Cosmetic dentistry can do many things. Although most people praise cosmetic dentistry for its aesthetic abilities, there is far more to cosmetic dentistry besides simply looks. Just like general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry is founded on the principle of maintaining or improving an individual’s oral health. This means that although cosmetic dental treatments are widely recognized for their aesthetic benefits, they also offer health benefits to patients as well.
Nowadays, there are several different cosmetic dental treatments available, including:
- Crowns and bridges
- Composite bonding
- Composite fillings
- Dental implants
- Orthodontics (Invisalign)
- Periodontal plastic surgery
- Teeth Whitening
These different cosmetic dental treatments are intended to correct a range of cosmetic issues such as discolorations, enamel damage from trauma or decay, tooth shape and size, gum shape, and the alignment or spacing of teeth. However, many of these cosmetic treatments also correct or restore the overall function of the teeth as well.
You may have also noticed that almost all the “cosmetic dental treatments” can also be categorized as restorative dental treatments. A restorative dental treatment is one that restores the tooth’s natural shape, color, and, most importantly, function. A cosmetic dental treatment restores a tooth’s natural function, while also improving its shape, color, and possibly other factors, so that the end result is even better than the original. Basically, cosmetic dentistry takes restorative dentistry one step further.
Because of this, cosmetic dentistry can provide the health benefits of restorative dentistry with some added benefits. In fact, cosmetic dentistry can offer patients both physical and mental health benefits. Let’s take a look at just how cosmetic dentistry can benefit your overall health:
Physical Health Benefits:
The first step to any cosmetic dental treatment is to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned. A professional teeth cleaning consists of gently scraping the plaque and tartar off your teeth to ensure a clean treatment area. Plaque is a biofilm of food particles and bacteria that sits on the surface of your teeth. When it hardens, it turns into tartar and can only be removed by a dentist. Both plaque and tartar contain thousands of bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Because cosmetic dental treatments correct the alignment and shape of your teeth, they generally make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean moving forward. Properly aligned teeth means there are less crevices for plaque to get stuck and form tartar. It also means that more plaque can be removed during daily brushings and flossing. However, you will still need to attend regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings at least once every six months to keep your teeth healthy.
An even bite is such an important thing to have because it ensures proper function and decreases your risk for painful dental issues, such as temporomandibular dysfunction or disorder (TMD). An uneven bite can also cause premature tooth wear, as well as damage to teeth that are absorbing too much pressure. While some cases of uneven bites can be the result of genetics, others can be the result of missing teeth or improperly fitting restorations. Replacing missing teeth and old restorations is important to keep your bite meeting evenly and functioning properly. Other cosmetic dental treatments, like Invisalign, can also help to properly align your bite.
Less Tooth Sensitivity:
Have you ever went to bite into something cold and felt a sudden, sharp tooth pain? Nobody enjoys that hallmark sign of tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can occur for a number of reasons including gum recession, tooth decay, or thinning enamel. Luckily, all of these things can be corrected with cosmetic dentistry. Certain cosmetic dental treatments, like porcelain veneers can actually eliminate tooth sensitivity altogether in some cases.
Maintain Proper Bone Mass:
Another huge perk of cosmetic dental treatments is that some of them can help you maintain your bone mass. Did you know that after a tooth is lost if it is not replaced within six months, the surrounding bone mass will actually be reabsorbed into the body? This is a process known as bone reabsorption and it can cause a number of issues if not treated. For starters, it can cause the surrounding teeth to become loose and it can even change your entire facial structure. Certain cosmetic dental treatments, like dental implants, replace missing teeth while also stimulating the bone and preventing bone loss.
Teeth that have been damaged due to trauma or decay are simply not as strong as those that have not been damaged. Teeth that have chips, cracks, or cavities are more likely to fracture or require a root canal than perfectly healthy teeth. Cosmetic dental treatments such as dental crowns and composite fillings can restore teeth and keep them strong. Composite fillings are usually best for small to medium cavities or other damage, while dental crowns are more suited for teeth requiring large fillings or with more severe damage.
Mental Health Benefits:
There are a variety of studies that indicate people who undergo cosmetic dental treatments have increased self-esteem at the end of their treatment. Many of these studies detail people who avoided smiling because they were previously embarrassed by their smile. After having cosmetic dental treatment, these people became increasingly confident and more pleased by their overall appearance.
Because cosmetic dentistry helps people feel better about themselves, they generally tend to smile more. Smiling is infectious. In fact, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry(AACD), 41% of individuals said that a smile from a stranger lifts their mood, and 57% said that it makes them also want to smile. Also, people are seen as being more approachable when they smile and are generally more likable.
The benefits from smiling can also carry on into the workplace. Unfortunately, studies show that people with poor dental hygiene and/or missing teeth are less likely to get hired. Conversely, many companies are more likely to hire and promote someone who has a healthy smile and who smiles more. Some people believe this is because they emit positivity in the workplace, which goes a long way.
Overall Sense of Happiness:
People who have a great smile and smile more are generally happy people. It’s simple really. Smiling is associated with happiness, so more smiling elicits more happiness. In fact, the AACD notes that 88% of individuals say that smiling makes them feel good and has found that smiling regularly can even add 7 years to your life.
To find out how cosmetic dentistry can positively impact your physical and mental health, schedule a consultation with South Florida’s top cosmetic dentists Drs. Lerner and Lemongello today!