Do you ever find yourself hiding your smile in photos? Or avoiding laughter because you’re self-conscious about your teeth? If so, you’re not alone. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 74% of adults feel self-conscious about their smiles, which can also hurt their chances of career success.
The good news is that you can do plenty of things to love your smile again. From at-home treatments to professional options, there are several ways to get the teeth and smile of your dreams. We’ve rounded up some of the best tips below.
At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the look of your teeth is by whitening them. You can find an at-home teeth whitening kit at any drug store or online retailer. With at-home teeth whitening, you can get the same results as if you went to a dentist’s office without anyone knowing that you’ve had treatment. You can trust that the results will be dramatic and natural looking.
While home teeth whitening kits can brighten your smile, they will only change the color of your teeth by a couple of shades. More than these, at-home treatments may be required if you look for a dramatic difference in tooth color (for example, if you have heavy staining). If you’re looking for more dramatic results, options from your dentist are available. In-office teeth whitening can make your teeth several shades brighter in just one visit. However, this treatment is more expensive than at-home kits and is not covered by dental insurance.
Fixing Crooked Teeth
If you’re unhappy with the alignment of your teeth, a few different options are available to straighten them. Traditional metal braces are the most common option for both children and adults. However, clear braces and invisible aligners are also available if you’re looking for a more discreet option. These options are often more expensive than metal braces but may be worthwhile if you’re concerned about appearance.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth
One reason your teeth may not look as good as you want them to is an impacted wisdom tooth. When this happens, the wisdom tooth doesn’t have enough room to come in, so it gets trapped beneath the gum line. This can cause pain, swelling, and infection. It can also crowd other teeth and make them crooked. If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, your best option is to have it removed by a dentist or oral surgeon.
Crooked teeth may also mean you have crowding when there isn’t enough room in your mouth for all of your teeth. This can be caused by various things, such as large teeth, small jaws, or even an overbite. Oral and maxillofacial surgery can help you correct this issue by removing teeth or even repositioning your jaw. However, this is a more invasive option and should only be considered after other options have been exhausted.
Replacing Missing Teeth
If you have missing teeth, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible to maintain the health of your mouth and jawbone. The most common type of replacement tooth is a dental implant.
A dental implant is a small metal post surgically inserted into your jawbone. Once the implant has healed, a custom-made replacement tooth (called a crown) is placed on top. Dental implants look and function like natural teeth and can last a lifetime with proper care. These are a great way to improve the function and look of your smile if you’re missing one or more teeth.
Once in place, they allow you to eat, speak, and smile confidently. Implants are the only replacement tooth type that helps preserve your jawbone. That’s because the surrounding bone deteriorates when you lose a tooth. Dental implants help to keep this from happening by stimulating the bone and preventing loss.
Another option for replacing missing teeth is dentures. Dentures are removable false teeth. They’re usually made of acrylic or porcelain and can be fitted to your mouth by a dentist. Dentures can help improve the appearance of your smile and make it easier to eat and speak. While dentures are less expensive than implants, they’re not as stable and can be prone to slipping. They also don’t last as long as implants and will eventually need to be replaced.
Tips on Avoiding Dental Problems
The good news is you can avoid many dental problems by taking good care of your teeth and gums. Here are some tips to help you keep your smile healthy:
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss every day
- Eat a balanced diet and avoid sugary snacks
- Limit your intake of acidic drinks like soda
- Don’t smoke
- See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings (every six months)
Use in-network providers to get the most coverage if you have dental insurance. An appointment with a dentist is the best way to ensure good oral health. They can help catch any problems early and recommend the best course of treatment.
Bring Back Your Confidence
There’s no need to feel self-conscious about your smile anymore! With so many easy and affordable options, there’s no reason not to love your smile again. Be sure to talk to your dentist about what treatment option is right for you based on your needs and concerns. And in no time, you’ll be flashing those pearly whites with confidence!