The smile is considered our most valuable feature and studies actually show that people who smile often tend to have more friends and a brighter outlook on life. If you’re afraid to smile because of the less than perfect condition of your teeth, you may be interested in cosmetic dentistry. But what’s the difference between Invisalign versus veneers versus teeth whitening — and what’s right for you?
Today, cosmetic dentists are able to literally remake your smile by changing just about everything relating to the appearance of your teeth, including stains, gaps, chipped teeth, and even crooked smiles.
The most common and most impactful techniques employed by cosmetic dentists are:
Many things we do on a regular basis can contribute to stained teeth, such as drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine or smoking. Professional in-office teeth whitening can instantly restore a dazzling white to your smile.
The procedure involves applying a highly-concentrated peroxide gel directly to the teeth after the gums have been protected with a paint-on rubber dam. Generally, the peroxide remains on the teeth for approximately an hour (at most).
The professional grade whitening systems used by dentists offer significantly better results in a single visit than the consumer kits sold in drug stores.
Why are veneers so revolutionary? Because they look 100% real. In fact, every time you see a supermodel with a perfect smile, chances are you’re looking at a set of veneers without even knowing it.
Why can’t we tell the difference? It has to do with the way light reflects off our enamel, the outermost layer of teeth. Our enamel is translucent—that means that it both reflects and absorbs light. Older dental bonds would only reflect light, making teeth appear shiny and fake. But porcelain is also translucent, making teeth seem perfectly life-like and real.
Porcelain is also stain-resistant, just like real teeth. Since porcelain is ceramic, and therefore glass-like, its surface is smooth and impervious and unlike older bonding materials, it will not be stained coffee, tea, red wine or cigarette smoking.
The procedure is quite simple. A dentist removes a thin amount of the enamel, then takes molds (impressions) of the mouth. These impressions are sent to a laboratory where they are carefully crafted into porcelain frames. In about two weeks, the dentist fastens these frames to the fronts of the teeth, instantly and permanently improving the teeth’s appearance and strength.
This process is now widely used to straighten out the teeth of adults. It’s the perfect, discreet alternative to the braces our kids wear. It uses a series of removable clear aligners that are custom-molded to fit over your teeth. They are almost invisible, extremely comfortable, and will gradually straighten your teeth into the perfect smile. They are so discreet that they’ve actually been worn by TV performers while on the air. The Invisalign system typically takes less than a year to produce amazing results.
How Much Do They Cost?
The best cosmetic dentists are truly smile “artists.” They can design a comprehensive plan that can transform your smile and your face. The procedures they employ involve minimal discomfort and can produce amazing results quickly. But how about the cost?
It really depends on what you get done, but treatments can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Typically, these treatments are not covered by insurance, but most cosmetic dentists can help arrange financing.
Remember when considering the price, consider that the results of cosmetic dentistry are designed to stand the test of time. You’ll be able to spend the rest of your life smiling with confidence.
Check out more dental articles on How Life Works.