Cosmetic Dental Treatments to Improve Your Smile
Having nice teeth is the basis of a beautiful smile. Your smile is often the first thing people notice, so you want it to look its best. A nice smile can help you in your personal and professional life. It can give you the confidence to ace an interview or approach a potential romantic partner. However, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute, as many as 32% of Americans say they’re “concerned by the look of their teeth”. If you’re one of those people, you can visit the dentist for several options that can cure your problem.
What Are Common Concerns About the Look of Teeth?
Some of the most common concerns include discoloration, crookedness, and a chipped or broken tooth. Discoloration can result from aging, certain medications, smoking cigarettes, drinking dark beverages like coffee and tea, or genetics. When you’re considering a visit to the dentist to improve the appearance of your teeth, it’s important to think about what you don’t like. Is it only discoloration? Do you have a large gap? Do you have several things that need fixing? Once you have identified what bothers you, you can explore some options.
What Type of Dentist Should I See?
If you are seeking to improve the appearance of your teeth, it is best to visit the dentist that specializes in cosmetics. A cosmetic dentist specializes in aesthetic treatments for teeth. It is rare that you would see a cosmetic dentist to fill a cavity or get braces. They specialize in anything that affects the surface appearance of your teeth and smile. Services can include whitening, bonding, and veneers.
Some dentists may offer only one or two of these services. If that is the case, you may need to consult another dentist for other treatments. For instance, if you’re seeking veneers and whitening, you may need to see two different dentists.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Have you ever looked at a famous actor or model and noticed how perfectly white their teeth are? Chances are, they’ve had their teeth whitened. Teeth whitening is a type of cosmetic dental treatment that removes stains and discoloration from the surface of the teeth.
The process uses a bleaching agent to break up and remove any built-up plaque or bacteria on your teeth. Teeth whitening is often done in-office at the dentist, but there are also take-home kits that you can use on your own. For safety reasons, it’s best to have the procedure at the dentist’s office. A professional dentist can also use a higher concentration of bleach than over-the-counter treatments. Don’t worry about time when it comes to this procedure. A typical in-office whitening session only takes about an hour!
What Are Veneers?
Veneers are a great option for those who don’t like the look of their teeth. Veneers are thin shells made of porcelain or composite material that go over the surface of your existing teeth. They can cover chips and cracks, hide gaps, whiten teeth, or even change the shape of a tooth. Veneers last for about 10 years, according to Colgate. They are also resistant to staining, meaning you don’t have to worry about them yellowing like your natural teeth.
Veneers usually take two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, your dentist will prepare your teeth by removing a thin layer of enamel. This removal is necessary to fit the veneers correctly and ensure they look natural. At the second visit, your dentist will bond the veneer to your tooth. If you need a combination of whitening and reshaping, veneers are a good pick.
What is Dental Bonding?
Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored material, such as resin or porcelain, to the surface of your teeth. It’s a great option if you have chips or cracks that you want to hide, as well as discoloration. Bonding is also less expensive than veneers, so it’s a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much money.
You only need to visit the dentist once to complete this procedure. Your dentist will match the color of your bonding material to your existing teeth, and then apply it directly onto the surface of your tooth. Next, the dentist uses a special light to harden and polish it for a natural look.
Dental bonding may last anywhere from three to 10 years, depending on how well you take care of it. You’ll need to avoid chewing hard items such as ice or pen caps and brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush.
How About Dental Implants?
In recent years, dental implants have become a popular option for those who want to improve the look of their teeth. Implants are artificial tooth roots surgically implanted into your jawbone, then topped with a natural-looking crown. This procedure is usually recommended for those who are missing teeth. However, it can also hide gaps or give you a beautiful smile.
The process is quite lengthy and involves multiple steps. First, visit the dentist for a consultation. This visit will determine if implants are right for you and discuss any risks or possible complications. At this time, the dental team will do a thorough examination of your teeth and jawbone. They will take X-rays and ask questions about your medical history.
If the dental team approves you, you’ll need surgery to implant the artificial root. A dental surgeon will place the implant into your jawbone and allow it to heal for several months. Once it’s healed, your dentist will attach the crown, and you’ll be ready to show off your new smile.
Do Cosmetic Dentists Use Braces?
While braces have a major effect on the appearance of teeth, this treatment doesn’t fall under cosmetic dentistry. Orthodontics handles this type of work. Braces fix crooked teeth by gradually shifting them into the desired position over time. If you have severely misaligned teeth, your dentist may recommend braces to straighten them.
The process involves wearing a series of brackets and wires on your teeth. The brackets are attached to your teeth and the wires are tightened periodically by the dentist until your teeth move into their desired positions. Braces typically last for about 12 to 24 months. Thanks to technology, clear aligners are also available.
Which Option is Best?
The best option depends on your circumstances and budget. If you want a quick fix, teeth whitening or dental bonding may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re missing teeth or have huge gaps that need filling, you may need implants. It’s important to visit the dentist and consult them before making any decisions, as they will be able to make personalized recommendations for your situation. They can provide more information about the risks and potential outcomes of each procedure so you can make an informed decision.
What Are the Costs Associated with Each Treatment?
The costs of each treatment vary depending on your individual needs and the complexity of the procedure. Teeth whitening typically ranges from $100 to $400 and can be done at home or in the dentist’s office. Veneers cost anywhere from $550 to $2,000 per tooth, while dental bonding is much less expensive at around $300 to $600 per tooth. Dental implants are the most expensive option, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 per tooth. The cost depends on the type of material used and if additional treatments are needed.
When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, be aware that dental insurance usually does not cover any of these treatments. However, some dental practices may offer payment plans to make them more affordable. Visit the dentist to learn more about the cost of your treatment may be.
How Long Do Cosmetic Treatments Last?
Regardless of cosmetic treatment, you must practice good oral hygiene to maintain the results. Teeth whitening can last up to two years with proper care, while veneers and dental bonding usually last between five and ten years. Dental implants typically last around 25 years but may need to be replaced sooner if you don’t take care of them properly.
What Is the Recovery Time for Cosmetic Dental Treatments?
Most treatments only require minimal recovery time and discomfort. Teeth whitening may cause temporary sensitivity for a few days, but this should subside quickly. Veneers and dental bonding don’t require downtime, but the area may be tender afterward. Dental implants require a recovery time of several weeks, but you should be able to return to your normal activities within a few days.
Can Diet Improve the Look of Teeth?
Yes, diet can play a big role in the overall health and appearance of your teeth. Eating foods high in calcium and other vitamins and minerals can help strengthen your teeth and make them look shiny and healthy. Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks can also help keep your teeth looking their best, as sugar can cause plaque buildup and discoloration. You may also want to avoid sticky foods like taffy and caramel, as they can stick to your teeth and damage cosmetic procedures.
Drinking staining liquids like wine, tea, and coffee can also cause discoloration. If you do consume these drinks, make sure to brush your teeth afterward or rinse with water. If you do consume these items after tooth whitening, you may have to get whitening touchups more often.
In addition to food and drinks, certain lifestyle habits affect the appearance of teeth. Smoking and using other tobacco products can cause discoloration and bad breath while grinding teeth can cause chips or other damage. Talking to your dentist may help you identify any habits that could damage your teeth. If you grind your teeth at night, your dentist can recommend a nightguard to sleep with. If you have any questions about how you can change your lifestyle habits to improve the look of your teeth, visit the dentist to see what they advise.
What Should I Look for in a Cosmetic Dentist?
Before any cosmetic dentistry work, you should only trust your teeth in good hands. Do research to ensure you’re working with a qualified, experienced dentist. Look for reviews online or ask family and friends who they recommend. You should also check the dentist offers all the treatments you’re looking for, as some procedures may need to be done by a specialist.
You should also feel comfortable with the dentist. Check to make sure your dentist understands and is willing to answer any questions. With the right dentist, you can get the smile of your dreams and regain confidence in your appearance. Some procedures like tooth whitening may involve going back for future visits, so try to find someone you would be comfortable seeing more than once.
Many cosmetic dentists have websites or social media pages where you can learn about the office and services. By researching thoroughly and following these tips, you’ll be able to find the right cosmetic dentist for you.
How Often Should I Visit the Dentist?
To ensure your teeth are structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing, you should visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular check-ups. These visits help prevent cavities and other dental issues and identify existing problems that need treatment. During these visits, your dentist can also check that any cosmetic treatments are holding up. Even if you replaced all your original teeth with implants, a dentist will still examine your gums and jaw and do x-rays.
Do Dentists Ever Work Together?
Yes, dentists sometimes work together on certain treatments. For example, if you’re getting porcelain veneers, your general dentist may need to refer you to a cosmetic dentist for the procedure. During your initial consultation, your dentist should be able to explain the treatment plan and any specialists you may need to work with.
A general dentist can refer a patient to an orthodontist from the age of seven years. An orthodontist can diagnose and treat problems with the jaw and teeth, including issues like crowded teeth or an overbite. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t know where to go, the dental specialists will point you in the right direction. Visit the dentist to get started with your treatment and possibly get a referral.
If you are unhappy with your smile, you have many options to fix it. Contact Railroad Dental Associates to get started. With the right treatments and healthy habits, we can make your teeth look brighter and more attractive in no time!