Not blessed with naturally perfect teeth? No worries. Leading cosmetic dentists with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry say that more patients are now requesting cosmetic services that embrace naturalism over idealism.
Whereas people used to want the most perfectly shaped teeth possible, more and more customers, especially those in the Generation Y demographic, are requesting cosmetic treatments that subtly enhance their smiles. An AACD survey shows that one in two Americans are most likely to remember a person’s smile more than other features after a first meeting.
While teeth whitening remains the number one requested cosmetic dental service, veneers are the second most popular procedure because porcelain veneer technology allows changes look organic, not contrived.
“There’s a misperception that cosmetic dentists only make teeth look great,” says Dr. Betsy Bakeman, an AACD Accredited Fellow with a dental practice in Grand Rapids, Mich. “Most often, when teeth break down over time, we look to rebuild them to bring back their functionality. Our number one goal is smile preservation, followed by making renewed teeth appear as natural as possible.”
And teeth take a beating over time. Those with significant wear and tear have to address both functional and cosmetic dental issues.
Cosmetic dentists are experts at assessing how a person’s teeth work in conjunction with their lips and overall face shape. There are mathematical elements and artistic nuances that work together to create the perfect harmony of a fantastic smile.
“The benefit of today’s veneer technology is that we can literally have patients ‘test drive’ new smiles for up to six months before we finalize the work,” says Dr. Dennis Wells, an AACD accredited dentist based in Brentwood, Tenn. who has many celebrity patients.
In the case of celebrities, temporary veneers allow plenty of time for fans and media to react to an enhanced smile.
“If no one comments negatively - or if the changes go unnoticed - the celebrity is happy with the results,” explains Dr. Wells. It works just the same for his regular patients too when test driving smiles with family and friends. Over the test period time, patients have the opportunity to make adjustments to their new smile before it’s permanent.
While veneers are the top-of-the-line option for the most natural looking teeth, they are expensive, and are not the only solution used by cosmetic dentists. “The advanced technology found in today’s dentures and crowns can be just as good an option for patients,” explains Bakeman.
Top Tooth Problems Corrected with Cosmetic Dentistry:
Problem: Tooth color can change throughout one’s life, generally yellowing with age and time.
Solution: In office whitening treatments work for most patients. But for those whose teeth have excessive discoloration, veneers have the ability to mask color and become any shade the patient desires.
Problem: Sometimes, people are born with small teeth. Others may have shorter teeth because they’ve worn down over time.
Solution: Veneers can be used to make teeth appear larger. However, if tooth structure has been lost due to decay or trauma, a porcelain crown that covers the entire tooth can reduce the risk for future problems.
Problem: Wear and tear can make teeth appear shorter, flatter or rough along the edges. Generally younger teeth have round edges.
Solution: Veneers can give a youthful smiles by giving a natural, youthful appearance.
ALIGNMENT / SPACING
Problem: Tooth gaps, misaligned and crooked teeth are common problems cosmetic dentists regularly address.
Solution: Very bad alignment is most often corrected with orthodontic treatment. Veneers can fix minor alignment or spacing issues. Many times, both treatments are used to achieve the most dramatic results.