Do you smile with confidence? 9 things to know about cosmetic dentistry

A smile can express many things, but a bright, full smile reflects happiness, friendliness and joy. According to a 2012 University of Kansas study, just the act of smiling can help reduce stress. But it can be difficult to grin from ear to ear if you’re ashamed of your teeth.

Discoloration, misalignment or missing teeth can keep many from smiling with confidence. If this applies to you or someone you know, here’s what you should know about the solutions offered by cosmetic dentistry.

You have options

How your smile looks is an extremely personal issue, and it can be tempting to let it go or try at-home treatments available on drugstore shelves. At the same time, there is a lot of information floating around the internet touting alternative remedies. While some may work, none will have the impact of professional treatments.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, know that there are many options available to address almost any cosmetic issue, so ask a dentist.

Most cosmetic dental treatments are minimally invasive

Fear of climbing into the dental chair is common. The thought of poking, prodding, scraping and drilling keeps many people from dealing with easily treated problems. The good news is that most cosmetic dental treatments are minimally invasive and don’t require general anesthesia.

There is more than one way to whiten

Discolorations can be caused by aging, staining or chemical damage to teeth. Your dentist can perform a simple bleaching treatment during your regular visit or fit you for a mold for at-home bleaching treatments over the course of several nights.

Another process used to whiten teeth several shades within one hour uses a hydrogen peroxide gel along with a special laser light. This process lightens and brightens teeth almost immediately.

Sometimes whitening treatments aren’t enough

In some cases, bleaching treatments just aren’t enough to achieve the desired results. Patients with severe staining and damaged enamel might consider porcelain veneers as an option. Veneers offer a natural appearance and protection for the underlying teeth.

Getting a few things straight

Misaligned teeth not only impact having a confident smile. They can lead to problems like chronic headaches and tooth decay. Metal braces are the typical option for realignment, but “invisible” braces are another choice for patients who feel traditional braces are too obvious and inconvenient.

Invisible braces are fitted by making a mold of your teeth and creating a clear plastic mouthpiece that is worn throughout the day. As your teeth realign, new molds and new mouthpieces are created. Over the course of about 18 months, the teeth slowly reach the desired alignment. Unlike metal braces, invisible braces are removable. It’s suggested you do so for eating and cleaning.

Dentures aren’t what they used to be

Dentures are both a practical and cosmetic solution to significant or total tooth loss. They make eating easier and can prevent further damage or gum problems related to tooth decay. However, dentures can also provide a natural-looking smile that allows wearers to move through their day with confidence.

You can customize a complete smile makeover

Individual cosmetic dental treatments typically address just one problem like stained or misaligned teeth. For those facing multiple issues, it’s possible to create a treatment plan that leads to a complete smile makeover. If you’re uncertain about which treatments are right but know extensive work is needed, opting for a smile makeover might be the right option to discuss with a dentist.

You can extend the effects of your cosmetic dental treatment

No matter what cosmetic treatment you and your dentist choose, you can get the most out of your investment by establishing a care routine that includes brushing and flossing to keep plaque from building up. Avoiding foods that stain — like coffee, wine and berries, or at least brushing right afterward —  will keep your teeth as white as possible.

After treatment, you still need to protect your teeth

For treatments like porcelain veneers, crowns and dentures, it’s important to stay away from hard foods such as nuts and peanut brittle that can crack even natural teeth. If you engage in sports or other high intensity activities, talk to your dentist about being fitted for a mouthguard that can help protect against damage resulting from direct hits or falls.

Most importantly, adhere to any at-home instructions provided by your dentist and keep follow-up appointments.

Are you ready to smile with confidence? Since 1977, Herald Square Dental and the Denture Center in New York City has offered many services such as teeth cleaning, root canals, dentures, implants and a range of cosmetic treatments all at one location.

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This material was initially published as Native Advertising Content in a Tribune Publishing Company publication and was produced by Studio 1847 / Tribune Brand Publishing. The newsrooms or editorial departments of Tribune Publishing Company were not involved in the production of this content. .

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