At least once per day, my team and I hear some variant of the following question: “I want to upgrade my smile – what are my options?” Twenty years ago, the answer was believed to be simple: cosmetic veneers. If someone wanted to refresh the appearance of their teeth, most dentists automatically said, “Well, let’s do some veneers.” For many people, that’s a perfectly acceptable option. But, when all you have is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail, as they say. Fortunately, in 2019, many alternatives exist, several of which are more conservative than reducing one’s natural teeth to place veneers.
The most conservative option when looking to improve the cosmetics of one’s smile is bleaching. Many of the inexpensive, over-the-counter bleaching options are fairly effective and great ways to try one’s hand at conservatively improving the shade of the teeth. Most dentists also offer a higher-potency, professional-grade whitening option that is safely applied in office, which tends to be even more effective.
Another conservative option to improve the aesthetics of the teeth, which is often combined with whitening, is orthodontics. While the lay person may not consider orthodontics to be overly conservative, from a dentist’s perspective, few treatments can be as kind to the teeth. Most other treatments that effect a comparable transformation tend to be WAY more invasive, necessitating removal of precious natural tooth structure. Contrary to popular belief, there is no age limit to orthodontics! Age is just a number, after all!
As previously mentioned, a tried-and-true method of achieving a highly-cosmetic result in a smile makeover is the placement of porcelain veneers over the fronts of the teeth. This treatment is appropriate when one’s teeth are too stained to respond fully to conservative whitening, or if one’s teeth aren’t adequately shaped (too small, too round, too worn, etc). Veneers give the dentist and his lab technician the maximum amount of control over the cosmetic result, which allows the best possibility for an outstanding result.
If you’ve ever considered a “smile makeover,” or even if you want to try some of the more conservative options, give your dentist a call! It’s an exciting time to be involved in dentistry, both as a practitioner and as a patient. Take advantage of it!