What your dentist has to say about smile enhancement…

An illustration of a tooth wearing sunglasses. An illustration of a clean sparkling tooth.

Hi folks! Dr. Kristy, here. I get a lot of questions about cosmetic dentistry and the different options out there. I think the idea of setting up a consultation about smile enhancement can be very intimidating for some people so I wanted to put this out there for those who would love to hear what a dentist has to say before ever stepping foot in the office.

First of all, I have to say the obvious: since each person is different I can’t answer all questions because things vary case by case, however I hope to shed some light on scenarios that I commonly see in the office. What I want you to see from all of this is that there are often multiple options available that range in price. Depending on your needs and expectations, there is plenty out there for you to choose from!

In regards to cosmetics only, there are usually 2 main concerns. The first is that the patient does not like the shade of his or her teeth. The second is that the patient does not like the shape or position of his or her teeth. Sometimes it is a combination both, but I will address each one separately.

1: I don’t like the shade of my teeth.

Most people want a whiter smile and there are so many options out there. It 100% starts with good oral hygiene. There is no alternative to correct at-home brushing and flossing techniques and having a dental health professional clean your teeth at least twice a year. Be honest with yourself: if you know this area needs improvement, start here. I say this not only because I care about your overall health, but also because I want to save you money! If you are not sure how to properly brush and floss, ask your dental health professional or visit the American Dental Association’s webpage @ www.ada.org

If you know your keeping your mouth healthy, then it is time to move on to other scenarios. If you are having your teeth cleaned twice a year that means your dentist has been checking to make sure your discoloration is not from any oral disease like decay. So that leaves us with a few other options.

You may have some internal stains that have always been there or you may have old dental restorations that have darkened over time. If this is you, there are many treatments available that don’t have to cost a ton of money! Sometimes something as simple as smoothing up old fillings will do the trick. Other times, fillings need to be replaced, or we need to use opaque materials to block out those dark stains. At our office we have so many options. We can literally paint over the stains or even out tooth discoloration using dental opaquers and tints with great success. Sometimes we can do composite veneers. With both of these options, we do not have to remove tooth structure and can often work without the need for anesthetic. Dr. Stan and I are both artistic (I got it from him!) and I know you would be pleasantly surprised to see what we can do with in-office restorations for your teeth that not only save tooth structure but also cost as little as half the price of crowns. Either way, when you are here, I am going to hand you a mirror and make sure you are happy before you walk out the door! My dad and I genuinely love what we and since it is your smile, we value your opinion.

There are times when the best treatment option is lab-made crowns or veneers. I know cost is always important when considering treatment. To give you an idea, the average price for crowns or veneers is roughly $1000 per unit. The price fluctuates on either side of that number depending on the type of material needed to achieve your goals.

Another type of discoloration we see is from external stains.  These usually come from the things you consume. Darker beverages like coffee (the nectar of life!), tea, dark sodas or red wine are popular culprits for these stains. I am not saying you cannot consume these beverages, but just know they stain teeth. You can sip through a straw to help reduce stain and you can chase these beverages with some water to dilute the stain. Also, smoking is definitely going to darken your shade, so keep that in mind.

Professional dental whitening is a fantastic way to brighten your smile. We offer 2 awesome ways to get a whiter and brighter smile at our office.

The first is take-home bleaching trays. For under $200, we take impressions of your teeth and make you custom trays. We also provide you with a starter package that includes home instructions and the bleach to get your smile looking nice and bright. The initial kit gives you plenty of bleach to get maximum results which takes about 2 weeks. As with any whitening, this needs to be maintained. Follow the instructions above to minimize stain and lengthen your whitening results. If you do this, your bright smile should stay bright for several months and then you can come up with a maintenance schedule for up-keep. Most people can bleach only once a week or once every 2 weeks to maintain their new shade. Bleach refills last a very long time and are offered in a few different strengths for you to choose from. The refills are all under $50 and can be purchased at the front desk without an appointment.

For under $700, you can go with in-office bleaching. This is much faster than the take-home bleach method. We use the latest technology by employing a dental laser to enhance a specialized bleaching gel that provides immediate results after the 30 minute procedure. So, if time is an issue and you want quick results, this is a great choice for you. Also included in the price for in-office whitening is the custom trays and bleach mentioned above for maintenance.

Remember, though, that not everyone will bleach the same. It works awesome for most people, but there are a small number of people who do not bleach as well. There is no way for us to know with 100% certainty what your specific outcome will be. However, when you come for your visit, we can usually give you a pretty good idea of how well your teeth will bleach once we have completed an exam.

 

  1. I don’t like the shape or position of my teeth.

Changing the shape of teeth can be done in many ways. One common way we fix this problem is by placing composite veneers on the teeth to be corrected. In most cases, this requires no tooth removal. We can close gaps and shape teeth in a desirable way for our patients using this method. This options is non-invasive and assuming we aren’t having to replace old fillings in the process, requires no shots! It’s also a less expensive option, costing an average of half the price of crowns. You also leave that day with the final product. Both Dr. Stan and I are very meticulous and make sure things not only look good but also have the proper form and function that mimic your natural dentition.

Another way to change the shape and sometimes position of your teeth is with crowns or veneers that are made in a dental laboratory. These are great options for people who already have several fillings or compromised tooth structure due to wear or other processes. These not only provide strength to weaker teeth, but also look fantastic! There a several materials to choose from with this option so that you can achieve a desired outcome.

Lastly, another non-invasive option for simply changing the position of your teeth (not the shape) is orthodontics. We do not offer orthodontics in our office, but we have some fantastic orthodontists in Clarksville and we work closely with each of them to customize your case.

 

I know most of you reading this are not in the dental field and I am sure it all still leaves you with questions. That’s where we come in! If you have questions about your smile and the options out there, we definitely have answers. I know from experience many people feel they cannot afford to change their teeth and they spend years hiding their smile. That breaks my heart! Our ultimate goal for you is to be healthy and feel good about your smile. I always tell people not to be so hard on themselves. Forget about the past and move forward because a beautiful healthy smile awaits and we would be happy to partner with you!