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Cosmetic Dentistry, Is It For You?

OK, let’s discuss cosmetic dentistry and whether or not it would suit you. Let’s get exactly what it is out of the way first. The fact is, cosmetic dentistry is a lot of things. You can simplify it by saying that cosmetic dentistry deals with the cosmetic aspects of your teeth, that is, how your teeth look. How your teeth look, of course, can mean that your teeth are doing this or that, but it’s always a secondary consideration. That is, perhaps your teeth are ugly and horrific because you have gum disease and they’re all decaying and so forth. Obviously, fixing these problems will greatly improve your appearance as well as your health and discomfort. But fixing these problems wouldn’t fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry. Your teeth don’t suffer damage of any kind because of the way they look, but they way they look can be damaged by cavities and so forth.

Cosmetic dentistry, then, is devoted to the art of making teeth look better–not necessarily feel better. Now, some aspects of cosmetic dentistry will help your teeth feel better indeed, and all of them will help you feel better–but really it’s more closely related to, say, plastic surgery than fixing broken bones etc.

The one real exception to this rule is the process of dental implants, which is often included in definitions of cosmetic dentistry. Dental implants are used when a person needs a tooth actually replaced, that is, restored. He’s lost a tooth and he wants it back and the only way to do it is through the complicated process of dental implants. His looks may be improved, of course, along the way, but a new tooth is potentially important enough to make such considerations seem trivial.

Another sort of exception is tooth straightening, because there are cases of tooth crookedness so bad that a person can’t eat as well as otherwise, etc. But those cases are very rare, and in general one straightens one’s teeth to look better and thus feel better about oneself.

The things that people usually think about when they think of cosmetic dentistry include tooth whitening, tooth building (or rebuilding), veneers, and so forth. To rebuild a tooth isn’t the same as replacing it–rebuilding a tooth means applying a substance to a worn down or unusually small front tooth so that it’s bigger, more visible, more attractive. When you’re dealing with veneers, that front tooth is ground down by the dentist to a nub and then replaced by a very much stronger, bigger, whiter substitute. When asking yourself: is cosmetic dentistry right for me?, then, all sorts of considerations come into play. What do you need cosmetic dentistry for? Are you missing a tooth, does your missing tooth bring enough discomfort to your life (when eating steak, say) that you’re willing to go to whatever lengths to change it?

Really, this is the sort of question that applies to all areas of cosmetic dentistry, even relatively minor ones such as tooth whitening. Tooth whitening is probably the most popular, most simple, least expensive service provided by cosmetic dentistry. But still you have to ask yourself: are my teeth so discolored that my self-esteem has taken a serious blow because of them? Do I want to spend money on something that some people would consider trivial? And so forth. Now, the fact is that wanting whiter teeth for self-esteem purposes is not a trivial matter. The service is available, and if you follow your dentist’s directions it’s safe, which means that the rewards of tooth whitening, for some people, far outweigh the hassles.