Answers for Your Cosmetic Dentistry Questions

Smiling is an important part of life, not only as a way to express our emotions but also as a way to build relationships and make lasting first impressions. Thankfully, modern technology has resulted in plenty of solutions for people who find themselves lacking confidence in their smile.

With so many options and information, however, it can be hard to understand what your treatment options are, which is the best for you, and how the procedure will affect you in the years to come. While it’s always a good idea to consult with Dr. Alhadef about your options, the internet makes it easier than ever to educate yourself a little bit beforehand. Filtering through all the available information can be a little overwhelming, though, so here are answers to some of the more common cosmetic dentistry questions patients ask us.

1. Can veneers fix crooked teeth?

Yes—but only if your teeth are just slightly crooked. Since they go over your existing teeth, veneers can’t fix severely crooked teeth or a misaligned bite; they only appear to make your teeth look straighter and more even. If you have a tooth that is turned a little funny or slightly crooked, however, veneers can be a great way to improve your smile without spending years of time and money on braces or orthodontic systems. Veneers are highly customizable; you can choose their shape, size, and color to ensure that you love the end result, and you can choose to get one or multiple veneers. This allows you to gain a straighter smile with only minor changes. And the transformation will still be major.

2. Can veneers or crowns stain?

Veneers are becoming a more popular option as they become more accessible and affordable, but there are still plenty of questions people ask us about this cosmetic dentistry treatment option. And one of the more common ones has to do with stains, since there is conflicting information on the subject.

The porcelain material of veneers and crowns is very resistant to staining; it’s more stain-resistant than your natural teeth. But you should try to avoid staining foods and drinks when you can since your teeth will stain before the porcelain will, so your veneers or crowns would no longer match the shade of your natural teeth. That said, the porcelain material isn’t indestructible. If the surface is roughed up by abrasive toothpastes or habits like opening packages with your teeth, it can become more vulnerable to staining.

3. Am I stuck with my gummy smile forever?

A gummy smile is often caused by excess gum tissue over your teeth, but underneath the gums, the teeth are a normal length. Because of this, Dr. Alhadef can use a laser to comfortably remove the excess gum tissue. The laser reduces discomfort and swelling after the procedure is complete, but you will still feel some discomfort at first. Once you’ve healed, though, you’ll have a revitalized smile!

4. Do cosmetic treatments improve my oral health?

While it might seem like every treatment that falls under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry would only have aesthetic benefits, many can be beneficial to your oral health. Veneers can be placed to protect the teeth of a patient whose enamel has worn thin, dental implants protect your jawbone against bone loss and prevent your teeth from shifting, and crowns help to protect the tooth beneath them from further decay. While there are certainly treatments that are purely aesthetic, no treatment will be harmful to your oral health; after all, cosmetic dentists are concerned with the health of your mouth as well as your confidence in your smile.

5. Is there a fast, simple way to fix the gap in my teeth?

If your smile is straight but you have a gap between two of your teeth, it may seem like too much effort to spend one to three years with braces or Invisalign, as well as a lifetime of wearing retainers at night, in order to close it. Thankfully, there are a couple of ways you can quickly and easily hide the gap. The first is dental bonding, which is a tooth-colored material that is applied to the teeth and buffed until it matches the shininess of your natural teeth. It’s incredibly fast, taking as little as 30 minutes, but it will likely need to be redone every four to eight years. The second method is veneers, which can be placed over your existing teeth to erase the gap. Veneers will take a few visits to complete, but they only need to be replaced every 15 years or so.

6. Will tooth whitening treatments damage my enamel?

Whitening is another well-loved cosmetic treatment in dentistry that people have lots of questions (and conflicting answers) about.

Whether or not a tooth whitening treatment can damage your enamel depends upon what method you’re using, how often you do it, and whether or not you follow the directions. Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits contain harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide that can damage your enamel if used too often or improperly. Additionally, the chemicals can temporarily make your gums sensitive and may even damage the good bacteria that live in your mouth. However, they’re a great way to whiten your teeth inexpensively as long as you follow the directions on the box and don’t use them too often.

The tooth whitening treatments that you receive at your local dentists’ office will not damage your enamel. While these are strong treatments specifically designed to lighten the inner layers of your teeth, they’re incredibly safe. You’ll finish the treatment with healthy teeth that are multiple shades lighter than when you started.

7. How do I fix chipped or broken teeth?

If you’ve chipped or broken a tooth, there are several ways that you can fix its appearance and perhaps protect it from future damage. Minor chips or breaks can be repaired quickly and easily with dental bonding, but larger breaks may need veneers. If you’ve broken the tooth severely, however, it might be best to shave the tooth down and cap it with a crown; this will protect the sensitive root and keep the tooth from further damage.

8. Will people know I’ve had cosmetic treatments?

The materials used for dental procedures have improved so much over the years that no one will know whether or not you’ve had cosmetic dental procedures. The porcelain material used in crowns and veneers, as well as the resin used in dental bonding, can be perfectly matched to the color of your natural teeth. Additionally, these materials have a gloss identical to that of teeth. This makes it impossible for anyone to tell which teeth are natural and which aren’t.

9. Will my dental insurance pay for cosmetic treatments?

How much your dental insurance helps with costs and what they cover depends upon the company and what plan you have with them. If a treatment has a restorative purpose, such as a crown or dental bonding, most insurance companies will at least help with the cost. There are cosmetic treatments that most dental insurances will not cover, however, such as teeth whitening treatments and dental implants. This is usually because the companies consider such treatments to be elective cosmetic procedures.

The fact that there are so many treatment options for such an array of dental issues is a testament to how far dentistry has come in recent decades. While navigating the complex world of cosmetic dentistry procedures can be daunting at first, most patients can find a treatment that fits their budget while also giving them the desired look or benefit, ensuring that you can walk away from our offices in love with your smile.  

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