Great things happen when you smile. Smiling not only makes you feel better, but a 2015 study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that people who see another person smiling end up smiling themselves. However, if you have a dental concern, such as receding gums, crooked teeth or a missing tooth, you could feel self-conscious about smiling.
That's when it's time to consider a smile makeover! A variety of procedures can correct cosmetic or medical dental issues with your teeth and gums, giving you a smile you'll want to show off. Here are a few ideas to help you with your particular dental concern.
Straighten Teeth with Braces
A smile makeover is just one of the advantages of getting braces. As the American Dental Association points out, if you have an abnormal bite or crooked teeth, you might have an increased risk for tooth decay or gum disease, as well as tooth loss and trouble with speech or chewing. While braces are commonly thought of as a childhood rite of passage, adult braces to help straighten your teeth or to correct an under or overbite are not so uncommon. You'll also have a variety of options when it comes to choosing braces, from the classic brackets and wires to less noticeable options, such as Invisalign.
Get Rid of Gaps with a Retainer
While braces can help straighten your teeth and close any gaps between them, they aren't always needed. If you have a small gap between two teeth, known as disastema, wearing a retainer might be sufficient to close the gap. How long you need to wear a retainer depends on a number of factors. Some people wear one for just a few years, while others might need one for the rest of their lives.
Replace Missing Teeth with Implants
Tooth loss might be less common today, as a 2015 data brief from the Centers for Disease Control shows, but people still experience tooth loss, and it can happen for a number of reasons, from extensive decay to an accident. You have a few options when it comes to replacing lost teeth and making your smile look as good as new.
Dental implants are permanent replacement options. If you decide to get an implant, a titanium post is surgically placed in your jawbone and a crown or cap is placed over the top. Implants look like real teeth, and feel and act like real teeth. You don't have to remove them when you go to sleep, as you do with dentures, and you don't have to worry about people being able to tell that you have an implant. While you don't have to worry about your implants getting cavities, you should still keep them clean like the rest of your mouth with a fluoride toothpaste, such as Colgate Total® Clean Mint.
Restore Receded Gums
You might associate receding gums, or gums that are pulling away from the teeth, exposing the root and elongating the teeth, with periodontal disease. But, it's possible to have a healthy mouth and still have some gum recession that makes you feel self-conscious about smiling. Things such as brushing too hard or your genes can lead to receding gums. No matter the cause of your receding gums, treatment is available to help improve the way they look.
Treatment options depend on the extent of the recession and the cause. If you're a vigorous brusher and your gums are just beginning to recede, you can talk to your dentist about how to brush more gently. If you have early signs of gum disease, a deep cleaning might be sufficient to improve your gums. More advanced cases of gum recession benefit from surgery, which grafts tissue from one area of the mouth to the area that's receding, improving the look of the gumline and the health of your mouth.
No smile makeover is complete without a commitment to keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Schedule regular follow-up appointments with your dentist, orthodontist or periodontist as needed, and get in the habit of twice a day gentle brushing and once a day flossing.