Whether you realize it or not, one of the most memorable features about you is your smile. Your smile will convey a certain impression about you, whether it’s confidence or insecurity. If you’re not sure your smile gives the impression of confidence, it might be time to consider cosmetic dentistry.
How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Benefit You—According to Science
Many believe that pursuing cosmetic dentistry is about fueling one’s vanity; however, it’s much more! A brilliant smile gives you confidence. In turn, it can elevate your mood, improve physical health, and leave a good impression on all those who see it.
Research also indicates that a good smile induces more pleasure in the brain than eating chocolate. It can promote healthier relationships and could even lengthen your lifespan.
There are oral health factors involved with improving your smile as well. Certain procedures can help to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. For example, braces can reduce overcrowding and crooked roots that increase your likelihood of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Certain procedures might also reduce your risk for oral cancers.
The fact that you get a brighter, straighter, more aesthetically appealing smile is just an added bonus to these many health benefits!
7 Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures to Consider
Now that you better understand the many mental and physiological benefits of cosmetic dentistry, you might be interested in having a procedure done for yourself. Let’s look at a few different cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Periodontal procedures refer to surgeries performed on your gums. It could be in response to a medical problem like gum disease or as a cosmetic procedure, such crown lengthening procedures, often called gum lifts.
“Gum lifts aren’t painful,” says an article from a Texas cosmetic dentist, Dr. Bret Dyer, D.D.S. “Performed with just a soft tissue laser, you won’t be in excruciating pain or even bleed much during a gum lift. The procedure takes under an hour, and all you’ll need is a local anesthetic to numb the area.”
There are also gum grafts used to treat gum recession. The natural recession of your gum line not only looks strange, but it can also cause your teeth to be extra sensitive, increase the likelihood of tooth decay, cause nerve damage, or contribute to bone loss. Gum grafts replace the missing soft tissue to restore health and vitality to your smile.
Braces are designed to straighten a smile, and adults often need them, even if they had them as a child. To help with the embarrassment of wearing braces, there are clear braces that are made with clear or tooth-colored brackets, so they’re less noticeable.
The braces could also be placed on the inside of the teeth so they’re invisible when you talk or smile.
Another clear teeth-straightening device is Invisalign, the brand name of clear aligners. These aligners are made of clear plastic that are shaped to help your teeth move gradually. Every month or so, the aligners will be adjusted slightly to help your teeth move over the course of a couple years.
Not everyone is a good candidate for Invisalign. It can’t fix everything like large gaps between teeth, overcrowding, tooth shape, severe overbite or underbite, and midline movements. You may need a combination of Invisalign and braces for a finished look.
Additionally, there are many off-brand clear aligners that can be ordered on the internet at a lesser fee. However, any orthodontist will tell you the risks.
“There’s more to treating a smile than just moving visible portions of the teeth,” Sean Murphy, AAO associate general counsel told Bloomberg.com, pointing out that failing to see an orthodontist in person can limit the improvements in your smile.
It may work for some, but if you have a complex case, you’ll see limited improvement, and you run the risk of worsening your dental health as a result.
When a tooth is lost or pulled, implants can be used to replace it. It’s done by inserting a small titanium screw directly into the jawbone. A crown is then connected to that screw.It sounds kind of scary, but the patient is usually under anesthesia for the procedure, and the pain and risks of complication afterward are low. The results are permanent, and the implant is almost indistinguishable from the rest of the teeth.
When a tooth is severely damaged, composite bonding is a good solution. It’s the standard for filling cavities, but it can also be used in cosmetic restorations.
“Composite bonding usually is an ideal and less expensive solution than crowns or veneers for people with chips, gaps between the teeth, staining and discoloration, slight crookedness and misshapen teeth,” explains the Consumer Guide to Dentistry.
Your dentist may use direct composite bonding, which uses tooth-colored composites to fix the problem, or adhesive bonding, which involves attaching something to hide the problem. For example, veneers, bridges, inlays/onlays, and metal-free crowns are attached using adhesive composite bonding. Any of these adjustments can drastically improve the appearance of your smile.
Teeth typically aren’t completely symmetrical. Additionally, the enamel can be worn down at the tips, giving them a chipped, uneven look that you might not like. It’s typically genetic, but you don’t have to live with it.
Many cosmetic dentists will use a simple procedure to correct small imperfections and uneven teeth. In many cases, the procedure can be done quickly without extra dental work using a filing tool. Other times, it may need to be combined with bonding, whitening, or veneers to give you the desired results.
Bridges and Dentures
If your teeth are severely damaged or broken from decay, you may need dentures or bridges. You probably associate dentures with the elderly who have lost their teeth, but anyone with severe tooth damage can qualify for dentures.Dentures are made to replace teeth after they’ve been pulled. They’re a full set of teeth that can be attached to the gums and roof of the mouth using a temporary adhesive. Dentures are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth, and they can be made to fit the whole mouth or just part of it if some original teeth remain.
Bridges are very similar to dentures except they’re fixed to your gums, and they’re only partial. A bridge is an artificial tooth or grouping of teeth that covers large gaps or missing teeth. It’s usually cemented into place and is considered permanent, although certain circumstances may warrant the repair or replacement of a bridge.
Any of these procedures might seem appealing to you if you’re unsatisfied with your smile and ready to regain your health and confidence.