Dental Care: Having The Perfect Smile, Is It Worth It?

A person’s smile is one of the first facial expressions we see and appreciate. Because when someone smiles it reflects their personality, confidence, social skills, physical attractiveness, and oral hygiene, their personal and professional success. Obtaining and maintaining the perfect smile has become an important societal aspiration since consumers help support a 14 billion dollar teeth whitening business which is only one portion of the cosmetic dentistry industry.

As a means to feel good about ourselves or just to improve something that may be already sufficient we make use of teeth whitening, crowns, implants, porcelain veneers, and Lumineers. This article will discuss the differences between getting the perfect smile utilizing crowns, veneers and Lumineers.

Dental Crowns, also known as ”caps” are coverings that fit over the teeth. In the past, crowns were the first line of defense in treating dental problems, but veneers are now the more popular choice among dentists. The major difference between crowns, veneers and Lumineers is the amount of tooth structure that is removed. Veneers are a popular choice in most situations because very little of the tooth is eliminated as compared to crowns.

The tooth requiring a crown is grounded down to a stump or peg which allows adequate space for the crown which measures about 2 millimeters or more. The crown is cemented over the stump as a means to restoring the tooth to its normal shape, size and functionality. Further, the crown is able to support a tooth with a large filling; it is used to attach a bridge and protects a weak tooth from breaking or restoring one that’s already broken (in these situations a root canal is recommended before the crown is placed).

Although, cement is used to seat the crown, it can be removed, repaired, and replaced easily with minimal stress on the tooth. A crown is much stronger than a veneer and once a crown is used, the tooth will always require a dental crown. Crowns and veneers can be used for cosmetic purposes and to replace rotted or trauma damaged teeth. The average life span of a porcelain crown is 10 years, but with proper dental care they may last as long as 30 years.

Veneers are described as wafer-thin dental porcelain laminate measuring 1 millimeter in thickness or less and are seen as a ‘conservative crown’. This is because a dentist has to file down about .5 millimeters of tooth to allow space for the new veneer. Unlike the crown, the veneer is cemented onto the visible portion of the remaining tooth structure and cannot be removed. If any type damage occurs such as, chipping, the entire veneer will need replacing. A benefit of using this procedure is that the material is resistant to staining and is not susceptible to decay.

If a client has discolored, chipped, misaligned or worn teeth or there is a need to straighten and lengthen their teeth, veneers are used as a means to improve their smile and bite. They are purely cosmetic and make the tooth look as though it is “perfect” as opposed to a dental crown where the restored tooth may appear bulky or not integrate very with the rest of the client’s teeth.

It is not recommended that porcelain veneers be placed on teeth that have decay or if there is gum disease present. The client’s dentist must treat these conditions before veneers can be considered or successfully placed. Be mindful that grinding down naturally healthy teeth enamel possibly down to the dentin (bone like substance that makes up the teeth) increases the risk of nerve damage and the frequency of root canals. Tooth sensitivity also occurs after the procedure. Veneers should last a lifetime and as in the case of crowns, once a tooth is prepared for veneers, the client will always have to use them.

Lumineers is a brand name product and there really isn’t much of a difference between them and porcelain veneers except the size which is described as being as thin as contact lenses, about 0.3 millimeters. An impression of the client’s teeth is made and shipped to a lab. A custom set of veneers are crafted from the impression. The affected teeth are slightly etched to prepare for placement and are bonded onto the teeth. The client experiences the least amount of discomfort because there are no shots, drilling or pain. The thinness of the material allows for placement on the teeth without adding a “bulky” look to them.

Additionally, Lumineers are not permanent and can be reversed. Because of their thinness and versatility it makes it possible to apply them over existing bridgework and crowns. Clients do not have to replace previously completed dental work to be able to enjoy the benefits which are said to last up to 20 years. This procedure allows a client to obtain a healthy, naturally permanent white smile.

Many consumers take advantage of cosmetic dentistry out of concern for their smile and most importantly, how it may affect them personally and professionally.The procedures when performed, if not for a dental issue are usually known for use as self enhancement and to reinforce the belief that a better smile leads to more success whether financially or socially.

The search for the extreme smile is it worth it? Yes, because we are a society that thrives on beauty. It reminds me of a quote, author unknown, “A smile happens in a flash, but its memory can last a lifetime.” It is important to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile because it’s not only for you, but for others as well. For more dental resources visit my dental store at:
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