It has been said that today 60 is the new 40. However, the desire to look and feel younger isn’t new and dates back to Cleopatra’s time. Not surprisingly, modern plastic surgery procedures have replaced her extreme and sometimes painful measures. The number of cosmetic surgeries continues to rise, with a 58% increase in the last twenty years. In addition, nonsurgical procedures for people over 65 have risen 93% in the past five years.
Often overlooked, however, are the tremendous benefits cosmetic dentistry offer to make you look and feel younger.
What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is a field within dentistry that focuses on improving the appearance of your teeth, gums, and bite. Here are several key points about cosmetic dentistry:
- While cosmetic dentistry focuses on an enhanced smile, your dentist ensures that each procedure will also improve your overall oral health.
- Cosmetic dentists are as concerned about gum health as they are with whiter enamel.
- Cosmetic dental treatments can address a wide range of aesthetic concerns, such as discoloration, chips, gaps, and misalignment of teeth.
- Emotional benefits, such as increased confidence and self-esteem, accompany many cosmetic dental procedures.
- Depending on the specific cosmetic dental treatments you need, anesthesia can range from none required to sedation dentistry procedures.
- Cosmetic dentistry costs vary depending on the specific treatments and procedures involved. Some treatments, such as teeth whitening, may be considerably less than veneers.
- Insurance coverage for cosmetic dentistry also varies depending on the specific treatments involved and the individual's insurance plan.
- Before beginning cosmetic dental treatment, a consultation is essential. This may include one or more of the following: a complete oral examination, dental x-rays, 3-D CAT Scan, and periodontal exam.
Seven Ways Your Teeth Can Change With Aging
As we age, our teeth and gums can undergo various changes affecting our smiles and oral health. Here are seven ways your teeth and gums can change:
- Wearing down of enamel. Over time, the white, hard outer layer of our teeth, known as enamel, can wear down due to brushing too hard, consuming acidic foods and drinks, grinding or clenching, and normal wear and tear. A thinner enamel layer can make our teeth more vulnerable to decay, sensitive to hot and cold, and darker in appearance.
- Staining and discoloration of enamel. Years of eating and drinking certain foods and drinks can make teeth appear darker or yellow. Additionally, years of smoking and poor oral hygiene can change your enamel's color.
- Gum recession. As we age, our gums may recede, exposing the roots of the teeth. This can make teeth more sensitive and increase the risk of decay.
- Cracks and chips. Teeth can become more brittle and prone to cracks and chips with age, particularly if they have undergone previous dental treatment.
- Tooth decay. Aging teeth are more prone to decay due to factors such as dry mouth, gum recession, and weakened enamel.
- Shifting and crowding. Teeth can shift and become crowded with age due to changes in the surrounding bone and tissue.
- Tooth loss. As we age, we may be more likely to experience tooth loss due to the increased risk of decay, gum disease, and trauma.
How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Make You Look Younger
While cosmetic dentistry includes many treatments, the goal is to create a natural-looking, well-functioning, beautiful smile that enhances your appearance. This results in looking, feeling, and acting younger and more confident. Here are some ways that cosmetic dentistry can accomplish these goals for you:
- Whiter teeth. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments, and for a good reason. A brighter, whiter smile can take years off of your appearance and make you look more vibrant and youthful.
- Straighter teeth. Crooked or misaligned teeth can make you look older and affect your face's balance and harmony. Conversely, straightening your teeth through cosmetic dentistry can help create a more youthful, attractive smile.
- Fuller lips and cheeks. Missing or worn teeth can lead to a sunken or collapsed appearance of your cheeks and lips. Some cosmetic dental treatments can help fill these areas, creating a youthful look.
- Improved bite. Your teeth can shift with age and cause an improper bite, resulting in jaw pain, headaches, and a prematurely aged appearance. Certain cosmetic dental treatments can help improve your bite and give you a more youthful smile.
- Restored facial symmetry. Missing or worn teeth can cause facial asymmetry, making a person look older. Cosmetic dental treatments can help restore balance and symmetry to your face and create a more youthful appearance.
- Healthier gums. Gums that recede over time can make your teeth appear longer and create an older appearance. Cosmetic dental treatments such as gum contouring or gum grafting can help restore the gums to a healthier, more youthful state.
- Reduced appearance of wrinkles. Worn or missing teeth can cause your lips to wrinkle and accentuate the fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth. Several cosmetic dental procedures can enable your teeth to provide the support your lips and cheeks need to create a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Cosmetic Dentistry Options To Rejuvenate Your Smile
You can mitigate some of the changes in your teeth that occur with aging with proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. However, most people can eventually improve their smile with one or more of these cosmetic dental treatment options:
- Professional teeth whitening. Your dentist can use professional whitening gels and custom-made trays like those used with the Zoom! method for better results than over-the-counter products.
- Porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin shells custom-made to fit over the front of the teeth to correct a wide range of cosmetic issues, including chips, cracks, gaps, and stains.
- Porcelain dental crowns. Dental crowns are custom-made caps that fit over the entire surface of a tooth. They can restore the shape, size, and appearance of a tooth that has become worn, cracked, or damaged over time.
- Dental bonding. Dental bonding involves applying a tooth-colored resin to your teeth to correct minor cosmetic issues such as stains, chips, cracks, or excessive spacing. This treatment can help improve the appearance of your teeth and create a more uniform smile.
- Dental implants. Dental implants are a long-lasting solution for missing teeth. They involve surgically placing a titanium post into the jawbone as a replacement tooth root supporting a dental crown. Dental implants can help restore the smile and improve the overall function of the teeth.
- Full mouth rehabilitation. This treatment option can help you if you have worn, chipped, broken, or missing teeth throughout your mouth. Several cosmetic dentistry procedures may be used to create a beautiful smile with dental restorations that ensure harmony between your jaw muscles and temporomandibular joints.
Take a look at our Smile Gallery for some before and after pictures of the great results our patients have achieved.
Schedule an Appointment
Call us or contact us online to learn more about how Palmetto Dental Arts can help you enhance your smile with cosmetic dentistry.