More than 9 in 10 Americans say a smile is the most important social asset, and three quarters of them say an unattractive smile would hurt a person's career chances.
But only half of adults polled by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry say they are happy with their own smiles. As a society, we are very smile conscious.
While some may turn to cosmetic dentistry solely for aesthetic purposes, Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodotnist and director of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners says, "it also can improve dental health".
"A person with malocclusion, or misalignment of teeth, who opts for cosmetic dentistry will likely end up with a prettier smile. But straighter teeth also will be easier to clean, potentially leading to better oral health. There also can be a self-esteem boost that comes with having an improved smile. There are instances when cosmetic dentistry is not strictly cosmetic. There's a place for it."
A dentist should ask patients why they want cosmetic dentistry and what they want to achieve with improvements to their smile, then proceeds from there to decide what procedure might be best for that patient.There are different reasons to choose it. If it's just the shade of their teeth that patients are concerned about, then maybe bleaching is enough. If the patient has very good teeth intact and wants to even them out, maybe veneers are the way to go.
If the dentist suggests cosmetic dentistry, patients can ask several questions to help them decide what is best for them:
- What is your reasoning for it?
- Why do you believe I need it?
- Is it strictly cosmetic or are there health benefits for me?
- What are risks and benefits of it?
If patients are not satisfied with the answers, they should seek second opinions. For more information, contact Newton Wellesley Dental Partners.