Beautiful Teeth: 3 Ways to Keep Smiling

Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, but teeth are far from indestructible. If your smile is less than perfect, you have options.

Implants

Missing teeth can be more than just annoying. The loss of a front tooth causes difficulty when biting or tearing food and visible gaps can be embarrassing. Absent molars can make thorough chewing almost impossible. Yet sometimes getting a tooth pulled is the only option, such as when a break or crack extends into the gumline. Solutions used to be limited to dental bridges or partial dentures but now the best option is likely to be an implant. Advancements in dental implants can shorten treatment time considerably, such as immediate implant placement technique which allows the implant procedure to begin as soon as the broken or damaged tooth is extracted.

Veneers

For teeth that are still there but are unsightly, ceramic or resin veneers may be the answer. Misshapen teeth, teeth that have been chipped or worn down over time, or badly stained teeth that don’t respond to whitening may be addressed with veneers. A dental veneer is a thin layer of material that is bonded to the problematic tooth; it is durable and intended as a permanent solution but veneers do sometimes break or loosen. Because the process involves removing existing enamel, the original tooth cannot be restored to its original condition so discuss all the alternatives with your dentist prior to treatment.

Whitening

If all your smile needs is a little freshening up, you may want to look into teeth whitening. Many common activities can cause staining, such as using tobacco, drinking coffee or taking antihistamines. Lightly stained teeth can often be whitened effectively with an at-home product from the corner drugstore. Deeper, darker stains may require professional help. Dentists can supply products to be applied at home over a week or up to a month. For quicker results, opt for an in-office bleaching procedure; it usually takes from one to several hours and results may last for years.

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