It’s no secret that when you look good, you feel good — and sometimes a minor change is all it takes to help you feel your best. That’s why so many people are turning to cosmetic dentistry for a smile lift. Studies have shown that an attractive smile contributes to overall attractiveness — and a simple cosmetic dental procedure can take years off your teeth and may even save you thousands of dollars on unnecessary plastic surgery procedures. Overall, the positive impact cosmetic dentistry can have on your life is priceless!
“A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear”
The growing interest in aesthetics is blurring the line between restorative and cosmetic dental treatment. Cosmetic dentistry has become so popular that restorative treatments are now adopting cosmetic elements into their procedures. For instance, a tooth filling or crown can be designed to match the natural shape and color of your tooth, hiding the fact that you’ve had any “work done.” Cosmetic dentistry can also be used as a preventive measure — chipped, crooked and missing teeth are not only embarassing, but they could cause more serious dental problems in the future. Using cosmetic dentistry to correct these problems will not only improve your smile but could also help improve your dental health!
Types of Cosmetic Dentistry
From minor improvements to a full smile makeover, cosmetic dentistry centers offer a wide range of dental treatments to fit your individual needs and budget. Many cosmetic dentists offer the following cosmetic dental procedures:
Teeth Whitening — Teeth whitening is the most common type of cosmetic dentistry and can remove tooth stains or lighten overall tooth discoloration. Professional teeth whitening consists of custom-fit take-home trays worn daily for several weeks to whiten teeth four to six shades. Several over-the-counter teeth whitening products are also available, including whitening strips, whitening pens and whitening toothpastes, all of which have varied results.
Laser Teeth Whitening — For those who can’t wait for results, laser teeth whitening offers the convenience of whitening your teeth in just one day! Laser teeth whitening is performed right in your dental office — a dental laser or lamp activates the whitening gel, resulting in teeth up to 10 shades whiter in about an hour.
Composite Fillings — While amalgam fillings have been safely and effectively restoring cavities for over 150 years, they’re not pretty. Composite resin is a tooth-colored filling material that can be structured to resemble the shape of your tooth.
Dental Veneers — Veneers are an excellent option for anyone looking to achieve a total smile makeover. Dental veneers are thin, porcelain shells that completely cover your front teeth. Dental veneers are used to fix a plethora of dental problems, including chipped, cracked, and crooked teeth.
Dental Bonding — A less expensive alternative to dental veneers, dental bonding is used to fix minor tooth imperfections. Composite resin material is placed over the tooth, shaped and hardened to cover chips, cracks and gaps in teeth.
Enamel Shaping — Similar to dental bonding, enamel shaping is a simple procedure used to correct rough, misshapen or uneven teeth. A portion of the tooth is removed or restructured to change its appearance and is often used to shorten teeth that appear too long.
Gum Contouring — Gum contouring is a gum disease treatment used to fix a “gummy smile” or gums that appear overgrown. Gum contouring removes excess tissue from the gums to lengthen teeth. Consider laser gum surgery for increased comfort and faster healing.
Dental Crowns and Bridges — A dental crown is used to restore and protect a damaged tooth, while a dental bridge replaces missing teeth. Dental crowns and bridges can now be made with porcelain to resemble your natural tooth color.
Dental Inlays and Onlays — Sometimes called porcelain fillings, dental inlays and onlays are used to replace large fillings and are designed to match your tooth color.
Dental Implants — Dental implants are used to restore missing teeth. But unlike dentures, they are a permanent solution for tooth loss. While restoration is the primary focus of dental implants, they look and feel like real teeth.
Aligners — Clear aligners are used as an alternative to traditional braces, and are designed to help guide teeth into proper position. Just like braces, clear aligners use gradual force to control tooth movement, but without any metal wires or brackets. The aligners are made with a strong plastic material that has been fabricated to fit your mouth.
Trends in Cosmetic Dentistry
While cosmetic dentistry has been around since the 1800s, it is more common than ever today, and people of all ages and genders decide to get cosmetic dental work performed for a variety of reasons.
Porcelain veneers are becoming more common than ever, thanks to the influence of celebrities and influencers who have them.
In addition, 3-D modelling, planning and printing, as well as dental implants are viable options for younger patients (if a tooth is damaged, sometimes it might be preferable to replace it all together instead of just fixing problematic teeth).
Teeth whitening is another mainstream procedure, since it can provide that sparkling white smile without the effort and cost of veneers – it can be a good solution if your teeth are already fairly straight and even.
The Advantages of Cosmetic Dentistry
Many people get cosmetic dental work done because they have a broken, chipped, or missing tooth, or their teeth are discolored due to medications they had to take as a child.
Others get cosmetic dental care because their teeth are misaligned or misshapen, too small for their mouth, their gums are receding, or they simply wish to have that perfectly white and symmetrical “Hollywood” smile that is usually the result of porcelain veneers.
While some forms of cosmetic dentistry may seem superficial, the boost in self-esteem and confidence can make a major difference in one’s mental health and well-being.
Finding the Right Cosmetic Dentist
If you are the market for any kind of cosmetic dental work, know that the most important thing that you can do is research the various options, talk to your family dentist (they may already offer the procedure or be able to refer you to a dentist, orthodontist, or prosthodontist who does), and ask your friends as well.
Look at their portfolio and check out before and after pictures they should have on their website.
What appeals to you about the “after” shots and how does that align with your goals?
When you consult with a cosmetic dentist, bring a list of questions, some examples of teeth and smiles that you like, and any other background research that you’ve done.