Many of us suffer from embarrassment about our teeth, and its not uncommon for dentists to hear this from patients. Unfortunately we are all held to almost impossible standards of appearance from the media, and the look of perfect teeth is no exception. The reality is your teeth, just like the rest of you, are unique. Acceptance of this fact is important for everyone, and it will aid you in your course of treatment towards a better smile. This said there is much your dentist can do to create a happier, healthier smile. Let’s learn more about how to be secure with your individual smile and how some dental treatments can increase that confidence.
Fears Around Smiling
We all know that one person who is reluctant to smile, be it for photos or just in daily life. This person may even be you! If you’re worried about your overall smile, you’re not alone. Many adults worry about it at some point in their life. This concern can be broken down into two parts - first is your smile healthy, as in how is your oral health? Secondly, is your smile cosmetically appealing to you? Naturally dental health comes before cosmetic appearance, but your dentist can help with both.
Focus On Oral Health
First and foremost, your dentist will be focused on your overall oral health. Even if you’re more concerned about the look of your smile, health and well-being comes first. For those that haven’t visited a dentist in a while, this concern is paramount. Your first step is simply to get a checkup and cleaning. You and your dentist can plot the course of treatment from there. The good news is many routine dental procedures can also improve the appearance of your teeth. At this point in the treatment, you will want to ask yourself - is this improvement enough? If not there is still a lot your dentist can do for you.
In office whitening treatments are usually the first step after oral health related procedures, since who doesn’t want whiter teeth? Even if you’ve been using at home whitening treatments for a while, you can still benefit from professional whitening with your dentist. The reason for this is simple - your dentist can use more powerful bleaching agents while also protecting your teeth from irritation. Usually this is the first step for many, but there are other, more involved measures as well.
Adult Braces / Clear Aligners
Often patients are embarrassed about their smile because their teeth aren’t correctly aligned. As we grow and our teeth develop, sometimes they don’t develop quite as they should. This can include overbites, underbites, gaps in teeth and the crowding of teeth. The best way to correct this is to begin treatment with braces or clear aligners, sometimes called straightening trays.
The benefits of these treatments can be life changing, but there are some temporary drawbacks to be aware of. First these treatments can take a couple years, and you shouldn't expect results overnight. Many patients experience minor pain throughout the treatment as teeth are corrected. Finally, some patients might find they become more embarrassed of their teeth during this treatment. However, it is worth remembering all these are temporary when evaluating these procedures.
Veneers / Cosmetic Dentistry
If braces aren’t right for you, dentists have a variety of other options to improve the appearance of your smile. This area of the practice is commonly known as cosmetic dentistry. Many procedures make use of synthetic materials to support and replace decaying areas of the tooth. These range from simple procedures like cosmetic bonding, which fills decayed areas to inlay and overlay procedures that place an enamel-like substance completely over the tooth. Dentists can also use veneers placed on the front of the tooth to improve appearance. It is best to talk with your dentist to see which is right for you and weight the benefits and drawbacks.
For those patients who have significant tooth decay or failing teeth, the thought of smiling can be especially embarrassing. In cases like this, basic cosmetic dentistry may not be practical to use. However there is another option in the use of dental implants. This procedure fits a custom-made artificial tooth into the place where the failing or missing tooth once was. The tooth is held in place with a screw and implanted in the jaw. While this is the most invasive cosmetic option available, it is also one of the most effective. An implant can improve your smile overnight. Once thought to be too expensive for some patients, the cost of dental implants is becoming more reasonable every day.
How To Conquer Embarrassment
Embarrassment around your smile is nothing to be ashamed of, and you don’t have to live with it anymore. While it’s important to accept your smile as unique and part of you, a quality dentist can also help you meet your “smile goals.” Scheduling a checkup is the first step to improving your smile and more importantly your confidence. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry to get started today.