Vacation or Teeth -”Why Should I invest in Smile Design Dentistry?”
If you want a beautiful smile so you can smile more confidently more often, this article will help you understand why your Smile Design dentist recommends specific dental treatment options.
As we all go through life, most of us find that we have a limited amount of money and seemingly an unlimited amount of items we need or want to buy. Remember when you were a little kid and wanted that new bike? You went to your piggy bank and probably quickly discovered that you needed more money to buy it. As we grow older that conundrum usually doesn’t change. We get more money but tend to also want more expensive things, like a new car or fancy vacation instead of the new bike. So, why invest in smile design dentistry?
There is also the situation of buying something we need vs. something we want with our limited resources. “Boy, I sure would like that fancy vacation, but my furnace is nearing the end of its life and I should really think about buying a new one!”
Obviously, a vacation is something we want while a furnace is something that we need. So how do we choose? Should we choose? We all go through a decision and justification process on spending our hard-earned money and many of us can look back and determine where we made good choices and perhaps not-so-good choices. With that in mind, where do dentistry and dental health fall in the decision process of making purchases? Dentistry has evolved over the years into being able to offer people not only what is needed but also what they may want.
1st Cover Your Essential Dental Care Needs
As a dental patient, you need takes care of cleanings, fillings, broken teeth or dental infections; while dentistry you may want might include cosmetic dentistry. As you go through your decision process to invest in smile design dentistry regarding needs and wants these are some of the things you may consider.
First, from a health standpoint, I believe we all can agree that healthy teeth and mouths are very important and need to be maintained. You need your teeth for a lifetime of eating, smiling and talking, so the value of investing in your health is quite obvious.
If done correctly the investment in dental health is quite minimal comparatively speaking.
When I speak of minimal, I’m referring to check-ups with your dentist every 6 months. When you do this your dentist and hygienist are able to keep your teeth and gums in optimal dental health at a cost of $300-$500 per year. If this step is not taken and dental problems are allowed to set in, costs can quickly escalate from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars (i.e. cavities, broken teeth, root canals, etc.).
3 Reasons to Invest in Your Smile with Cosmetic Dentistry
1. You may save costs in the long run. Not only is there the cost component from not taking care of your teeth but you may also end up with discomfort from dental infections or broken teeth and missed time from work to take care of dental emergencies. Caring for your teeth in an emergent vs. a preventive manner can quickly take up those dollars that you were hoping to use for that fancy vacation!
2. Social benefits. Second, while investing in dental health is pretty straight forward, what about the want or cosmetic side of the equation? Should one make that investment in cosmetic care, or is it just another expenditure that will prevent you from getting that boat you want? There are a couple of major benefits to consider when weighing the option of accepting cosmetic dental care. Cosmetic dental care can greatly impact your appearance.
3.Career benefits. This can have an effect socially on attracting that special someone, and it can have an impact on your career as your confidence in yourself gets projected out. In fact, Business Insider wrote an article you can reference; “Scientists Identify 3 Reasons Why Attractive People Make More Money”.
Since there are benefits in investing in yourself with cosmetic dentistry, let’s take a look at some of the options you have for your smile design. These are often classified as cosmetic, so more information will help you can make a better decision if it will make is a sensible investment for you!
Smile Design Options
* Teeth Whitening
The first and easiest is teeth whitening. Some people are naturally born with darker teeth while others over time see their teeth become stained and dull. The stains can come from various sources: smoking, coffee, and wine are some of the biggest culprits. Since we associate a nice white smile with youth, we can make a decision if having a youthful appearance is important enough for us to make that expenditure. Teeth whitening tend to have the lowest cost among dental options for providing something we want.
Teeth Whitening Costs:
Costs can range from $250 for take-home kits to $1500 if you want “instant gratification” and have the whitening done in your dental office. Results will vary from person to person but can be quite dramatic. Since teeth can re-stain over time the results are not permanent but there is the ability to do teeth whitening over and over again if the staining does come back.
* Dental Veneers
There are more permanent solutions for whiter teeth if you want to consider the convenience of not having to whiten your teeth annually as staining reappears. The solution that I am speaking about is veneers. Veneers are a covering that goes over the front of your tooth.
The veneer can be made of a composite material or porcelain. The advantage of veneers over whitening is that it is permanent in nature you can dramatically change both the color and shape of the teeth. Permanent in the sense Porcelain veneers will not readily stain or discolor since that coffee, smoking or wine cannot stain them the glass easily. They can be made any shade of white you want, often being able to better mask certain deep stains. Additionally, a certain amount of “Shaping” can be done to make teeth longer and wider to create a better proportioned and cosmetically pleasing smile. You can change not only the color of your tooth but also the shape of your tooth.
Veneer Smile Design Costs:
Composite veneers will be less costly than porcelain veneers, $500 – $1000 per tooth vs $1250 – $2500 per tooth for a veneer. The downside to the composite veneer is that the material is not as hard as a porcelain veneer so it may be more prone to chipping or wear from grinding. It also will typically need to be replaced more frequently than porcelain due to material differences and breakdown.
The properties of directly placed composite veneers have improved vastly over the last 5 to 10 years, making lifelike, natural, aesthetically pleasing teeth more possible than ever. That being said, a porcelain veneer will generally have more nuance and character built into it than a composite veneer.
You can Achieve a Balanced and Beautiful Smile
Typically when considering composites or porcelain veneers, the option people will look to doing is 4-10 teeth on top and/or 4-10 teeth on the bottom. In most cases, to achieve a balanced and beautiful smile, symmetry needs to be built upon across multiple teeth. Expanding veneers to include canine-to-canine or premolar-to-premolar will allow for the greatest control in creating the aesthetic you desire and provide for a natural, esthetic smile. The thought process on this that when improving the appearance of your teeth you want to improve the teeth that people see when you smile. (There is no need to place a veneer on a back tooth since no one will see it.)
That said, if you feel it can fit your budget, the porcelain veneer would be the choice for that bright, white smile that will last. Do a little math and think about how many teeth you want to change; multiply that by the cost per tooth to figure out your investment.
Investing in Braces can Remarkable Improve your Smile
There is another option that falls a little in between needs and cosmetic dentistry. It is something that most of us think of as being associated only with children but there are more and more adults choosing it as a dental option. That option is braces!
Many of us had braces as children. But there are many more of us who did not have braces and have lived with teeth that may be crooked or crowded or, may have gaps between them. There are also people who had braces as a child but did not follow up that care with wearing retainers after to keep their teeth from shifting back.
If you have teeth that are crowded or have gaps you may want to re-visit braces. They have changed a lot since your childhood. You no longer the need to be a “brace face” with metal braces showing when you smile. There is a product called Invisalign®.
Invisalign® is a series of clear retainers or aligners that you wear, taking them out only to eat. The braces do not affect your speech and since they are clear no one will know you are wearing them. No more “brace face”! If you are unhappy with gaps or crowding with your teeth, consider clear braces.
This investment in your smile design will usually cost between $3000-$7000 and usually take from 12-18 months to complete. If your changes are minimal there is also an “express” option that will range from $2000-$4000 and take less than a year to complete.
Invisalign may also be something to consider if you have worn down your teeth significantly and “short teeth” is the reason you want to pursue veneers. Often the reason for short teeth is related to biting issues that have progressively caused wear and breakdown. It may be the case that you are not a candidate for veneers without moving teeth because trying to change the length of your teeth in the absence of protecting your investment from your bite is a poor long-term plan. If needed, other oral surgery procedures may be suggested.
Smile Design Dental Needs vs Dental Wishes Fulfilled
This is the grey area between dental needs vs dental wants. Braces are needed to correct bite or speech issues while having the component of also providing straight teeth, that will allow you to place stable and protected long term restorations.
Outside of having teeth whiter and straighter, another investment one can make is gum contouring. If you have that “gummy look“ when you smile or your teeth are shorter than you like you may want to consider this. There are various ways that this can be accomplished; with lasers and crown lengthening among others. It would be best to speak with your dentist about options to get a sense of the investment you may need to make.
Like any other investment, you want to do your research to make sure your money is well spent. That research should include finding the right dentist to do your treatment. All dentists are not created equal. All will have various skill levels and varying amounts of continuing education after dental school.
Precautions when Investing in Your Smile
Changes to your teeth must be done with care and you need to make certain the dentist you choose can successfully deliver what you want. Your teeth will not only need to look great but also function great. There can be unintended consequences in using the wrong provider for your care, like unintentionally negatively impacting your bite after changing the shape or position of your teeth. This is a very big risk with some of the mail order [do it yourself ] orthodontics that has recently hit the market. But, just how does the layperson find out which dentist would be good for them since most do say that they provide cosmetic care?
4 Steps to take before redesigning your smile:
- Speak with other people you may know who have gone to the dentist you are considering. Were they happy with their results?
- Go to the dentist’s website. Are they proudly displaying before and after photos of their work?
- Also on the website, go to the dentist’s biography. Does he or she invest in continuing education for themselves? There are continuous advances in dentistry and if the dentist has not invested in life-long learning after graduation they have fallen behind.
- Last, it is probably good to have a consultation with your dentist prior to care. Do you feel comfortable with them? This is a big investment and you need to feel comfortable that the person delivering your care is qualified and understands what you want.
“One of the biggest decisions related to cosmetic dentistry is finding the proper dentist to manage your treatment. Ask your dentist to show you their before and after images of cases, they have completed. Find out what advanced training programs they have attended and how many cases they have done like yours in the last year. There is no board recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry so many doctors advertise as being a “cosmetic dentist” with very limited training or expertise. When done properly cosmetic dentistry can enhance a person’s appearance possibly more than any other cosmetic procedure.” – Corey Jensen DDS MAGD
Read our article on how seniors can keep a beautiful smile.
When considering your dental care take a look at the costs and the benefits of what you are considering and what dentistry benefits it will provide for you. With all the facts you will be better able to decide if making the investment in smile design dentistry is right for you!
Don’t lose that beautiful smile! Call us today for your smile design treatment. 763-537-1238
Brian Denn is the Clinic Manager at Smile Design Dentistry in Plymouth, Minnesota. Brian has over 25 years of dental practice management involving making practices run smoother and patient experiences better. He also leads a dental practice managers group staying abreast of the latest dental practice management trends.