For a lot of people, a smile is an essential part of their appearance and self-confidence, and broken or misshapen teeth can do a lot to negatively impact that self-confidence. This basic truth has been powering the cosmetic dentistry industry for decades, but it’s important to understand that you don’t have to be in an appearance-focused position or have a lot of money to reap these benefits and start feeling better about yourself.
If you’re on the fence about cosmetic dentistry, understand that technology advances mean that getting procedures done and maintaining the results is no longer as difficult as it may have been in the past. According to JavodGol, DDS, head of Precision Dentistry in Columbia, MD, “we now offer both in-office whitening and take-home whitening kits. Another great breakthrough is tooth-colored fillings. The composite resin used in these fillings can also be used to repair small chips and fractures in your teeth.” And this is only the start—here are some other cosmetic dentistry options.
Veneers: A lot of people think Hollywood actors when it comes to perfect teeth, and that’s no mistake. One of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry, these were actually invented on a Hollywood set to provide a way for actors to quickly change the appearance of their teeth between takes. These days, the technology has advanced a lot, but you’re going to want to consider what type of veneers you get based off of your budget. Porcelain is the highest-priced option, but you can get some from other materials that don’t cost as much. Generally, custom veneers are made from a scan of your teeth, and will need to be replaced at some point in the future. The average for porcelain ones is 15 years, and the cheaper you go, the less time they last. You can extend their lifespan with flossing and brushing regularly, just like any other teeth.
Bonding: Bonding may be the option for you if you have one or several teeth that are damaged, discolored or decaying. The main appeal for this option compared to other cosmetic dentistry is that it is rather cheap, and if you have a sensitivity to anesthesia, you don’t have to worry as you don’t need it to get this done. Your dentist will drill out the area in question then apply a composite, sculpting it into the tooth piece that was missing. It may be cheap, but it still gets the job done, matching a tooth to the untrained eye.
Whitening: Whitening is used for a variety of situations that could cause discoloration, from medication reactions to smoking to tooth decay to some sort of medical issue. To get this done, a dentist will create plastic clear trays from impressions they make of your teeth. When you get these custom trays, you need to fill them with a special whitening solution then wear them around for a certain amount of time This will vary based on your teeth, but can go as high as a few weeks wearing the trays overnight.
Implants: The funny thing about dental implants is that while they can provide a useful replacement for missing teeth, technically, no one but your dentist will likely ever see the implant itself. This is a frame that is put on or inside the gums via surgery. What everyone sees is a replacement tooth that they put on top of the implant. While this is useful for people who may have lost teeth suddenly, getting an implant done is a multi-month commitment.
Inlays/Onlays: This combination generally pops up in certain situations where you may need a filling, but for certain reasons can’t get one. Potential problems include there only being a slight bit of decay or the tooth not having enough structure left to hold the filling. Both products are made with composite resin and attached with dental cement. The difference comes with the location. Inlays go right on the surface of teeth, and onlays cover the entire surface.
Whether it’s due to aging, an accident, or another reason, it’s very possible to have some sort of cosmetic issue with your teeth no matter how diligent you are when it comes to oral care. If you find yourself in this type of position, it’s a good idea to reach out to your dentist today and see what options you have for cosmetic dentistry. No one should have to suffer in silence.