According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of surveyed adults feel that having a healthy smile is socially important. The majority of adults feel their smile directly affects their romantic and career lives. If you conceal your teeth when you smile, ask your dentist about these ways to improve your smile’s appearance without surgery or braces.
It’s natural for teeth to change color with age. Each year, Americans spend $1.4 billion on teeth whitening products. There are two ways a cosmetic dentist can help whiten your teeth: with an in-office treatment, or by providing you with a custom mouthpiece tray and solution to use at home. Some patients find at-home whitening to be more convenient, but the process will take significantly longer. At-home whitening can take four weeks or longer, depending on the strength of the peroxide solution used. The in-office dental procedure, however, will whiten your teeth in one to two hours.
Whichever method you choose, whitening your teeth can make a striking difference towards a new and improved smile. Over 82% of people surveyed reported a noticeable difference in their smile after a cosmetic dentist whitened their teeth.
Bonding is a common cosmetic dental procedure where resin colored to match your teeth is used to fill in gaps or chips in your teeth. It’s called bonding because the resin is bonded to the teeth using adhesives and a high intensity curing light. It’s the same procedure sometimes used to fill a cavity or shield an exposed root. If you have small gaps between your teeth, or your teeth are chipped, cracked, or stained, bonding can help improve the appearance of your smile.
A cosmetic dentist can typically provide a bonding procedure in single office visit. Typically bonding will last for several years, but do be aware of the fact that bonding is more prone to become stained and chip than other dental restorations.
Like bonding, the purpose of crowns is to cover discolored or broken teeth. Unlike bonding, however, a crown will cover an entire tooth like a cap. Crowns can be a good solution to covering discolored or poorly shaped teeth. They are also often prescribed to protect weak teeth or to cover a tooth with a large filling or after a root canal.
Crowns can be made from resin, ceramic materials, or metal. Crowns typically require two office visits. In the first visit, your dentist will make a mold of your tooth or capture a digital image of it and send the mold or image to a lab where the crown will be replicated. Once the crown is completed, your dentist will have you back in for a second procedure to apply the crown.
Crowns can be very long lasting if properly cared for. Since they are one of the more costly cosmetic dental procedures, your cosmetic dentist likely won’t prescribe a crown unless no other solution is available.
Veneers are thin, custom crafted shells made from tooth colored porcelain or plastic. They’re designed to cover the front and sides of your teeth to improve their shape and/or color. Longer lasting than bonding but less expensive than crowns, veneers offer a good solution to improving the look of poorly shaped, widely spaced, crooked, chipped or discolored teeth.
Porcelain veneers require two office visits, much as crowns do. The first visit will involve taking a mold of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab where the veneer is made. Before applying the porcelain veneers in your second visit, your cosmetic dentist will need to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth to make room for the veneer shell.
Brushing and Flossing
It would be remiss not to mention the easiest, most important method to improve the appearance of your smile. Only 56.8% of women and 49% of men brush their teeth two times per day as recommended. Even worse: only 22% of people floss daily. To keep your mouth healthy and your smile at its brightest, stay diligent on your brushing and flossing routine. It’s only 5 minutes of your day, after all.