The role of cosmetic dentistry in restoring a youthful appearance

J Am Dent Assoc. 1999 Aug;130(8):1166-72. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.1999.0370.


Background: Dentistry is faced with a population that is getting older and keeping more of its natural teeth. Smiles show physical and esthetic signs of aging. Advances in the area of cosmetic dentistry now offer the dental profession new opportunities in conservative and esthetic restorative procedures that have the potential to reverse the signs of dental aging, thereby making patients appear younger.

Case description: The physical and esthetic attributes of an aged dentition are identifiable. Tooth wear over time alters the appearance of the teeth and smile in a way that is perceptible to dentists and laypeople. Bonding and adhesive ceramic restorative procedures have the potential of reversing the esthetic manifestations of the aging process for teeth. Specific diagnostic tools, including a composite resin mock-up and construction of an incisal putty matrix, allow for previsualization of possible treatment outcomes and allow clinicians to resolve occlusal as well as esthetic treatment concerns before initiating actual treatment.

Clinical implications: The ability to make patients look younger through cosmetic enhancement of teeth and smiles has tremendous implications for the future practice of dentistry. Dentists who have the training and skills to meet the increasing demand for esthetic procedures by patients seeking to restore a youthful appearance may find an expanded role within their practices for this type of treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dental Veneers
  • Esthetics, Dental*
  • Humans
  • Population Dynamics
  • Rejuvenation*
  • Tooth Attrition / therapy
  • Tooth Bleaching
  • Tooth Discoloration / therapy