Virtually every adult will tell you a health smile is important, be it for social reasons – – 96% of adults feel having an attractive smile increases your appeal to the opposite sex – – or career reasons – – 74% will tell you an unattractive smile can get in the way of career success. Despite the vast majority placing great importance on healthy, attractive smiles, nearly one third of adults will admit to being “concerned by the look of their teeth.”
If you’re among the 18% who go to lengths to conceal their teeth in photos, we have one question for you: Why? Why continue to suffer when the solution is so easy?
All About Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is any dental work used to improve the appearance of your teeth, gums, or bite. Cosmetic dentistry can involve major repairs or be as simple as a bleaching treatment to put the pearl back in your pearly whites. Many patients turn to cosmetic dentistry to repair discolored, chipped, or misshapen teeth. Cosmetic dentists can also fix missing teeth, realign crooked teeth, or restore teeth that have become worn. Some of the most common procedures include bleaching, reshaping and contouring, bonding, crowns, and veneers.
While it has cosmetic in its name, cosmetic dentistry isn’t strictly for appearances. Cosmetic dentistry can also help repair oral problems such as having a misaligned bite or replacing missing teeth before bone loss can occur in the jaw.
This is probably the most well-known and simplest of cosmetic dental procedures. It involves applying a chemical solution to your teeth to re-whiten them. Bleaching is a common solution for discolored or stained teeth, or if you just want to turn your smile up a shade or two. An East Lyme cosmetic dentist can perform the procedure for you in-office, or you can try an at-home whitening procedure.
If you whiten at home, expect to wait three to four weeks before seeing results. If you visit your East Lyme dentist, you’ll likely see results after one or two 45-minutes sessions.
Reshaping and contouring
Reshaping and contouring is done to correct chipped, misshapen or crooked teeth. Through reshaping and contouring, an East Lyme cosmetic dentist can improve the shape, length, or position of your teeth. Contouring may also help improve small bite problems.
If you want subtle changes to an otherwise healthy smile, reshaping and contouring may be right for you. For additional smile enhancement, reshaping is often paired with bonding.
If you’ve ever had a cavity covered with tooth-colored material, you’ve had a bonding procedure. During bonding, your cosmetic dentist will use tooth-colored material to fill in gaps or improve the color of your teeth. Bonding materials are often used for chipped or slightly decayed teeth. The beauty of bonding is that it can be completed in a single visit to your East Lyme cosmetic dentist. Once complete, bonding can last for several years. The downside is bonding material is more susceptible to chipping and staining than some other cosmetic dentistry restorations.
While bonding is used as a filler for teeth, crowns are caps that cover the entire tooth. The downside to crowns is they can be costly and time-consuming. The upside is they last longer than any other cosmetic dentistry restorations. Crowns are typically reserved for cases when no other cosmetic dentistry procedure will be effective.
A good choice to fix discolored, chipped, misshapen, crooked, or uneven teeth, veneers involve placing a thin piece of plastic or porcelain over the front of your teeth. Veneers are often an alternative to bonding and crowns. The procedure is relatively painless and requires little or no anesthesia. Your cosmetic dentist will take an impression of your teeth then create a custom-made veneer which will be cemented onto your tooth or teeth.
If you have porcelain veneers applied, expect to pay your dentist more than one visit, as porcelain veneers are made in a laboratory. Veneers offer a longer-term solution than bonding, and are less prone to color alteration over time.
Which procedure is right for you?
Ready to improve your smile? Now that you know some of the options, you and your dentist can discuss which cosmetic dentistry procedure is right for you.