Are you considering cosmetic dentistry, but are afraid it won’t last? Here’s the good news: cosmetic dentistry procedures have a long lifetime. At a minimum, most cosmetic restorations are expected to last 10 years or more, with many lasting 20+ years, and a few lasting a lifetime.
But if you want to get that kind of longevity out of your cosmetic dentistry, you have to know the secrets. Here’s what you need to do to get long-lasting cosmetic dentistry.
First, Find the Right Dentist
Your dentist is actually the most key piece of the puzzle if you’re looking for long-lasting cosmetic dentistry. A dentist needs to have a combination of talent, training, and experience to properly handle cosmetic dentistry procedures. Doing cosmetic dentistry right requires a good eye, great judgment, and a steady hand, and if you find a dentist with that kind of talent, it can dramatically reduce your risk of complications.
Cosmetic dentistry is also not something that’s focused on in dental school, so if you’re looking for a dentist who knows how to do it well, you need to find a dentist who has taken additional training after dental school. And while you’re at it, look for a dentist who is trained in neuromuscular dentistry, the study of how your teeth, jaws, and muscles all work together. This can help them design and place cosmetic restorations that work harmoniously in your jaw system.
Finally, there are lessons that only experience can teach, so you want to find a dentist who has learned all these before they start work on your restorations. Look for a dentist with a good amount of experience, and has good before and after images to show for it.
Pick Procedures That Are More Likely to Last
Cosmetic dentistry usually has multiple procedures that can be used to fix any complaint you may have about your smile. Usually, some of them are less expensive, and some of them are more durable (and often more attractive, too). If you want your cosmetic dentistry to last, you need to choose the procedure that’s built to last.
For example, dental bonding is a great procedure for results that last a few years, but if you want a procedure that will last a decade or more, then you should select porcelain veneers. And while a dental bridge can easily last ten years, a dental implant can easily last 20 years, and maybe even a lifetime. Talk to your dentist about the expected lifetime of your procedure before you select it.
Invest in Durable Materials
Just as it has many procedures, modern cosmetic dentistry also has many materials that can be used for its procedures. All dental ceramics are much stronger than those in use just a decade ago, and they’re all going to last a long time. They are resistant to wear, resistant to chipping, resistant to staining, and resistant to acids.
But they’re not all the same. Some ceramics are twice as strong (or more) than others, and might be expected to last that much longer. But there may also be tradeoffs in terms of their attractiveness. Ask your cosmetic dentist about the benefits and limitations of the different materials you can choose from.
Restrain Bad Habits
Although modern dental materials are very durable, they’re not invulnerable. And many of the things that can damage natural teeth are likely to damage your restorations. So if you have habits that were partly responsible for damage to your natural teeth, stop them before they damage your restorations, too.
Tobacco smoking and chewing tobacco puts your dental implants at risks the same way it may have contributed to the loss of your natural teeth. Gnawing on pens, fingernails, paperclips and other nonfood items can damage your restorations. You can also damage your restorations trying to use them to cut packages, open bottles, break ice, crack nuts, and other functions your teeth weren’t meant to perform.
Perform Proper Maintenance
You might think, I don’t need to brush my teeth now that I’ve got restorations, but that’s not true. Dental restorations need to be cared for just like your natural teeth. True, they won’t develop cavities, but the tooth underneath them still can. And gum disease can lead to the loss of teeth–and restorations. Even dental implants are vulnerable to the same gum disease that may have caused the loss of your teeth.
So make sure and brush your teeth twice a day, and floss every day. And don’t forget to make your regular dental appointments. Most likely, it’ll still be just twice a year, but it might be more often.
A Beautiful Smile for Years to Come
That’s not so hard, right? Now that you understand the five secrets to long-lasting cosmetic dentistry, you know how to get a beautiful smile that you (and everyone around you) can enjoy for years.