Explore the many ways in which a dentist can improve your smile
Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Almost all teeth, even the darkest ones, can be whitened. Akin to using bleach in your washing machine, stains are “oxidized” and thereby the dark coloring is removed. The darker the tooth color, the longer the time that the whitener must be applied. Some tooth sensitivity can be expected during the whitening process. Techniques that involve paint on, tray applied, and light or laser boosted, are all effective.The secret is in the amount of peroxide, the length of time it is applied, and how effective the application technique is. Power whitening is a combination of home and in office whitening. The results are dramatic.
Your main options are in-office or at-home bleaching. (Look for a whitening product that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.) Before starting any whitening treatment, you should speak with your dentist. Your dentist will tell you what, if any, whitening procedures will work best for you.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers your natural tooth. Made from synthetic materials like resin or porcelain, it restores the look of your tooth while protecting it from additional decay or discoloring. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. If your tooth is weak or at risk for further damage, it can crack or break at any moment, meaning you’d have to get a more expensive solution like a dental implant. If there are gaps or your tooth is worn down, it could possible affect other teeth. Finally, discolored or misshapen teeth are always noticeable when you smile. The good news is that most insurances cover crowns and the dental office can work with you on an affordable payment plan to get you a crown and improve your smile.
Veneers are thin shell-like coverings made from porcelain that are bonded to the outer surfaces of the prepared teeth with the help of an adhesive cement. The best thing about porcelain veneers is that their shade and color can be exactly matched with your natural teeth, thereby restoring your smile and facial appearance.They are quite strong and durable, and can therefore last for up to a decade if they are looked after properly.
Not happy with the way your teeth look? Bonding may be the answer. Bonding a tooth is done when the tooth is discolored, misshapen or broken. A tooth with a cavity, chip, or fracture can be filled and bonded at the same time. Bonding consists of a plastic material, like the material used for fillings, which is placed on the tooth and hardened in place with a special curing light. An experienced cosmetic dentist can place, shape and polish a bonded tooth to look natural and blend in with the color of the surrounding teeth, or they can use bonding to lighten the discolored teeth. Bonding can also be used to improve the bite by sculpting the bonding resin to allow the teeth to meet correctly. Bonding can be done for very young or for mature smiles and can be replaced over time.
Thanks to advances in orthodontic treatments, metal brackets are not your only option. Removable aligners, or “invisible braces,” or clear plastic brackets can all be used to straighten crooked or crowded teeth. Braces and Invisalign are used to straighten teeth with overbites, underbites and crowding, and to correct problems such as TMJ. A very small amount of constant pressure over time coaxes the teeth into the proper position. This is planned at the beginning of treatment by the dentist, and corrected, or refined during the process. Retainers are used at the end to keep teeth in their proper positions after active treatment.
Losing a single tooth obviously creates a gap in your mouth, but it also leads to adjacent teeth shifting and affects the structural integrity of your jaw and bones. That can lead to wrinkles, aging and further problems down the road. So what are your options when you lose a single tooth? A conventional bridge is a popular and affordable solution, but the process involves reforming adjacent teeth to hold the bridge. Single tooth implants, however, are the ultimate single-tooth replacement option.
Brushing and Flossing
It may seem obvious, but brushing and flossing are the most important tools for keeping a healthy mouth. Without regular flossing, your mouth and body can really suffer. Bacterial film (or plaque) accumulates on neglected teeth below the gum line. Gums become irritated and bleed and breath starts to smell bad. After a day or two plaque hardens into deposits, called tartar, that make it easier for more plaque to build up. Eventually, lack of flossing can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Fewer teeth lead to facial wrinkles and an aged appearance.
Regular Dental Visits
Going to your dentist twice a year is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your smile. Aside from checking for cavities and oral diseases, and doing routine cleaning, your dentist can also provide other options for making your smile even brighter.