Your budget may not allow for extravagances like designer clothes, fancy cars or million-dollar homes, but thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, you can imitate the bright, white smiles of your favorite Hollywood celebrities.
Dental offices aren’t just for check-ups, extractions and fillings anymore. While cosmetic dentistry has been around for decades, new materials and procedures now make it possible for nearly anyone to achieve a smile that’s red-carpet ready.
“Cosmetic dentistry can literally transform a smile by offering a variety of solutions to … commonly occurring dental concerns,” says Dr. Lisa Marie Samaha with Port Warwick Dental Arts in Newport News, Virginia.
White Teeth are Always in Style
The marketplace is flooded with products that promise a gleaming, white smile. Many over-the-counter options, like bleaching strips and gels, do work with some success, but dental office products typically deliver more intense whitening.
“The stuff that’s sold in [dental] offices is stronger and can have greater effects in terms of getting rid of discoloration of the teeth,” explains Dr. Clay Weisberg with Eastern Virginia Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Chesapeake.
At Port Warwick Dental, Samaha uses the Kör Whitening system, which delivers fast results with minimal-to-no tooth sensitivity.
“The great thing about teeth whitening is nearly everyone’s a candidate,” Samaha says. “So long as your teeth and gums are healthy and free of disease prior to whitening, you can receive this safe, effective treatment to lighten the shade of your teeth for a natural-looking, whiter smile.”
Bonding is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures. Chipped teeth can be repaired relatively easily using a composite resin. The resin comes in different shades, so your dentist can match the patched area to the color of your teeth.
Many dentists also have stopped using traditional silver amalgam fillings because they contain small amounts of mercury and can be unsightly. Tooth-colored fillings made from a material similar to bonding are a more cosmetically pleasing option since they blend in with the teeth.
Getting it Straight
Years of being called “metal mouth” is no longer a requirement if you want to straighten your teeth. There are several products, such as Six Month Smile and Invisalign, which straighten teeth without having to endure a mouthful of ugly, metal wires.
Six Month Smile uses tooth-colored braces and wires that match the natural color of the teeth, offering a quick, discreet way to correct crowding, close up spaces between teeth, correct bite issues and straighten tilted or flared teeth.
In contrast, Invisalign uses thin, clear trays to slowly straighten teeth—no braces required!
Veneers and dental implants are the Cadillacs of cosmetic dentistry. Both are pricey, but offer long-term results.
Veneers can totally change the appearance of a smile by filling large gaps, correcting alignment and fixing other surface flaws. They are made from ultra-thin pieces of porcelain that are then bonded to the fronts of the teeth.
Dental implants are an option for people with missing teeth. In simple terms, the procedure involves inserting artificial tooth roots into the jawbone, which then holds a replacement tooth or bridge.
Cosmetic dentistry offers many options to help you achieve a beautiful smile, but don’t forget the basics. There’s no substitute for proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
“The biggest thing is making sure you start at the beginning and get a good [dental] exam and figure out what the patient’s goals are,” Weisberg says. “You want to make sure you’re attacking the problem at the source.”