There's no doubt about it -- nearly everyone wants a great smile. We look at all the movie stars on TV, people in the media and in advertisements, and say, "I want to have teeth just like that!" But when we talk to our friends and relatives about cosmetic dentistry, some say that we might need to take out a second mortgage to get that "dazzling smile." Yet, by the time we visit the dentist for a checkup, we're reluctant to bring up the subject of cosmetic dentistry all together.
You may be surprised to learn that not all cosmetic dentistry is expensive, although some options are. To begin with, the procedure that costs the most usually involves 6-10 porcelain veneers or tooth crowns to improve a smile. While the results of this procedure can be excellent in the right situation, the cost is several thousand dollars. Some people say, "That sounds great, I'll have it done when I hit the lottery!" The reality is that many patients do not want to spend thousands of dollars for a cosmetic procedure. So, what can the rest of us do who want to improve our smiles without breaking the bank? The answer involves having your dentist do several less-involved procedures used in combination.
I have found that the combination of tooth whitening and shaping, and replacing old discolored fillings with new white ones can affordably improve a smile. Many people have old white fillings on their front teeth (incisors or canines) that have become stained and now look unattractive. Others have silver fillings on the inside of their front teeth or on their side teeth (premolars) that can make them look darker than their other teeth. Still others have teeth that are uneven or pointed. For a reasonable price, your dentist can improve all of these situations.
Here's the order of what your dentist can do. First, your dentist whitens and shapes your teeth. After the teeth are whiter and attractively shaped, old and discolored fillings can be replaced with new ones that match the whiter color. Prices vary, but in many cases, the cost for this "smile enhancement" will be less than a thousand dollars. So the next time you go to your dentist, don't be afraid to ask about what cosmetic dental options are available -- on a "shoe-string" budget.