It is an unfortunate reality that people are judged by how they look. Though everyone is intellectually aware that it is impossible to glean insight into one’s health by assessing his or her physical appearance, it is all but impossible to prevent those assessments from occurring. People go to great lengths to alter their looks so they can be perceived as younger, fitter and more aspirational overall. Teeth play a major role in how young and healthy an individual looks. Teeth naturally grow yellow and brittle with age, and tooth damage is a somewhat accurate reflection of physical health. Anyone who is interested in looking dramatically younger should seek out a cosmetic dentist and explore his or her options for attaining a whiter, healthier smile.
The least invasive cosmetic procedure is basic whitening. Most people are familiar with at-home whitening methods involving toothpastes, strips or gels. It can take several months for the results to become apparent, and stubborn stains and discoloration may never budge at all. These products are good for mild brightening, but they contain harsh bleaching agents that can make the teeth sensitive. They can also erode enamel over time, permanently weakening the teeth and making them susceptible to future damage and intense staining.
Professional whitening involves lasers and is completed in one short treatment. The lasers penetrate far more deeply than topical treatments are able to. They treat the deepest layers of enamel for a uniformly white glow, and the procedure is completed before any damage can occur. Patients are often sent home with lightening gel to help them maintain their results in between treatments. It is recommended that people schedule professional whitening appointments on a regular schedule of once or twice a year. This enables the dentist to use a lighter hand with the laser because there is not enough time between treatments for new stains to fully set into the teeth.
If the structure of the teeth have been damaged, the patient may want to consider veneers. Veneers sit on top of the surface of the teeth, providing a new, fresh finish. Getting veneers is a great way to prevent further damage, since any weak spots are protected. It is sometimes better to opt for veneers instead of trying to whiten teeth that are already weak.
Crowns are the most extreme type of cosmetic dentistry and should only be considered if the patient’s real teeth are deemed to be beyond repair. Crowns can only be placed into the mouth after the real teeth have been filed down to points, so the procedure can never be undone. Many famous actors have gotten crowns to get straighter teeth very quickly, but this is not a good reason to get dental implants. Crowns are not meant to be orthodontic solutions. Traditional braces are still the best tool for straightening the teeth.
Maintaining a clean, strong smile is a key component of general health. The judicious use of cosmetic procedures in conjunction with good hygiene will keep the teeth looking young and vibrant.