Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you. With more of our lives being captured on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, it’s not uncommon to be insecure about how your teeth look in photos and in real life.
However, most of us don’t have perfectly pearly teeth. Coffee, tea, alcohol, smoking and even some foods stain teeth over time, not to mention the natural effects of ageing. So what options are available if you want to keep your smile bright and white?
We’ve done the research and here are the five best dental treatment options currently available to help you smile with confidence.
Veneers are thin coverings that fit over the front of your teeth to improve their appearance. These are popular with celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and George Clooney. They can be used to correct a wide range of dental issues such as:
- Stained teeth
- Chipped or worn teeth
- Crooked or misshapen teeth
- Large gaps
There are two main types of veneers – porcelain and composite. Porcelain are the most expensive, but best looking type of veneers. They are custom made to fit the size and shade of your natural teeth and are bonded to your teeth, which means no extra drilling or shaping is needed. Porcelain veneers typically cost $1,200 – $2,000 per tooth.
Composite veneers (sometimes considered laminate veneers) are more typically used to address minor chips in teeth or gaps between teeth. The composite material is less expensive than porcelain, but not quite as durable. As a result, composite veneers are also cheaper, ranging from $500 – 800 per tooth.
The main drawbacks of veneers is that they don’t change colour once applied (which means they don’t stain) and are more prone to chipping and cracking than dental crowns. However, they remain popular because they are very much tailored to your natural teeth and can last for over 10 years, if properly cared for. Once they’ve been applied, they also don’t require any special maintenance.
2. Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are advised when your teeth are more damaged as it not only improves their appearance but also improves their strength and lifespan. Similar to veneers, crowns are custom made to fit your tooth, but involve removing more of your original tooth. This is because their purpose is to cover damaged or chipped teeth and provide additional protection.
Crowns generally last between 5-15 years and cost between $1,100 – $2,000. They require more dental visits than veneers and generally are not recommended if you’re only looking to improve the appearance of your teeth.
3. Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is significantly cheaper than crowns and veneers, costing between $300 to $600 per tooth. As part of this procedure, a dentist applies a tooth-coloured composite resin directly to your tooth, to repair damage. This procedure is recommended if you have small gaps between your teeth or you want to repair a cracked tooth.
The procedure can be done in a single dentist session, making it a relatively cheap and quick fix. However there are two main drawbacks:
- The resin isn’t as strong as those in veneers, meaning chipping and breaking is more common.
- Bonded teeth are not stain resistant.
Bonded teeth can last for 3 to 10 years, with the lifespan very much up to your hygiene and care standards.
4. Teeth Whitening
Professional whitening involves soaking your teeth in a bleach solution. This can be done either by a dentist or yourself, through a take home “tray”.
A dentist performed treatment usually involves a light or laser to activate the bleach, resulting in more effective results. These usually cost around $800. In contrast, the “tray” option only costs $350 to $500. This involves a kit customised to your needs by your dentist and is self applied. The kit contains a lower percentage of chemicals and results will take longer to become apparent.
Of course, there are a range of over-the-counter whitening products available ranging from $5 to $60, however their efficacy can vary significantly.
5. Professional Clean
The old “scale and clean”. Turns out there is a good reason why dentists advise we visit twice a year to get our teeth professionally cleaned!
Regular brushing and flossing only goes so far. A dentist is able to remove hardened plaque and tartar, as well as bacteria that is living in your gum line. Apart from improving the overall health of your teeth, it helps maintain their colour and appearance.
While this option won’t dramatically change your teeth appearance, it will certainly prevent greater issues occurring down the line. Costing around $200 a visit, it’s not a large price to pay to maintain the long term health of your teeth and gums.
We’re lucky that modern dental procedures have evolved to give us a range of options to improve our smile. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your dentist as to which procedure is best for you. Worried about cost? Our payment plans make it easier to afford such treatments – find out if you’re eligible today.
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