There are a variety of cosmetic dental procedures available, from teeth whitening to dental implants. With such a broad range of options, how do you decide which cosmetic dental procedure is right for you? You can find the answer to that question by answering a few other questions about the current condition of your teeth and your goals for your smile once the cosmetic procedure is complete.
Are you missing any teeth?
If you are missing one or more teeth then that is the first thing to consider as you explore cosmetic dental procedures. Missing teeth significantly impact the way that your smile looks and they can have a negative effect on your remaining teeth over time. When you lose a tooth you also loose the root structure that comes along with it. A gap from a missing tooth and root system may lead to your other teeth shifting. When your teeth shift it can negatively impact your bite and cause you to start grinding your teeth at night or even result in pain or injury while eating. It is important to address your missing teeth before you consider other cosmetic dental procedures. Options for replacing missing teeth include dental implants, permanent bridges, and dentures.
Do any of your teeth have damage?
Damaged teeth can also inform the type of cosmetic dental procedures you should be considering. Minor damage like a crack or chip in your tooth may be fixable with porcelain veneers. More extensive damage may require more intervention in the form of porcelain onlays or porcelain crowns. All of these options cover up your teeth to varying degrees and hide unsightly damage.
How do you want your smile to look?
The final question to answer when deciding between cosmetic dental procedures is, ‘how do you want your smile to look?’ Cosmetic dentistry, after all, is primarily concerned with how your teeth look. If you want a whiter smile then you should look into options such as professional whitening, porcelain veneers, porcelain onlays, and crowns. If you have unsightly dark fillings then consider having them replaced with tooth colored fillings. As mentioned above, dental implants are one option for missing teeth and porcelain crowns are an option for hiding damage. Think about your ultimate goal for your smile and then explore the cosmetic dental procedures that can make that goal a reality.
The examples above are just a few of the options you have for cosmetic dental procedures. It is a great idea to continue exploring your options on your own and with your dentist. Your dentist can help you navigate the options and the timing of your procedures in order to help you get the smile of your dreams.
Julie C Berger, DDS, MA, FACP is a local Gettysburg dentist and a board certified prosthodontist specialist. She is a former full time instructor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.