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    The evolution of cosmetic dentistry

    Each decade brings new advancements to the profession, requiring dentists to keep up with the times.

    Cosmetic dentistry has evolved throughout its existence. Etruscans and Romans dabbled in implants, bridges, and teeth whitening, but it wasn’t until the late 20th century that cosmetic dentistry became its own field. Since then, the advancements have been substantial.

    Cosmetic dentistry“Cosmetic dentistry has always been around, and people have always seen teeth as something to enhance their appearance,” says John Rowe, DDS, AAACD. “Prior to organized dentistry, different cultures would use different enhancements. The Mayans would use jade inlays, and tooth sharpening or filing was practiced in various cultures worldwide.”

    Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way. For Hollywood actors in the 1930s, decades before bonding was invented, creating the perfect smile essentially depended on dentures. Thanks to resin and porcelain bonding, veneers now take center stage.

    With each decade, the changes to the profession are multiplied. Dentists practicing now have had to forget certain procedures they learned in dental school — procedures that haven’t kept up with the times.

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    “Almost every single procedure I learned in dental school I don’t do anymore,” says Tanya L. DeSanto, DDS, FICD. “Our profession has evolved that much in the last 30 years.”

    “Cosmetic dentistry as we know it today is probably best represented by veneers,” Dr. Rowe adds. “When pioneers like Buonocore and Calamia taught dentists how to bond resin and porcelain to enamel and dentin, things got a lot more predictable and functional for a relatively permanent fix.”

    How exactly has cosmetic dentistry changed in recent history?

    Click through the slides to find out. 

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