Cosmetic dental treatments are typically done purely for aesthetic purposes, being deemed "medically unnecessary" by some insurance companies. This can cause patients to steer clear of these procedures for fear that they won't bring any real value, other than improving their looks. But some cosmetic procedures have benefits that far surpass making patients look "prettier." Here are four different cosmetic treatments, and why having them done can protect—and even improve—your health.
Making your teeth whiter does more than just improve your smile. Of course, you'll be more confident and more likely to show off those pearly whites. But imagine how you'd treat your car after a new paint job. You'd probably wash it more often, maybe keep it out of the sun when possible. You'd certainly be more conscientious about where you park, taking care not to leave it in areas where it can easily get scratched.
Well, it's the same way with your smile. You'll be more motivated to take care of your teeth once they look the way you've always wanted them to look.
You already know that certain things can stain your teeth, like wine, soda, coffee, cigarettes, and chewing tobacco. And yes, there are healthy foods that can do the same. But there are also many healthy options that can help keep your teeth naturally white, like apples, pears, and strawberries. With whiter teeth, you're hopefully less likely to indulge in unhealthy, stain-causing foods and more likely to get excited about dental cleanings, feeling a stronger desire to keep those teeth as white as you can for as long as you can.
If your teeth are crooked or over-crowded, you may want to get them straightened for more than just cosmetic reasons. Crowded teeth are harder to clean and floss. They're also much more vulnerable to impact, making them more susceptible to breaking.
When lower teeth are crooked, they tend to rub unnaturally against the upper teeth, and this causes the enamel to wear down faster. Crooked teeth also put undue stress on the surrounding gums as well as the jaw bones, and over time, this can lead to face and neck pain, as well as headaches.
Conversely, teeth that are too far apart can lead to red and irritated gums. Having a cosmetic procedure to straighten the teeth, or bring them closer together, gives the gums a chance to mold to your teeth better, ultimately giving them the best defense against bacteria.
Crooked and overly-spaced teeth can lead to decay, cavities, and even infections when not addressed quickly enough. And studies have shown that oral decay is linked to heart disease and stroke. So doing everything in your power to prevent periodontal disease, and keeping those teeth as straight as you can, will go a long way in making you look, feel, and be healthy.
Cracked Tooth Repair
Cracked teeth, even if they've suffered nothing more than hairline fractures (also known as craze lines), are particularly vulnerable to tooth decay and a host of other problems. When the enamel is compromised, bacteria can get even further into the tooth and cause a cavity or abscess. If you have a tooth that's cracked or chipped, speak with your dentist about bonding or veneers. Chipped teeth should never be left as-is just because they're considered a cosmetic issue. You can protect your health, and your smile, by addressing the problem earlier rather than later.
Replacing a missing tooth comes down to much more than improving your looks. If you've lost one or had one pulled, your ability to chew and digest food immediately diminishes. Next, the surrounding teeth begin to shift in order to fill in the gap left behind. This can lead to malocclusion and unnatural spacing between the teeth. Over time, the jaw bone that held the tooth will start to lose bone mass, shrinking until the lower part of your face begins to collapse. This can make your jaw bone more susceptible to fractures.
It's not hard to see how neglecting to replace a lost tooth can impact your overall oral and digestive health. Fortunately, there are options, like bridges and implants, and your dentist can help you decide what's best for your situation. For more information, talk to a dentist at an office such as Valley Oak Dental Group Inc.