Modern cosmetic dentistry is a field of choices. Treatments exist for every type of patient. So it’s doubly important that you take time to consider exactly what type of patient you are. Consider the following factors, and how they matter in your treatment:
- Price – Cosmetic dental work can be expensive. As many aesthetic treatments aren’t covered by dental insurance, it can be pricey to make over a smile. Fortunately, there are lower-cost options like whitening and bonding that still produce dramatic results. Keep in mind that there’s always a compromise – cheaper cosmetic treatments tend not to last as long as pricier porcelain restorations. Draw up a budget for your cosmetic aims, and talk to your dentist about which treatments fall in the target price range.
- Dental anxiety – Fear of dental treatment can make more invasive procedures stressful. If you’re concerned about discomfort and dentistry-induced nerves, it may be best to choose procedures that don’t require tooth reduction. At the same time, most dentists offer forms of sedation to help patients feel at ease, and all will provide anesthesia to prevent pain. Discuss your options with your dentist’s office.
- Your ideal smile – Exactly what are the changes you would like to make? Look at photos of celebrities, or friends and family members. Consider what you love about certain smiles, and what you dislike about your own. Knowing the specific tweaks you’d like to make will help you choose a treatment.
Second Step: Research Your Cosmetic Dental Options
Learn more about aesthetic procedures to see which one gels with you and your life. A few of the most common cosmetic services include:
- Teeth whitening – Hydrogen peroxide gel is applied to your teeth, where it penetrates enamel to break up staining compounds. The gel may be catalyzed with a special light. You’re also able to whiten at home, but this means more gradual results. Whitening may not seem like the path to an entirely new smile, but the brighter results are impressive, and can change your overall appearance.
- Dental bonding – Tooth-colored composite is bonded to your teeth. This fills spaces that are lacking in some way – gaps between teeth, discolored areas, cracks or chips – and creates a more homogeneous smile. Bonding is performed chairside, so there’s no need for temporaries or multiple appointments (this also lowers its cost).
- Porcelain veneers – V-shaped, porcelain restorations are bonded over natural teeth. Veneers are the most enduring way to change your front teeth; they should last for decades. They are also stain-resistant, and may be crafted to created any type of smile.
- Dental crowns – Caps are bonded over natural teeth. Crowns are more durable and substantial than veneers, and restore a greater amount of structure. Once your crowns are in place, they will look and function similarly to your natural molars.
- Dental contouring – Your natural teeth are reshaped to alter your smile. Contouring is a simple procedure, and can create a symmetry that many smiles lack.
- Cosmetic gum surgery – The gum line is reshaped to enhance or reduce its appearance. Some patients have gummy smiles, showing too much tissue when they bare their teeth. Others have experienced gum recession and find their tooth roots exposed. Gum surgery resolves problems at both ends of the gum-exposure spectrum.
- Orthodontic treatment – Your teeth (and potentially your jaws) are realigned to fit together properly and create a straight smile. Orthodontic treatment doesn’t always mean braces – myriad alternative options now exist for adults seeking straightening.