When a smile is worth a thousand words, it is no surprise that cosmetic dentistry has developed into one of the fastest growing facets in its industry. A demand for a pearlier grin with whiter, straighter teeth is driving this market, and both young and old are seeking these elective procedures. Unlike general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry primarily focuses its correction on the aesthetics of a patient’s teeth. With only one to two typical visits, cosmetic dentistry can improve the look of teeth’s wear, discoloration, spacing and sizing, as well as take care of chips and cracks.
The first step to enhance the sparkle in your smile is determining the practice that will best suit you. Finding a good fit and a doctor who makes you feel comfortable is perhaps the most important part of this process, according to Dr. Alison Llewelyn of Meadow Creek Family Dentistry of Spartanburg.
“Listen to your community, seek word-of-mouth and patient testimonials, and ensure the dentist is accredited and well-reviewed,” advised Dr. Llewelyn.
She suggested consulting with multiple practices in your area to gain a first impression of the doctor and his or her staff. From there, the dentist will be able to evaluate your oral health and advise you on options.
Unsurprisingly, the most common cosmetic procedure is teeth whitening. This is a great choice for patients who have a straight smile and are only looking to brighten it. Particularly popular among older clientele who take pride in their appearance as well as younger patients after they have completed orthodontic treatment, whitening cost ranges from $500 to $1,000.
Veneers are another incredibly popular selection and ideal for patients who want to conceal small imperfections affecting the teeth visible in the front of their mouth. A veneer is a porcelain covering that is bonded to a tooth’s frontal surface using dental cement to create a consistent and pleasing look. Veneers are considered a conservative option for slight cosmetic changes and masking shallow imperfections. Meanwhile, for teeth with greater wear and needing more protection, a crown is the recommended treatment. Crowns are like veneers, in a cosmetic sense, but they further strengthen and protect by encasing the entire tooth. The total approximate cost of both crowns and veneers ranges from $6,000 to $8,000 and is dependent on the number of teeth being treated.
If cost is a concern, tooth bonding is a more affordable alternative. Though a step down from veneers because of the composite material used, this option ranges from $200 to $500. Another reasonable cosmetic procedure is tooth or enamel shaping, averaging $200, where the dentist smooths down uneven edges or the extra length of teeth to soften imperfections and create a more attractive smile.
And for those who may harbor fears of the dentist yet still dream of a beaming grin? Again, Dr. Llewelyn emphasized the value in finding a dentist you can connect with; the best fit will be able to allay any fear and guide you to the best treatment plan to match your needs.
“Dentistry has evolved and grown so much in recent years, and much has changed to ensure procedures are gentle and comfortable,” she explained.
Additionally, there is low risk for complications. However, she does caution patients to really contemplate the decision; once teeth are adjusted, the changes are permanent. However, if patients are certain cosmetic improvements are what they want, there is no reason they should not proceed in exploring the many options available to improve self-confidence with a gorgeous smile.
By Alyssa DiSalvo