Reclaiming a Confident Smile
Just smiling makes an individual more attractive. A smile doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. But sometimes, we hide our smiles because of minor cosmetic problems we wish we could change.
When was the last time you felt as beautiful as you are? Do you feel a little sliver of insecurity when you smile, even when you’re truly happy? Or has a recent injury, tooth decay, or accumulated stains made you lose confidence in the smile you used to love so much? You’re not alone—seven out of ten Americans admit that they feel self-conscious of their teeth, and 57% of Americans actively cover their mouths when they laugh. Thankfully, it’s not impossible for you to fall in love with your smile again! Modern cosmetic dentistry has a wide range of treatments that can help you reclaim a confident smile. While you’re searching for a “dentist office near me” or “family dentist near me,” here’s a breakdown of the 5 most common cosmetic dental procedures that may help you.
1. Tooth-Colored Fillings
While tooth-colored fillings might sound so commonplace that you don’t think of them as cosmetic treatments, they’re considered cosmetic because the fillings address both the health and appearance of your teeth. Tooth-colored fillings are made from a composite resin that’s matched to the color of your natural teeth, allowing it to blend into your smile perfectly. In contrast, metal fillings stand out so sharply against your teeth that they’re often visible even on the back molars.
Tooth-colored fillings aren’t as durable as traditional metal fillings, typically lasting between seven and 15 years compared to metal fillings’ minimum lifespan of 15 years. On the other hand, however, metal fillings have a tendency to expand and contract with changing temperatures, which can loosen the filling or cause your tooth to crack over time. Tooth-colored fillings won’t do this and placing them requires Dr. Miedema to remove less healthy tooth structure than metal fillings do, which makes them better for your teeth in the long run. You can increase their lifespan by practicing great oral hygiene and visiting Dr. Miedema for an evaluation every six months.
2. Tooth Whitening
As we age, our teeth tend to begin accumulating stains from the foods and drinks we consume, habits we practice (or don’t practice), and simple age. Even if you love everything else about your smile, having yellow-tinged teeth can make you self-conscious, and over-the-counter whitening strips can only do so much to lighten the stains. Professional whitening treatments from your family dentist can whiten your teeth by multiple shades—and you can even get these professional treatments in the comfort of your own home.
Dr. Miedema provides you with a prescription whitening gel and a customized whitening tray, which ensures that every nook and cranny of your teeth gets whitened while protecting your sensitive gums from the whitening gel. Based on your treatment needs, she’ll also tell you how long you should apply the gel each day; this at-home treatment can take between two and four weeks. If you’re looking for more immediate results, you can also receive a whitening treatment in a single visit to our office. Each of these methods is safe and has the potential to be long-lasting—if you follow good oral hygiene and try to limit staining habits such as smoking. You can also get touch-up treatments every year to ensure that your white smile lasts several years instead of just a few months.
3. Dental Veneers
Dental veneers are thin layers of porcelain that are applied to the surface of your teeth to cover gaps between them, reduce tooth sensitivity from enamel erosion, or remedy issues such as crooked, stained, misshapen, or uneven teeth. Every aspect of dental veneers is adaptable to your treatment needs, from their color and size to their shape and even how many you want. Since they’re capable of blending in so well with your natural teeth, you can get a single veneer to repair one tooth or you can completely transform your entire smile—no one will know they aren’t your natural teeth!
Getting veneers generally takes two appointments to our office over the course of several weeks, and it’s important to realize that veneers are permanent; once you choose to get a veneer, you’ll always need a veneer on that tooth. This is because the placement process requires Dr. Miedema to remove a small layer of enamel from your tooth, as this helps the veneer adhere to the surface of your tooth and prevents it from making your tooth look too thick. The porcelain material of veneers is incredibly durable and stain-resistant, however, so they can last 15 years or more with good oral hygiene.
4. Gum Contouring
If you have a “gummy” smile, where a high proportion of your gums show when you smile, you might not realize that there’s a treatment that can remedy this issue for you. Gummy smiles are caused by extra gum tissue covering up the full length of your teeth, so the solution is actually pretty simple. The procedure involves cutting away extra gum tissue to even out the proportion between your gums and teeth.
While this might sound painful, advances like dental lasers actually make this process nearly painless; the lasers are incredibly precise and cause very little bleeding and swelling, especially when compared to traditional tools like scalpels. This makes the healing process easier—and faster, since the lasers actively promote faster healing. Dr. Miedema can complete the laser gum contouring treatment in a few visits, giving you a beautiful smile that you’ll be able to enjoy for the rest of your life.
5. Porcelain Crowns
Crowns are tooth-shaped coverings that are often used to protect and restore teeth that were damaged by severe decay or a dental injury such as a break or severe crack, making them a common treatment for visits to the emergency dentist. In addition to protecting your tooth from further damage, crowns restore its functionality and renew its appearance. They can also be used to renew the appearance of teeth that are crooked, misshapen, or stained. Much like veneers, crowns are made specifically for you to ensure that they look and feel natural, fitting into your natural bite perfectly. It’s important to find a great dentist who will take the time to design a crown that you’ll love and that will fit properly, as a crown that doesn’t fit into your bite well can cause temporomandibular joint pain and sensitivity.
Since they’re so customizable, your crown can be made to look exactly like the tooth you lost or completely different—it’s up to you! Crowns generally take two or three appointments over the course of several weeks to place, though same day crowns make it possible for some people to receive a crown in a single appointment. Whether you get a lab-milled or single visit crown, the durable porcelain material ensures that it will last around 15 years with proper oral hygiene.
Every smile is unique, and while there may be aspects of your smile that you don’t love, cosmetic dentistry can help you to remedy these problems, allowing you to focus on and appreciate the unique, beautiful aspects of your smile again. If you’d like to know more about what your potential treatment options are, feel free to call our Buxton dentist office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Miedema at any time.