Like everything in life, as you age, your teeth change. Discoloration, receding gums, broken, chipped teeth…these are all common problems we experience as we age. You can even experience a shift in your teeth creating unwanted (or unsightly) gaps or crowding in your teeth. It can be embarrassing, and in some cases, limiting.
So what can be done? What options can be considered?
Seven Solutions to Improve Your Smile
- Porcelain veneers are a thin jacket put on your tooth to give a new, clean look that lasts from ten to fifteen years. These “tooth-colored jackets” can cover up chips, breaks, discoloration, or even correct teeth that are too small. Most veneers are made of porcelain. Depending on the type of veneer you’re looking for (no-prep veneers vs. traditional), the work ranges from somewhat simple to more intensive. Ask your dentist about the best option for you.
- Colgate defines orthodontics as, “The dentistry branch that addresses the diagnosis, prevention, interception, guidance, and correction of bad bites or dental irregularities, including the use of braces.” Most of us first think of braces when we hear the word orthodontics, but like all fields of dentistry, orthodontists have developed new and improved techniques. The main goal is to keep your teeth straight while gently retraining your muscles – and even skeletal structure – to support your new look. Common reasons to use orthodontics include overbite, underbite, crowding of teeth, uneven spacing, and discomfort created by any of these issues.
- Crowns are used to:
- Strengthen a weak tooth
- Cover/protect an unusually large filling
- Hold a bridge in place
- Cover an implant
- Cosmetic improvement
While crowns in the past were often silver or gold, today’s crowns can be color-matched perfectly to your teeth. A temporary crown is usually put in immediately while the lab creates a color-matched permanent crown. Today’s options give you a much better option for those tired of having a gold or silver crown without losing any durability.
- Bleaching is a quick and affordable option to brighten your teeth significantly (up to eight shades brighter). Whether you drink tea, coffee, soda, red wine, or latte’s, your teeth become discolored naturally over time. The difference between bleaching and whitening is this: Bleaching uses a stronger agent to whiten and is done in the office (as opposed to an at-home whitening kit). Bleaching makes a noticeable difference almost immediately. Typically, bleaching is done over several appointments and results range from three to eight shades towards whiter, brighter teeth.
- Whitening products to help achieve noticeable results through at-home kits have become very popular and reliable options for people. From bleaching to gels to whitening toothpaste, most of us are aware of these products. Like anything, however, you get what you pay for. If an at-home approach is your preference, seek input and advice from your dentist. At-home kits don’t always produce the same results and – because of that – may end up costing you the same as professional bleaching. Our advice: Talk to your dentist.
- Bridges deal with an issue no one likes – large gaps in your teeth. As we age, some of our teeth may give out, fall out, or sections have to be removed. To solve this problem, we may need a “bridge” to fill the gap. Implants are an option, but bridges have a place as one solution.
A bridge uses crowns on adjacent teeth to hold the new tooth in place. The color can be customized to the shading of your teeth and fill the gap with a matching, beautiful, tooth.
- Implants continue to become more affordable as a solution for filling a gap or replacing missing teeth. Some dentists – for example – make the cost of an implant a viable option for people considering bridges (making the cost comparable).
The Mayo Clinic describes this process:
“Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones.”
While implants require a multi-step process, for many it is preferable to bridges.
You deserve to have a winning smile. You shouldn’t go through life embarrassed about your teeth or your smile. If you want to improve the appearance of your teeth, options are available and we are here to help.