When we meet someone, there is a 47% chance that the first thing we see is their smile before we take notice of other features on their face. Having a great smile can make a great first impression, indeed. It can also help one’s self-esteem and social standing and can be a door opener to many opportunities. Alas, what if one of your life insecurities is related to how you smile?
Studies have shown that people with an “imperfect smile” tend to suffer significant stress and social anxiety and conceal their smiles, particularly when dealing with missing or visibly misaligned teeth.
On the other hand, those perceived to have an appealing smile exhibit more confidence, less anxiety, and a greater capacity to enjoy life as it is. A smile can be perceived differently among individuals. Generally, it can be judged by your teeth’s different features.
According to a research study, a smiling deformity consists of three elements: (1) the nasal tip tending to retrodisplace (backward displacement) and rotate inferiorly; (2) the lower part of the upper lip moving superiorly; and (3) a horizontal groove occurring in the central focal point of the upper lip area.
In addition to the aforementioned factors, the whiteness or straightness of teeth also impacts one’s smile. They are prone to stains or discoloration, particularly for smokers or coffee drinkers. They can also break, crack, or move away from each other, leaving odd spaces in between due to a number of factors.
Fortunately, with the developments in cosmetic dentistry, the question of how to fix your smile can go beyond an internal dilemma into a solvable problem. There has been an obvious growth in cosmetic dentistry over the past years as the annual average spend of an individual has grown by 33% since 2015.
What has been a great source of insecurity from previous years can be fixed through procedures that are as simple as making the teeth whiter, restoring a chipped tooth, and using veneers that can be customized to fit over the front surfaces of our teeth.
Here are some of the treatment options for fixing one’s smile:
- Dental bonding. In 2017, dental bonding, also known as composite bonding, was the most commonly chosen dental procedure among patients. This procedure involves applying a tooth-colored resin material to the affected teeth to improve their shape, size, or color.
The goal is to repair cracked teeth, camouflage tooth discoloration, close gaps, and spaces between the teeth, change the its shape, and sometimes, make them look longer. Compared to other treatment options, such as porcelain veneers, the advantage of teeth bonding is that it is entirely reversible.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, involve custom-made ceramic shells that stick to the front surface of the teeth, removing some enamel from them. On the other hand, though porcelain veneers are not reversible, they need to be replaced once every 10 or 20 years.
- Dental implants and dental bridges. It is estimated that around 69% of American adults, with an age ranging from 35 to 44 years old, have at least lost one adult tooth. When they reach the age of 74, 25% of Americans are said to have lost all their adult teeth, which makes tooth loss a widespread predicament.
When someone loses a tooth, it is recommended that they get a proper replacement to maintain the teeth’s alignment. Otherwise, some teeth may move and create gaps and spaces between them. Replacement teeth can also maintain facial shape and avoid speaking and eating difficulties.
The two most common procedures for replacement teeth are dental implants and dental bridges, each having their own advantages and disadvantages.
Dental bridges are false teeth made from materials such as porcelain or plastic that match the teeth’s color. They are held in place by the teeth around the missing tooth. Dental implants, on the other hand, are artificial tooth roots that are made from titanium. Instead of being held by the surrounding teeth, they are held down by screws in place.
One of the advantages of dental bridges compared to dental implants is that they cost less and don’t require invasive surgery. However, they don’t tend to last long and have to be replaced within 5 to 7 years. On the other hand, dental implants, though more costly, tend to last longer, up to 15 years. Between the two, dental implants have shown a higher 10-year success rate of around 97%.
Find more information about implants and bridges and which of the two is better.
- Orthodontic treatments: Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that treats teeth misalignment or malocclusion (bad bites). In other words, an orthodontist specializes in teeth alignment. Aside from its cosmetic benefits and improved appearance, properly aligned teeth significantly impact oral health.
Teeth misalignment can often lead to oral issues such as cavities, gum diseases, and erosion or excessive wear. Common teeth misalignment includes overbite, or when the upper teeth protrude over the lower teeth, and underbite, or when the lower teeth are the ones sticking out over the upper teeth. Other cases involve overlapping, rotated, crooked, and impacted teeth.
Typical orthodontic treatments include:
- Braces – Braces are designed to slowly shift one’s teeth into their correct positions using a combination of bands, brackets, and wires. Braces also have different types, depending on the patient’s needs, including traditional metal and ceramic braces.
- Clear Aligners – A popular substitute for braces are clear aligners. They use customized clear aligner trays, which you replace every one or two weeks. These, too, intend to move your teeth into proper positions.
- Retainers – Retainers are usually used at the end of the treatment from braces / clear aligners. This keeps one’s teeth from drifting out of their proper positions. It will be up to your orthodontist how many weeks you need to wear the retainer to maintain the results of the treatment.
Here’s some additional information about orthodontic treatments from the experts: https://aaoinfo.org/resources/why-orthodontics/
These mentioned treatments are just some of the various therapies one can avail of to improve their smile. Since we established the value of a great smile earlier and its impact on our overall success – health and life, studies have shown that many patients are more open to cosmetic dentistry than ever before. In fact, global cosmetic dentistry is estimated to grow at an annual compounded growth rate of 6.6% between 2020 and 2025 – from $ 21.9 billion in 2020 to $30.1 billion by 2025.