Is Cosmetic Dentistry Safe?

Posted by: Dr Monica Amin

“Is cosmetic dentistry safe?” or “are there any adverse effects associated with cosmetic treatment?” are commonly asked questions. We are here to answer them for you. To know whether cosmetic dentistry is safe, it is best we learn about the different types of procedures dentists perform to restore smiles with cosmetic dental treatments.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry involves all dental procedures that are aimed at removing dental defects, and restoring your smile and personality by ensuring an aesthetic harmony between the size, color, and shape of your teeth and gums, a good cosmetic dentist will also take into account your facial features. Cosmetic dentistry requires a team effort by dental professionals with a special interest in different areas of dentistry. As a result, your dentist will prepare a customized treatment for each individual patient, depending on his or her aesthetic requirements, budgetary constraints, and oral health condition.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Safe?

Let’s come back to the question. Every dental procedure is safe, provided it is performed by a qualified and trained dentist. However, no dental procedure is completely free from risk. Let us take a look at various cosmetic procedures that are routinely performed by dentists:

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a procedure in which your dentist will apply a bleaching agent on your teeth to remove tooth stains. Unlike the over the counter bleaching formulas available which contain mild concentrations of bleaching agents, dentists use stronger bleaching formulas that can cause harm if they are not used correctly. If the bleaching agent is accidentally applied to your gums, it can make your gums white, in addition to causing significant irritation and inflammation. This is why teeth whitening by anyone other than a trained dental professional is not recommended such as by a beauty therapist. Dentists will often apply cocoa butter or Vaseline on the gums and cheeks to protect them before they start the teeth whitening procedure, they also have the knowledge and skills to make sure that the bleaching tray fits perfectly and protects your delicate gum area.

Another risk associated with teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity. While sensitivity is a temporary issue in most cases, some patients may become sensitive to hot or cold drinks and foods for a longer time, or even permanently in rare cases. Using home teeth whitening therefore gives you the ability to control this sensitivity by stopping the whitening, letting your teeth settle down and then continuing again if the sensitivity subsides.

Does teeth whitening damage your teeth?

No, teeth whitening is safe and effective. The bleaching agent releases peroxide, this creates oxygen which reacts with the stains on the surface of your tooth. The reaction removes the colour of the stain and therefore the teeth become lighter. Over time the surface of teeth will pick up stains again and your teeth will more than likely return to a darker colour.

However, teeth whitening performed by an untrained dental professional can damage the surrounding gums and soft tissue.

Veneers and Crowns

Veneers are thin shells of ceramic or composite resin that are attached to the front surfaces of the teeth to restore cosmetic and structural tooth defects. While preparing veneers, your dentist will remove a thin layer of the healthy tooth structure; this is done to create space for the attachment of the veneers.

The same holds true for the crowns and bridges.

Problems with veneers

There are chances that the prepared teeth may become sensitive after preparation. However, your dentist will have this under control by carefully checking x-rays of your teeth prior to preparation.

They can check that there is enough healthy tooth structure to remove without getting too close to the sensitive inner portion of the tooth.

One of the biggest problems with porcelain dental veneers is fracturing. Your dentist will explain this during your treatment planning stage, if the risk is too high then an alternative cosmetic option may be offered. Veneers made with composite resin, whilst they may still fracture, are far easier to repair than porcelain. This may therefore be a more suitable option if fracture is more likely, perhaps due to the way your teeth meet.


Bonding is a procedure in which your dentist will apply a tooth-colored composite resin on your teeth to restore structural and esthetic tooth defects. A good thing about bonding is that your dentist does not need to remove a lot of natural tooth structure, and only the damaged part is removed. If it chooses chipped and bonding is going to be used to restore the broken area and often no tooth structure is removed at all.

Bonding is a safe and simple procedure that does not carry significant risks. However, in some cases, the filling may facture, or get dislodged from the tooth. In these cases, your dentist will repair or replace the lost filling.

Are All Cosmetic Dental Procedures Reversible?

Not all cosmetic dental procedures are reversible. Cosmetic procedures such as veneers, crowns, and bridges require your dentists to remove healthy tooth structure, which is permanently lost.

However, there is a growing trend among modern dentists to practice minimally invasive dentistry so that the natural tooth structure can be conserved at all costs. That is why cosmetic dentistry now offers a superior alternative to the veneers; the no-prep veneers, which do not require any tooth preparation, and they can be removed from your teeth whenever you want.

Similarly, dentists nowadays recommend dental implants for replacing missing teeth, instead of dental bridges. This is because dental implants do not require removal of natural tooth structure, while dental bridges can only be placed after the preparation of the supporting teeth.


Dental professionals are trained in ensuring the patients and their team while performing dental procedures. Therefore, like all other dental procedures, all dentists take appropriate preventive measures before performing cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry offers a ray of hope for people who wish to enjoy an attractive and charming smile. So, if you have any cosmetic dental problem, visit your dentist today without any fear; you are in safe hands with your dentist. Cosmetic dental procedures are as safe as any other dental procedure.

Keep Smiling!

Dr Monica Amin
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