of protection to them.
One of the primary issues with cosmetic dentistry is “what does that mean”? Everything from a simple procedure like whitening your teeth (a procedure that costs a couple hundred dollars), to full mouth rehabilitation (procedures that may cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars) all seem to be classified under cosmetic dentistry. So while certain procedures may be covered partially, or completely depending on your insurance, many are not. The only way we could know is to sit down and have a look together.


The American Dental Association doesn’t recognize cosmetic dentistry as a specialty because so many procedures within the current specialty areas can change the look of teeth–that is, all dentistry includes some degree of aesthetic work. Even so, pioneers of the concept stand by the skills they have learned along the way. Call it what you want: Aesthetic, Cosmetic, Surgical Dentistry, dentists should always be concerned with how their patients look and feel. They should all be concerned with the fundamental difference a great smile can make in the life of those who put their trust in them. All dentistry should look good, and function properly. Form, follows function, and when that focus is lost, things go horribly wrong. Being a dentist that focuses on doing things properly requires a significant commitment in terms of education – both learned and shared, but it’s our patients that make it all worth it.

Schedule An Appointment With Lomita Torrance Dental Office, Torrance

We value your trust in us as part of your family’s total healthcare team and look forward to getting to know each of you as the wonderfully unique individual that you are. Each one of us loves what we do and we believe at Lomita Torrance Dental Office that it shows in the quality of our work and our patient interactions and it is one of the reasons why Lomita Torrance Dental Office is the clear choice for the dental patients in the surrounding neighborhood.

We hope that each of our patient has a happy and healthy smile makeover and that means protecting your teeth and your oral health. We care for your smile and to have a detailed understanding regarding your oral care, you can always schedule a consultation with our dental hygienist at 23520 Crenshaw Boulevard Torrance, CA 90505 or by calling us at (424) 201-2885.

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