Many people want a "movie star smile." Because the focus in dentistry has changed over the past 20 years, many dentists now offer a variety of methods to improve the esthetics of your teeth. The methods not only vary in cost, but also in the time needed to complete the treatment as well as the maintenance of your new and improved smile.
The most common procedure used to improve the overall look of a patient's teeth is tooth whitening. Tooth whitening can be completed in a variety of methods. Many people have seen Crest Whitestrips or other forms of at-home tooth whitening on the shelves at Wal-Mart or CVS. Although some of these products will give you a slight improvement to the shade of your teeth, in many cases it is not the drastic improvement that patients are looking for. Also, it is important to remember that any form of tooth whitening can cause tooth sensitivity. Use sensitive toothpaste, such as Sensodyne or Crest Sensitive, during the time that you are using the whitening product. The tooth sensitivity should only last for the length of time you are using the whitening product. If it does not go away within a few days of completing the treatment, call your dental professional.
Many dental offices offer professional whitening treatments, such as Zoom whitening or customized bleaching trays. Because these procedures are only done under the care of a dental assistant or professional, they tend to have a higher concentration of the whitening agents, which gives patients better results than store bought products. The Zoom whitening procedure is completed in a dental office, usually in one visit, with the need for the patient to use customized bleaching trays to maintain the lighter shade of their teeth. This can be done from home. Patients can also whiten their teeth using customized bleaching trays without the Zoom procedure. This is completed from home, usually within a 2 week time span. Impressions are taken of the patient's teeth and a flexible, plastic tray is made to fit over their teeth. The whitening agent is dispensed into the tray and is placed in the patient's mouth and worn overnight. Once the initial treatment is complete, the patient will only need to maintain the new shade of their teeth, wearing their customized trays overnight once or twice every 4-6 weeks.
Porcelain veneers are also an option to improve your smile. This is a much more invasive procedure than whitening, but it improves the overall shape of the teeth in addition to the shade. The procedure is usually complete in two visits to the dentists. The first visit entails reshaping the teeth that the veneers are going to be placed on, in order for them to be able to fit into the patient's mouth. The patient leaves the office that day with temporary veneers. The second visit is the placement of the permanent porcelain veneers, which is usually 4-6 weeks later. These veneers are brushed and flossed like any natural tooth and having your teeth cleaned and checked every six months is all of the professional maintenance that is required. Most of the "movie star smiles" that people would like to have requires the placement of porcelain veneers.
People are always looking to improve or enhance the looks of their teeth. Hopefully this information will help you to attain your optimum smile!