Read these 9 Cosmetic Dentistry Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Dental Plans tips and hundreds of other topics.
Is there such a thing as cosmetic dentistry insurance? I want someone else to pay for my beautiful smile!
Unfortunately, no, there is not. However, your dental insurance might cover some procedures that may fall under the definition of cosmetic dentistry, including braces for tooth straightening or bridges to take the place of missing teeth, it will definitely not cover purely cosmetic procedures, such as tooth whitening or veneers.
If you do want a cosmetic dentistry procedure, some cosmetic dentists have buyer clubs and financing options that can make it more affordable for you. Your best bet is to shop around for the cosmetic dentist with the best price and financing options to fit your situation.
Do over-the-counter whitening strips really work?
They probably do, and are a much less expensive alternative to professional cosmetic dentistry whitening procedures.
Standard tooth whitening strips contain hydrogen peroxide, the same active ingredient present in any tooth whitening procedure, and studies conducted (albeit by the manufacturers of the strips) have found that the vast majority of whitening strip users have reported very noticeable whitening of their teeth.
That said, the American Dental Association has not granted its Seal of Acceptance to any over-the-counter tooth whitening strip, which could be significant considering the vast range of toothpastes and other dental products that have received that Seal in the past.
Therefore, before using whitening strips you should consult your dentist for his advise.
Is cosmetic dentistry the same thing as cosmetic surgery, but on my mouth?
To some extent it is. Cosmetic surgery, such as boob jobs, nose jobs, tummy tucks, or face lifts, has a negative stigma attached to it by many people. Going under the knife just to look a little better? “How vain!” say some.
Cosmetic dentistry has the same basic premise as other cosmetic medicine, in that its stated goal is to improve your appearance. However, while cosmetic surgery can often have a negative impact on your health, such as an increased chance of breast cancer in the case of boob jobs, cosmetic dentistry can actually improve your oral health! For instance, having crooked or slightly chipped teeth affects more than just your smile, as you are more likely to get gum disease or tooth decay than if your teeth were complete and straight.
So when you look in the mirror and see a smile that you're not completely comfortable with, it might be in your best interest, from both cosmetic and health points of view, to ask your dentist about what various cosmetic treatments could do for you.
Do you have an ugly tooth you want to make beautiful?
If your teeth are a severely discolored or even a little misshapen (maybe too big, too small, or a little chipped), you'll need more than a tooth whitening procedure to fix your smile. The best way to correct a misshapen or severely discolored tooth is to get dental veneers.
A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that is glued to the top of the tooth and is hardy enough to allow you to chew, in addition to dazzling friends and relatives with cleaner looking pearly whites!
Before rushing out to get a veneer or two put on, beware of the cost. Dental veneers, as with most procedures that fall under cosmetic dentistry, will probably not be covered by your dental plan. What's more, porcelain veneers can cost anywhere from $900 to over $2500! Fortunately, Lumineer Porcelain Veneers, which are supposed to last just as long but cannot be used for extensive re-shaping of teeth, are more affordable, costing between $700 and $1000.
If you want to improve your smile without putting too large a dent in your bank account, call various cosmetic dentists in your area and see what type of veneers they offer and the associated costs.
Are you disappointed with your smile? You're not alone. Many people are looking for ways to improve their smile, and these days dentists can do a lot more than just whiten your teeth a little.
Cosmetic dentistry offers a variety procedures including:
Bonding (in which tooth colored materials are glued to teeth)
Enamel shaping (in which teeth are shaped to be more visually appealing)
Bridging (where a false tooth is glued into a gap in your teeth)
Other modifications that are less mainstream
Most of these procedures would not be covered by your dental insurance and you should consult your dentist before undergoing any of them. You should also consult more than one cosmetic dentist to get different suggestions on what should be done to improve your smile.
There's really nothing like the feeling and sound of ice crunching between your teeth on a hot day but, unless you're in a hurry to foot the very expensive bills for the cosmetic dentistry or even emergency dentistry that will be necessary to repair your damaged teeth, you better cool off on the ice chewing.
Fracture lines, chips, and cracks are common results from frequent ice chewing, and if any is large enough the victim could require a root canal or even a tooth extraction! For most minor ice-chewing related nicks, your dental insurance might not even cover the procedure, forcing you instead to get expensive cosmetic dentistry to fix the chips.
Even if frequent ice chewing does not result in one of these more serious effects, it will still wear down the enamel on your teeth much faster than is normal, which leads to cavities.
If you're a chronic ice chewer, it's really in your teeth's best interest for you to break the habit. You can try drinking your drinks through a straw to help you resist the urge or simply order drinks without ice altogether, but the rush of the crunch just isn't worth the damage you're doing to your oral health.
If you're looking for that extra sparkle in your smile, your dental insurance is unlikely to help you out. Unfortunately, most cosmetic dentistry procedures will not be covered by your dental insurance, leaving you and your wallet unaided in your quest for shinier teeth. In addition, many professional tooth whitening procedures, such as BriteSmile, can cost well over $500!
If you desperately need an extra shiny, white smile but can't afford the professional procedures, there are much cheaper, over-the-counter treatments that can also bring great results. However, these options often take several weeks to months to achieve their best results.
For more information, consult your dentist for advice on the latest trends in cheap tooth whitening.
Tired of having David Letterman's smile and want to finally get rid of that gap between your front teeth? If you can kick the proverbial football through your gap, then you will probably need braces or large veneers to close it up. However, if your gap is relatively minor, there is a less invasive and cheaper cosmetic dentistry procedure called bonded resin that you might consider.
A cosmetic dentist creates what is effectively a gap-filler out of a tooth-colored material and simply attaches it to both teeth on either side of the gap. The process is mostly painless and achieves good cosmetic results.
On the downside, whereas before you might have been able to floss between the two teeth with thick twine, after the procedure you'll need to sneak the dental floss below where the gap used to be, as the teeth will be physically bonded together.
Since there is no such thing as cosmetic dentistry insurance, you will be on your own to pay for the procedure, however, simple gap fillings are relatively cheap. Consult your local cosmetic dentist for an exact estimate to see if this procedure is right for you.
If you don't want to wake up some day with an intimidating smile of yellowed, decayed, pirate's teeth or with terrible pain in your mouth, then you should worry about tooth decay.
Most people know that eating sugary or starchy foods and drinking sodas (including diet sodas) can lead to cavities and most even brush their teeth, though often not the recommended two times daily. However, many people don't know that giving your teeth access to fluoride can help strengthen them against decay, therefore preventing cavities.
Fortunately, fluoride is easy to come by these days. Many, but not all, toothpastes contain fluoride. There are also inexpensive fluoride rinses available in most pharmacies where they sell other mouthwashs and even most city drinking contains some fluoride to help out your teeth.
If you drink your tap water and clean your teeth, you may never have to shell out for an expensive tooth whitening procedure or filling.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|