According to a survey from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), 45% of respondents agreed that a smile is the most attractive feature a person has. More than a third of respondents (37%) said that a person with a flawed smile is less attractive than someone with perfect teeth. Almost half of survey participants (48%) think that a smile is the most memorable feature after first meeting someone. It’s clear from these results that many people place a great deal of importance on having a perfect smile, while having a less-than-perfect smile might affect your confidence in social and professional settings. Unfortunately, we aren’t all born with a flawless smile – and some of us who were may have had some damage to our teeth over the years. By the time most people reach adulthood, many will have one or more of these common dental flaws:
- Stained or discolored teeth
- Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth
- Gaps or spaces between teeth
- Crooked or crowded teeth
Thankfully, the following cosmetic dentistry procedures offer the opportunity to perfect those little flaws.
Bonding is a fairly simple process that uses tooth-colored material to fill in spaces or indentations in the teeth. Bonding is often used to fill in small cavities but can also improve the look of teeth that are chipped, broken, cracked, or stained. Teeth with excess space between them can also benefit from this cosmetic dental solution. Bonding can be done in one office visit and can last for several years.
Veneers are used to treat some of the same cosmetic dental flaws as bonding. However, veneers last longer than bonding and the color is less likely to change over time. With a veneer, a cosmetic dentist applies a thin piece of porcelain or plastic over the front of the teeth to change the color and/or shape of teeth that are chipped, oddly shaped, unevenly spaced, or crooked.
Caps or crowns
Dental crowns cover the entire tooth and are often used to restore a normal shape and appearance to misshapen, damaged, or discolored teeth. The procedure is more involved and, thus, more costly than bonding and veneers. Crowns are generally used when other cosmetic dental restorations will not produce the desired result. A permanent crown can last a very long time if properly cared for.
In the past, braces were the most appropriate choice for fixing teeth that were crooked and crowded or repairing a smile with gaps or unevenly spaced teeth. Braces gradually and consistently apply pressure to reposition or shift the teeth – a process that can take several months to a few years. Braces tend to cause lots of discomfort, are difficult to clean, and require regular office visits for repeat tightening. Invisalign offers a great alternative to traditional braces for straightening your teeth. This cosmetic dental technique uses a series of custom created, virtually invisible trays called aligners to adjust misaligned teeth over a period of about a year.
Choosing to perfect an imperfect smile is a worthwhile investment. Dr. Flanagan can recommend the right cosmetic dental procedure to help erase any embarrassing dental flaws. Make an appointment with us today to get started on your smile makeover.