Everybody wants a dazzling, gorgeous, knock-em-dead smile, but only a very few lucky people are born without any dental imperfections whatsoever, and even for those who are, that smile isn’t going to stay perfect forever without a lot of good care and maintenance. Truthfully, having a great smile isn’t just about looking good in pictures. The little secret behind many of the flawless pearly whites beaming out at you from Facebook group shots and Instagram selfies is, more often than not, cosmetic dentistry. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Straight, well-spaced, clean teeth are healthy teeth, and good dental health means good overall health, so getting work done on your teeth to make them look better goes hand in hand with keeping up a healthy lifestyle in general. It’s also a fact that having a smile you can be proud of lifts your self-esteem, makes you more confident, approachable, and outgoing, and can have a measurable positive effect on your mental wellbeing. There’s really no aesthetic issue with your teeth that can’t be fixed by a good dentist, whether it’s crookedness, discoloration, damage, or anything else that makes you feel self-conscious about showing off a toothy grin. So what are some of the most popular ways of fixing up less-than-perfect smile? Let’s review.
What else could be number one on this list? Tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure because almost everyone suffers from some tooth staining and discoloration from foods, smoking, beverages, medications, and other habits. Whitening toothpastes can help a bit, but if you want that truly blinding-white smile, you’re going to have to have a dentist thoroughly clean and bleach your teeth. Whitening doesn’t last forever, so expect to make repeated trips back to your dentist’s office if you get hooked on having the whitest teeth around.
If your concern about your smile is that it shows too much of your gums, there’s a variety of potential ways to mitigate it. Laser treatments can fix minor cases, but if you’re ready to fix a seriously gummy smile, you can look into orthodontics, sculpting, and even lip or maxillofacial bone surgery to correct it.
Inlays and Onlays
When a tooth has a cavity that’s too large to hold a filling, an inlay (which goes in the center of the tooth, between the cusps) or an onlay (which covers more surface area than an inlay) may be the answer, restoring functionality and a healthy look to a damaged tooth. Classic Dental Smiles recommends overlays for cases where tooth decay is too severe for a filling, but not quite bad enough that a crown would be required.
Front-facing teeth that are stained, worn, chipped, or otherwise don’t look their best can be covered up with veneers, thin tooth-colored shells. Dental veneers are made of porcelain or composite resin. Your teeth will have to undergo some permanent alterations, including removal of enamel, to prepare them for veneers, so consider carefully whether you could try a less invasive procedure, like whitening, to get similar results.
If you have an overbite, crooked teeth, or teeth that are either crowded too close together or spaced too far apart, braces have always been the answer. If you don’t want to spend months and months with a mouthful of metal, “invisible” braces, also known as clear-aligners, are an even better solution. These transparent, removable molds are custom-fit for your teeth, and every two weeks you switch them out for a new set until your teeth are guided into their proper places. Most people won’t even notice you’re wearing them.
Missing teeth can really make you shy about letting people see you smile, even though millions of Americans have lost one or more teeth. Rather than deal with the hassle of dentures or grind down your other teeth to fit in a bridge, you can get dental implants, which are prosthetic teeth mounted to metal posts inserted in the bone where your natural tooth roots would grow.
There’s no shame in wishing you had flawless teeth and a perfect smile, and with all of the options cosmetic dentistry can provide you with, there’s no reason not to make it happen for yourself. You can find solutions that will fit in with your budget and your willingness to undergo major permanent dental alterations. Just figure out what your major areas of concern are and find a dentist you like and trust who can work out a plan with you to help you get the bright, beautiful, confident smile you’ve always wanted.