Although dentistry in most parts of the world is overwhelmed with the need to combat disease, the United States is blessed to be able to provide effective preventive measures to help keep our teeth and gums healthy most of the time. For this reason, in recent years more emphasis has been placed on cosmetic treatment. Following is a summary of the most popular options for creating a dazzling smile:
Teeth whitening. This is the most conservative option to boost the attractiveness of your smile. If your teeth are fairly well positioned and your front teeth have not required fillings or crowns, this can be a good quick way to improve your appearance. However, beware that crowns and fillings will not whiten like natural teeth will. There are two professional approaches to teeth whitening—in-office treatment and the take-home option. The in-office approach tends to work faster, but the take-home option is better for people whose teeth tend to be sensitive. Either way, teeth whitening can make a big difference in a hurry.
Orthodontics. Sometimes the biggest roadblock to a great smile is the position of the teeth. In many cases teeth can be repositioned without braces by using clear plastic removable trays. Each successive tray moves the teeth just a bit, so that the final result is teeth that are lined up nicely and just itching to smile. This may take several months to a few years, but the results can last for life if retainers are worn to maintain tooth position.
Bonding. For patients with more drastic needs than whitening or orthodontics can accomplish, bonding can be the right choice. Tooth-colored filling material is bonded onto the teeth so that both the shape and the color of the teeth can be greatly improved in just one visit. This approach can make a big difference in a hurry and with a smaller financial investment than is required for veneers or crowns.
Veneers or crowns. The most attractive and long-lasting approach to smile enhancement is through either veneers or crowns. The teeth are reshaped and either impressions or scans of the teeth are made. A dental laboratory uses the impressions or scans to create the crowns or veneers, which are then bonded onto the existing teeth. This option requires perhaps two to three appointments, and with a good dentist and a good laboratory the final results can be exquisite.
Which option(s) would be best for your smile? This is an important decision, best made in conjunction with your dental professional. Whatever you might decide, enjoy the great opportunities we have in this country for excellent preventive dental services. We truly have great reason to smile!
Dr. Bill Griffin can be reached at City Center Dental Care. Phone number is 757-873-3001.