A better question is what is the value of cosmetic dental procedures.

What is the value of a smile? Our smile influences our personal and professional lives, aiding others in forming a particular impression of who we are as individuals. So what does your smile say about you?

As more people continue to realize the value of a smile, we hear more from family and friends about cosmetic dental procedures. But you’re still wondering about the cost and the value of a more beautiful smile, as well as what cosmetic dentistry has to offer. So let’s talk about it. Here are the top 5 cosmetic dental options.

Overview of 5 Top Cosmetic Dental Options

Teeth whitening, cosmetic bonding, and straightening or orthodontics are three cosmetic upgrades that have been embraced by millions of Americans. You could say they have a huge fan base. However, these procedures aren’t all fad. Many cosmetic dentistry procedures fill very functional purposes while also enhancing your smile. 

Dental veneers and dental implants are two cosmetic options that are rising stars in the industry. With increasingly better technology and techniques, these procedures are both more comfortable and longer-lasting than ever before. Implants, especially, are an excellent option for restoring beauty, as well as function.

1.Teeth Whitening

Who uses it?

In 2018, more than 40.5 million Americans whitened their teeth. All users wanted a brighter, fresher smile. A majority of users were millennials and baby boomers, but every age group loves whitening. All except children, who shouldn’t try it and usually don’t need it.

What is it?

Teeth whitening is perhaps the most “cosmetic” of all cosmetic dental procedures since its most common use is for external stains on your teeth. External stains come from things like coffee and tobacco, and they are typically handled with a prescribed at-home whitening system or an in-office system that can make your teeth up to 10 shades lighter. 

Be careful about getting just any off-the-shelf brand of tooth whitener. Look for an ADA label, since this can help to ensure the product won’t be dangerous. And don’t be disappointed if you don’t see much change using an over-the-counter (OTC) product since these packages can’t legally use dental grade carbamide peroxide.

Professional whitening is the safest, most-effective whitening treatment. With the supervision of your dental team, you’ll discover teeth whitening can be a breeze with little to no side effects. We only offer whitening solutions that we know will provide results without harming your enamel. And our treatments won’t cause extreme sensitivity as most OTC products do.

Also, be aware that even if you use an in-office program like what Tomasik Family Dental offers, the pearly whiteness won’t last forever. That’s one reason we devised the Whitening for Life program, so after years of wear and tear and drinks of coffee or wine, you can refresh your smile again.

Finally, internal tooth staining, though less common, is a condition that no OTC whitening product can help. Such intrinsic tooth discoloration can be caused by a variety of things, from tooth trauma to chemical or mineral overload. In such cases, bleaching could cause further damage to an already compromised tooth.

To determine what type of stains you have and what procedures are necessary for correcting the problem, consult with your dentist and discuss appropriate treatment options.

How much does it cost?

Teeth whitening is often the least expensive of all your cosmetic dentistry options. That said, whitening cannot fix crooked, broken, or missing teeth, and it doesn’t last as long as some other whitening options, such as veneers, either. 

2. Cosmetic Bonding

Who uses it?

It’s hard to gather statistics on cosmetic dental bonding procedures, mostly because there are such a wide array of uses for composite bonding material. From simply replacing a prominent amalgam filling to changing the shape or a tooth, the composite bonding material is versatile in the gaps it fills (pun intended!).

What is it?

Dental bonding is a procedure that uses a sculptable resin to fill in cracks or gaps, replace old fillings, fix chips, recolor, and even reshape teeth. The composite bonding material can be colored to match other teeth or to upgrade your smile to the color you always wanted.

Because composite bonding doesn’t affect your tooth enamel more than some slight abrasion, your dentist usually will not need to use an anesthetic for the process. Typically, the procedure is simple, starting with the application of a mild acid to the tooth to help with etching, making tiny little grooves that enhance the bond between your tooth and the composite resin. Next, the composite will be applied and sculpted into the right shape. And finally, your dentist will harden the substance and polish it up to look naturally perfect.

The resin used for bonding is more versatile but not as durable as the material used for something like porcelain veneers. Its versatility makes it perfect for smaller projects, such as a filling or gap, and in such cases, the bonding could last 10 years or more. However, for larger areas, veneers could be a better option, since the porcelain used is sturdy and longer-lasting.

How much does it cost?

Once again, the cost depends a lot on the amount of work needed to get your teeth looking the way you want. Since most single-tooth bonding procedures take an hour or less, it is one of the cheapest dental cosmetic procedures.

3. Teeth Straightening / Orthodontics

Who uses it?

Over 4 million Americans are wearing braces, and at least 1 million of those are adults. This demographic wanted to straighten crooked teeth, fix problems with crowding or spacing, or eliminate under/overbites.

What is it?

Orthodontics’ technology has seen stunning advances in the past decade or two. Since the primary purpose of orthodontics is to manipulate your teeth and/or jaw for better alignment, discomfort is one of the first things people think about when considering straightening.

The good news is that the current innovations in dental technology have significantly reduced not only the unsightliness of braces but also the pain involved. Welcome Invisalign! At Tomasik Family Dental, our patients love these clear, plastic aligners. They are inconspicuous, and you take them out when you eat or brush. And for those of you who remember the days of metal gouging your inner lip and those tricky, uncomfortable bands, those days are over. 

Of course, orthodontics is about more than beauty. Fundamentally, orthodontistry addresses functional problems as a first priority and aesthetic problems secondarily. Crooked teeth and malocclusion can result in the accelerated risk of periodontal diseases and cavities, as well as TMJ.

How much does it cost?

The cost of teeth straightening can vary widely, depending on the extent of your needs. Your dentist will first do a thorough evaluation of your teeth and jaw. Then, taking your goals into consideration, a treatment plan will be laid out. Be aware that treatment time can vary a lot, too. Teeth straightening is a personalized processed.

4. Veneers

Who uses it?

No longer unique to the rich and famous, veneers are becoming one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures. There are no solid figures given, but some sources place veneers 2nd only to teeth whitening. Of course, the explosion of interest, the improvements in quality, and the decreasing cost of veneers all work together to make veneer wearers an ever-increasing demographic.

What is it?

There are several varieties of veneers, but porcelain veneers are generally considered the best option all around because they are more durable. Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin, tooth-colored porcelain shells for your teeth. They will need to be custom-made so that they fit your mouth correctly. Once they’re ready, your dentist will shave off a very thin layer of tooth enamel and cement the veneers in place.

Veneers can be used to brighten your smile, cover up small problems, such as gaps or crooked teeth, and strengthen teeth that are compromised. As mentioned earlier, porcelain veneers can be a higher-end option for tooth whitening and are generally preferable to the composite resin used for bonding.

However, be sure to discuss your oral health with your dentist first. If you have highly-sensitive teeth, veneers might not be the best fit for you, since a small amount of enamel will be removed, which can heighten tooth sensitivity in some people. Also be aware that porcelain veneers are considered a permanent plan since you will want protection for your tooth once that fine layer of enamel is missing.

Make sure you have a competent cosmetic dentist who has a history of placing veneers that people love. Such a dentist will not recommend veneers if it’s not right for your situation. There’s nothing like getting veneers and then wishing you hadn’t because the “new teeth” don’t fit, affect your bite, cause pain, or look bad. Make sure you ask questions and look at previous results of your cosmetic dentist’s work.

How much does it cost?

This is one of those areas where cheaper is not usually better. Because veneers are considered “permanent,” you’ll want a set that feels right, looks good, and is well-made. Too many people have opted for a lower-end price with a less-experienced dentist and regretted it. 

5. Implants

Who uses it?

At least half a million implants have been placed annually in the last several years. And that number is increasing rapidly, thanks to better technology. Now people with a missing tooth or teeth don’t have as much risk of bone loss and facial sagging.

What is it?

I would classify dental implants as perhaps the most utilitarian of all the smile makeovers in this list. Not only do they look good, but they also provide stability for eating, talking, and bone health.

Dentures and bridges will soon be in the minority because they’re less comfortable and less permanent. Dentures are commonly removable, which is a far from stable option; and bridges, while supported by other existing teeth, have no root for foundational strength,

Implants, on the other hand, behave like natural teeth. The titanium post is as nearly bone-like as possible and, when placed in the jaw, does much the same work as a tooth root. Roots are not only foundationally supportive, strengthening the tooth crown and your bite; they also stimulate jawbone health. Without either a healthy tooth root or a replacement option such as what an implant offers, the jawbone deteriorates, and your face begins to sag.

Be aware that dental implants do generally require surgical placement of the new “root.” After that surgery, your jawbone needs time to heal and fuse with the post. When the fusion is complete, an abutment is usually placed to act as a sort of collar between the post and replacement crown. Finally, a crown is affixed, and your mouth is like new!

How much does it cost?

As with anything else, the cost will depend on your situation. Your dentist will sit down with you, do a full evaluation, and then discuss your best options for a treatment plan. While a costly investment, implants can be life-changing. If implants are the best option for you, Tomasik Family Dental will work with you to address insurance or financing issues. We know how to fight for the good of our patients, and we always make you our top priority.

 

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