Did You Know?
99.7% of Americans believe a smile is an important social asset.
96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more engaging to members of the opposite sex.
74% of adults believe an unattractive smile can lessen a person's chances for career success.
88% say they remember someone with an attractive smile.
50% of Americans are satisfied with their smiles.
Source: Dental Resources
From attracting a mate to landing a corner office job, your smile can be a key ingredient. But not everyone is blessed with perfectly-alligned, pearly white choppers, so Cincy Chic did some digging to find out more about the procedures and professionals out there in case you need a little help in the smile department.
The tooth whitening process eliminates discoloration and stains on the teeth, and can also brighten the natural pigmentation of the teeth. The degree of improvement will depend upon how severely the teeth are stained or discolored as well as the nature of the stains.
When teeth are brown or yellow due to coffee, tea, or smoking, stains will generally lighten four to five shades. Teeth that are gray due to natural pigmentation, antibiotics or birth controls such as Tetracycline will lighten two to three shades. Regardless, your teeth will be noticeably brighter after teeth whitening.
In an independent study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the The most popular answer to What would you most like to improve about your smile? was "whiter teeth."
If, when you look in the mirror and see yellowed teeth staring back at you, your first inclination is to stop by Kroger and pick up some whitening strips, stop right there, sister! While there are a number of over-the-counter teeth whitening methods that make various claims, only a dental professional can recommend the most effective teeth whitening treatment for you. In addition, according to Dr. Mike Palmer of Palmer Cosmetic Dentistry in Crestview Hills, KY, the at-home delivery system is sub-par for most. "Those whitening strips only work if you have straight teeth," he adds. "You need a tray that's perfectly adjusted to fit the spacing and alignment of your teeth, and you don't get that with the strips."
The Zoom whitening system is an effective in-office option, performed by dentists such as Dr. Gibberman on Montgomery Rd. This procedure begins with a short preparation to isolate your lips and gums. The Zoom clinician then applies the proprietary Zoom whitening gel, which is activated by a specially designed light. Teeth regularly become at least six to ten shades whiter, sometimes more. A five-minute fluoride treatment completes the procedure. At Dr. Gibberman's office, this procedure will run you $525.
Also reversing years of stains caused by foods, caffeine and tobacco use are veneers. According to Dr. Gibberman's site, special thin laminates, called "veneers," can often be used to correct discolored, worn down, cracked and chipped teeth. Veneers can also be used to close unsightly gaps between teeth. Stronger types of veneers made of porcelain, also called "composite veneers," typically last longer because they are bonded to the tooth.
An impression of the tooth must be made and a veneer molded by a lab technician. Because veneers require a small amount of enamel to be removed, they are permanent and non-reversible.
The process involves buffing the tooth, removing an extremely thin layer of the tooth to allow for the thickness of the veneer, an impression of the tooth, and final bonding of the veneer to the tooth with special cement. A special light is used to complete the process. This process will cost you $800-1,200 a tooth at Dr. Palmer's office.
With both traditional and no-preparation Lumineers, you can close spaces, instantly straighten teeth and whiten your smile with veneers. Lumineers are ultrathin veneers that require no shots, minimal or no tooth reshaping and no temporaries. At Dr. Gibberman's office, this procedure is approximately $1,000 a tooth.
A less expensive, but comparable, option to Veneers is what dentists call "bonding." By using dental composite resin bonding, your dentist can restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps and reshape or recolor your smile.
Dr. Palmer says this option does offer an improvement to discolored, worn down, cracked and chipped teeth, but "it's the middle of the road option, and it may not be as attractive aesthetically." The price tag is more attractive though, running you only $200-$500 a tooth at Dr. Palmer's office.
Invisalign is a method of orthodontic therapy promoted as an "invisible" way of straightening teeth without using traditional braces. It, instead, uses a series of clear custom-fabricated aligners designed to gradually and sequentially move teeth to their desired positions.
According to Dr. Gibberman, here's how Invisalign works:
- You wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush and floss.
- As you replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teeth will move little by little, week by week – until they have straightened to the their final position.
- You'll visit us about once every six weeks to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned.
- Total treatment time averages 9-15 months and the average number of aligners during treatment is between 18-30, but both will vary from case to case.
At Dr. Gibberman's office, this procedure is $5,380. That's not so bad, considering fees average $5,413, and can go up to $7,625, for straightening teeth with traditional braces, according to BracesInfo.com. Add about $500 for "tooth colored" ceramic brackets; and behind-the-teeth (called lingual or concealed) braces are an additional $2,000-$5,000.
According to Dr. Gibberman's site, bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.
Bridges are sometimes referred to as "fixed partial dentures," because they are semi-permanent and are bonded to existing teeth or implants. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the wearer; others need to be removed by a dentist.
Porcelain, gold alloys or combinations of materials are usually used to make bridge appliances. Appliances called "implant bridges" are attached to an area below the gum tissue, or the bone. The average cost of a single fixed bridge depends on many factors, such as how many teeth are being bridged and which type of bridges are needed. Typically, a dental bridge cost ranges from $500-900 per tooth.