A smile you don’t love can really affect your quality of life. Not only can they influence how you feel about yourself, but a study showed misaligned teeth can affect how others treat you, too.
But what can you do if you’re unhappy with your smile? In today’s post, we’ll discuss the options available to you and help you understand how to fix a smile you don’t love.
Identify what you’d like to improve
The first step to improving your smile is to think about the issues you’d like to fix. Before you see a dentist, begin by thinking about the problems you see in your smile and how important each is to you. This will help your dentist understand the improvements you’d like to make and help to develop treatment recommendations.
When looking at your smile, are you bothered by:
- Misaligned teeth
- Gaps and spaces between teeth
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Stained teeth
- Missing teeth
Dr. Catt says, “Misaligned teeth are just the tip of the iceberg…”
When teeth are misaligned, the problem often extends beyond the visible portion of the teeth (called the crown). Beneath your gums, the roots of your teeth may also be misaligned and crowded.
With crowded roots, there’s very little space between the roots of the neighboring teeth. There simply isn’t enough bone in the jaw to create a stable and solid foundation.
Misaligned teeth are hard to clean, prone to chronic inflammation and gum disease, and can lead to bone loss around those crowded roots.
Not many dentists in the Rogue Valley can help improve the alignment of both teeth and their roots. But I can!
If you’d like to learn more, give my office a call at (541) 772-8846 to set up your consultation.
A cosmetic “Swiss Army Knife”
Many people who are interested in multiple improvements in their smiles may be best served by Bioclear Matrix no-prep cosmetic veneers. This is a versatile, flexible, and customizable cosmetic treatment and unlike porcelain veneers, is completely reversible! With Bioclear veneers you can eliminate the appearance of stains, cover up chips and cracks, and even fix small gaps between teeth.
Best of all, the Bioclear system is very cost-effective compared to other more permanent cosmetic treatments. They offer you the chance to “test drive” a new smile without a permanent commitment. If you’re happy with the results, great! If there’s still improvements to make, Dr. Catt can help you explore other options.
What about teeth whitening?
3 preventable causes of stained teeth
While your genetics and the aging process play a role in determining the speed your teeth lose their whiteness, many tooth stains are avoidable. The most common causes of stained teeth include:
- Coffee, tea, and darkly pigmented foods
- Tobacco use of any kind
- Poor brushing and flossing habits
Teeth whitening is a big business. In 2015, people spent over $3 BILLION on whitening treatments. Numerous studies have shown white teeth increase self-confidence, make you look younger, impress romantic suitors, and can even improve your chances of success in the workplace.
Teeth whitening treatments are an excellent option if your major cosmetic concern is the color of your teeth and not their shape, size, or alignment. At Dr. Catt’s office in Medford, we offer both in-office laser whitening treatments for fast and dramatic results. We also offer take-home whitening trays to eliminate minor stains and maintain your desired level of whiteness.
Not all stains are the same. Some medications like tetracycline and doxycycline (common antibiotics) can actually stain teeth from the inside out. In these cases, traditional teeth whitening treatments won’t always yield the results you’re looking for.
Straighten teeth and eliminate uneven gaps between teeth
Just as missing teeth aren’t solely a cosmetic problem, gaps between teeth and misaligned teeth can also cause health problems like increased risk of decay and jaw pain. When most people think about straightening their teeth they immediately think of the “metal mouth” stereotype of orthodontic braces and headgear from the 1980s.
But it’s 2019 and there’s a much better way to straighten teeth without the pain and inconvenience of metal braces. Invisalign is a series of custom-made, nearly invisible clear aligners that gently reposition your teeth over time. They’re a great option for correcting crowding, overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.
5 Tips for Invisalign Success
- Wear your aligners as instructed for 23.5 hours a day. While Invisalign can be removed at any time (say for a big date or another special occasion), you should wear your aligners for 23.5 hours a day and only remove them to brush or floss your teeth. Taking your aligners out too often will lead to disappointing and inconsistent results.
- Use your Munchie! Included with your Invisalign system is a Munchie, a simple device to increase blood flow to your mouth and minimize soreness as you get used to your aligners.
- Avoid turmeric. Turmeric, a yellow spice found in some sauces, mustards, and even Kraft Mac & Cheese, can turn your Invisalign aligners permanently yellow!
- Keep your aligners and your teeth clean. Gently clean Invisalign as instructed by Dr. Catt and keep up with your brushing and flossing habits.
- Don’t ignore your retainer. Your retainer is essential to maintaining your new smile. Wear your retainer and you’ll be able to keep your teeth straight and beautiful.
What about mail-order Invisalign alternatives?
Recently, there’s been more and more advertisements for Invisalign alternatives. Many ship you a “kit” so you can create a model of your smile that will be used to create the aligners. The downside is you may never see a dentist or orthodontist in person. A dentist may review your aligners and progress using photos you provide, but you won’t get any face-to-face feedback and discussion of your treatment plan and results.
Some people may see an improvement in their smile with these products, but it will never match the results offered by Invisalign. A dentist you know and trust can provide feedback on your progress and be a valuable resource to make sure you get the results you’re looking for.
Missing teeth are more than a cosmetic issue
It’s important to recognize that missing teeth can cause more than cosmetic problems with your smile. Left unrepaired, you may suffer from increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease, TMJ pain, and bone loss in the jaw.
Replacing a missing tooth with a custom dental implant will provide both cosmetic and health benefits. Plus with proper care, an implant can last a lifetime.
Learn more about dental implants or schedule your consult with Dr. Catt today.
Ready for a smile makeover?
Are you interested in learning more about cosmetic treatments to transform your smile? Schedule your consultation with Dr. Catt today. He’s helped thousands of patients fall in love with their smiles all over again.
Dr. Catt graduated from Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) in 1997 and through his personalized and high-tech approach, has since become one of the most trusted dentists in the Rogue Valley. Dr. Catt is a member and past president of the Oregon Dental Association and is involved in the American Dental Association and Southern Oregon Dental Society. He’s also received recognition from the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists for his exceptional professional achievements, exemplary service, and dedication to the continued progress of dentistry.