Stop Hiding Smile
Between camera phones and social media, more of our lives are being captured in pictures and on video than in previous generations. With appearance more important than ever, having a great smile is often sought after.
Unfortunately, there are numerous reasons why a person may be self-conscious about their smile. Whether it is due to age, an injury, or poor oral hygiene, dental conditions can occur that could prevent someone from confidently smiling. This article will examine some of the more common conditions and how cosmetic dentistry can be used to remedy them.
Tooth Discoloration or Staining
Everyone should all be flossing and brushing daily but even with the most thorough oral hygiene regimen, teeth are susceptible to losing their luster over time. Certain foods, drinks like coffee, and tobacco use, can all cause the teeth to yellow with prolonged exposure. Patients that are concerned with tooth discoloration may opt for whitening treatments to remove surface stains.
When it comes to tooth whitening, there are two options: professional and at-home.
- Professional: Performed either in the dentist’s office or via prescription, professional treatments are typically more effective as the bleaching agent used are of a higher concentration. Depending on the type of treatment, cost can range from $300 to over $1,500.
- At-home: Available over-the-counter at pharmacies and drugstores, these options can be used at the patient’s home. Whitening trays, strips, mouth rinses, and toothpastes are some of the forms available and are typically hydrogen peroxide based.
In addition to whitening treatments, patients can minimize any potential tooth discoloration by avoiding the things that cause staining to begin with. Flossing should be done daily or after meals and brushing should be done two times per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Tobacco, coffee, tea, sodas, or other staining items should be avoided or consumption minimized.
Cracked or Chipped Teeth
In addition to creating functionality and sensitivity issues, a cracked or chipped tooth can be unsightly. For relatively small chips or cracks, dental bonding is often used to repair the tooth, prevent further damage, and restore appearance. With bonding, a tooth-colored resin is applied to the tooth, shaped, and hardened with a high intensity light.
Should a crack or chip be significant and not a candidate for dental bonding, a crown could be place over the entire tooth. Typically made of porcelain, crowns allow the remaining tooth to be salvaged and like bonding materials, are color matched to the surrounding natural teeth.
Traditionally, the solution for missing teeth has been conventional dentures or dental bridges. While these treatments can be suitable and may cost less initially, many patients find these restorations to be uncomfortable and visually unappealing. Dentures, for example, only rest on a patient’s gums and therefore, are prone to shifting out of place creating functionality issues and discomfort.
A great alternative to dentures or dental bridges, dental implants are quickly becoming the industry standard for replacing lost teeth. Dental implants are surgically imbedded into the jawbone and act as replacement tooth roots. The implants lie below the gumline and are therefore, not visible. A replacement crown is mounted onto the implant creating a stronger, more sturdy restoration.