Confident smiles are contagious. If you find yourself experiencing a twinge of insecurity when you look at yourself in pictures, cosmetic dentistry is a great way to restore your confidence. Whether you simply don’t like how stained your teeth have gotten, dislike the gap in your teeth, or find yourself faced with the effects of decay or injury, cosmetic dentistry can renew your smile.
Unfortunately, many people misunderstand the purpose of cosmetic dentistry, how it works, and what its limitations are. To clear up some of these misunderstandings and give you an idea of whether or not it’s right for you, here are some of the most common myths about cosmetic dentistry.
The Facts About Cosmetic Dentistry
1. Cosmetic dentistry results are obvious.
While this was once true, modern technology has greatly improved the methods and materials available to dentists and consequently demystified common myths about cosmetic dentistry. Prosthetic tooth materials are now incredibly realistic, mimicking teeth in strength and gloss, and the color of these materials is carefully matched to each individual’s teeth. The result is that they match your natural teeth perfectly, going unnoticed. If you make more noticeable changes to your smile, your close friends might notice a difference, but this is usually a good thing! Strangers, on the other hand, will have no idea that you have had a cosmetic treatment.
2. Few people get cosmetic treatments.
Cosmetic dentistry is a lot more common than many people think; in fact, the majority of people will get cosmetic dental treatments during their lifetime. This is because several common dental treatments, such as crowns, are actually considered cosmetic treatments.
3. It damages your teeth.
Cosmetic treatments are completely safe for your teeth. First and foremost, Dr. Alhadef is a dentist; while he wants you to love the appearance of your smile, your oral health is the most important factor. He would never perform a procedure that would harm your teeth. In fact, you often have to receive treatments to improve your oral health, such as getting rid of gingivitis or periodontitis, before you can receive cosmetic treatments.
4. It’s never necessary or beneficial.
While the title “cosmetic dentistry” might imply that cosmetic dentistry treatments are entirely about the appearance of your teeth, this is often not the case. While there are solely cosmetic procedures, many treatments provide genuine benefits for your oral health. For example, tooth bonding and veneers can be used for purely cosmetic reasons, but they can also help protect your teeth.
Treatments that help replace missing teeth, such as bridges and dental implants, are particularly essential to the continued health of your mouth. They prevent your teeth from shifting into the gap left by your missing tooth; in doing so, these treatments make chewing easier and lower your chance of getting gum disease or tooth decay. Implants also protect your face shape by preventing the bone loss in your jaw that results from losing teeth.
5. The unique aspects of my smile will disappear.
This is absolutely false, one of the commonest myths about cosmetic dentistry! Cosmetic dentistry is all about giving you a smile that you love, so if you love your pointy canines or gappy smile, you can absolutely keep them. Cosmetic treatments are customizable, so if you need a veneer or crown for a tooth that you feel adds a unique flair to your smile, the piece can be designed to look like your original tooth. If the unique teeth in your smile don’t need any treatment, they can remain untouched.
6. I’m stuck with stained teeth.
While it’s very true that there are stains that even professional teeth-whitening treatments can’t remove, there are ways to free you of stains. Dental bonding, where a tooth-colored resin is put onto your teeth, is one good way to cover up unwanted stains. It’s inexpensive, but the resin will need to be replaced every four to eight years.
Veneers are a longer-lasting but more expensive option. Veneers are thin porcelain sheets that are bonded to the front of your teeth and can be used to hide a single tooth, restore your entire smile, or somewhere in between. With proper care, veneers can last 15 years, but they will eventually need to be replaced.
7. At-home whitening treatments are as safe and effective as professional treatments.
At-home whitening treatments are very common, but the safest and most effective method to whiten your teeth is still to use the professional whitening treatments offered by your dentist. If used properly, at-home treatments don’t damage your enamel, but they can do damage if they’re used too often or if the directions aren’t followed properly.
Since professional treatments are administered by Dr. Alhadef, there’s no chance of you misreading the directions. Professional treatments also use a tray that is customized for your mouth, preventing the whitening gel from coming into contact with your sensitive gums; this prevents the irritation to your gums that can result from at-home whitening strips and prevents the whitening agents from harming the good bacteria in your mouth.
Additionally, at-home treatments often come in the form of a one-size-fits-all strip, which doesn’t always meld to your teeth perfectly. Parts of your teeth may not come into proper contact with the strip, resulting in patches that don’t get whitened. With professional whitening treatments’ custom trays, you won’t have this problem. The professional treatment also produces dramatically better results than whitening strips do, making your teeth up to eight shades lighter.
8. Only braces can fix the gap in my teeth.
Gaps between teeth can be incredibly frustrating, especially if your teeth are otherwise straight. It may not seem worth it to spend years and thousands of dollars to get rid of the gap using braces, but the idea of being stuck with the gap isn’t pleasant for many people.
Thankfully, there are a couple of other ways to fix the gap: dental bonding and veneers. Neither method has the wait time of braces. In dental bonding, the gap is filled in a single visit by applying a resin to the teeth on either side of it; this is done until the gap is gone and the two teeth appear to be touching.
The other method involves placing veneers on the two teeth next to the gap. Since your veneers do need to be custom-made, it will take two trips to Dr. Alhadef’s office to receive them, but you’ll be given temporary veneers while you wait for the permanent ones to arrive. Just like in the other applications of dental bonding and veneers, the treatments last vastly different amounts of time. Dental bonding needs to be replaced every four to eight years, while veneers should last about 15 years if they’re cared for properly.
9. It’s painful.
This certainly used to be true of all types of dentistry, and one of the commonest myths about cosmetic dentistry, but thanks to modern medicine, knowledge, and techniques, dental procedures are no longer painful. Anesthesia enables Dr. Alhadef to ensure that you experience no discomfort during treatments; even during a procedure to place an implant, you should simply feel pressure rather than pain. Certain procedures do require you to do some healing, but this usually causes so little pain that you can manage it using over-the-counter pain medications for a few days.
10. It’s expensive.
Modern dental techniques and technology have drastically reduced the price of cosmetic dentistry treatments. While there are some treatments that aren’t covered by insurance at all, such as teeth whitening, other treatments are considered restorative and will be at least partially covered by your dental insurance. The cost of treatment will depend heavily upon what you’re having done and how much your insurance helps to pay for it, but cosmetic dentistry is no longer just for the Hollywood elite. If you’re still struggling to find the finances for a cosmetic treatment, most dental offices are more than willing to work with you to create a payment plan.
Cosmetic dentistry treatments are a lot more common, accessible, and beneficial than many people initially think. Through improved dental practices, cosmetic dentistry can improve the health and appearance of your smile—without causing pain to your mouth or your wallet.