Right or wrong we often make assumptions about people based on how they look. A confident, attractive smile plays an important role in a person’s image. When you look good, you feel good, and if you’re pleased with your smile, you’re more likely to wear it! If the real you is hiding behind an unattractive smile, you may want to consider some cosmetic options. Cosmetic dentistry refers to a host of dental treatments designed to enhance the smile and correct chipped, cracked, discolored, and unevenly spaced teeth. There are many cosmetic options available today including whitening, veneers and all-ceramic crowns, bonding, orthodontic treatment (braces or Invisalign), and tooth-colored fillings and inlays.
There are three standard methods that our office uses to professionally whiten the teeth. Each uses a peroxide-based gel. Opalescence Go is a kit of several premade “trays” that are placed against the teeth daily for 30 minutes to an hour for 10 days. Another method we like is Opalescence custom trays which look like clear orthodontic retainers. The gel is placed into these trays which are made specifically to fit your teeth and worn one to two hours a day at home. Many patients also like our in-office treatment called ZOOM where we whiten your teeth in one hour in the dental chair. It is important to note that existing porcelain restorations or composite (bonded fillings) will not bleach, and teeth with heavy intrinsic stains such as those caused by tetracycline sometimes don’t lighten well. In these cases, veneers or all-ceramic crowns may be considered.
A veneer is a porcelain or ceramic facing that is “glued” over the front of the tooth. Veneers can close spaces between teeth and make crooked teeth look straight. Composite “bonding” is another choice for covering the surface of the front teeth and is less expensive than porcelain veneers but typically does not last as long and sometimes does not look as natural. When teeth are severely crowded or if there are existing crowns with exposed, dark margins, all-ceramic crowns may be a better option. These types of crowns eliminate the “black line” you see at the gumline in traditional porcelain-fused- to-metal crowns.
More and more adults have been enhancing their smiles by getting braces or using an invisible retainer system like Invisalign. Orthodontics can not only make your smile more beautiful but also correct problems with your bite. Bite correction and tooth alignment may even be recommended before placement of veneers or other cosmetic restorations to help your new restorations last longer.
Amalgam, or silver fillings, can make teeth look dark or gray, and replacing them with tooth-colored restorations such as composite fillings or ceramic inlays can make teeth look healthier and brighter. In cases of large silver fillings, restoring with crowns may be necessary.
There are so many options available today for getting a beautiful, natural looking smile. Don’t hide behind those crooked, discolored, or chipped teeth. Let the real you shine by seeing a dentist and finding out how you can improve your smile!