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Dental Issues Author: Jack Thomas D.D.S., P.C. - Practice Director of General Dentistry Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Center for Craniofacial Disorders Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:11:01 PM

Cosmetic Dentistry Saves Smiles

By Jack Thomas D.D.S., P.C. - Practice Director of General Dentistry Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Center for Craniofacial Disorders
Nov 4, 2009 - 3:41:55 PM

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( - Teeth hold value in our society. In addition to giving us the ability to chew, they are an important accessory to our body’s makeup as they indicate characteristics such as hygiene, economic status and age.

If the teeth are discolored, missing, decayed or even chipped, the overall oral appearance can be viewed as less attractive. Oral appearance affects self-esteem as well. The Journal of Labor Economics reported that attractive people earn about 5 percent more in hourly pay than their average-looking co-workers and 14 percent more per hour of their plain-looking workers.

There are ways to enhance the oral appearance with cosmetic dentistry even in general procedures.

Dental fillings are a common procedure used to treat tooth decay. Previously, most dental fillings were composed primarily of gold, amalgam and other materials that left dark spots on the teeth.

Today, dental fillings may fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, because fillings can be made of porcelain or composite materials that closely match the color of teeth, thus maintaining the natural appearance of the teeth and smile. Many people may choose to have their older fillings replaced with newer, tooth-colored fillings to enhance their oral appearance.

Cosmetic dentistry is a common practice in dental offices and even in with over-the-counter products. Whether the procedure is complicated or simple, teeth can be restored through cosmetic dentistry. Some common procedures include teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, dental implants, dental bonding, tooth-colored fillings, dental crowns, porcelain inlays/onlays, dental bridges and alignment devices.

Cosmetic dentistry prices vary depending on the extent of work and the technologies utilized by the dentist. Prices for cosmetic dentistry vary depending on the service, area of the country and the professional rendering services. For example, expensive procedures such as porcelain veneers can range from $975 per veneer up to $2,200 per veneer, and invisible braces range from $5,000 to $7,700 for a complete case.

The majority of the procedures is not covered by insurance companies and can be costly. Most dentists offer affordable payment plans to fit the patient’s needs.

These types of payments can be spread throughout the course of a few months to several years, depending on the service. Many dentists offer cosmetic dentistry financing options from local companies.

While costly, these procedures can be considered an investment, as cosmetic dentistry might improve socio-economic conditions.

A recent study questioned 32 women and 18 men on how they felt about their appearance. All 50 participants confessed having self-esteem issues and felt uncomfortable about smiling due to their overall oral appearance.

Patients should consult with a cosmetic dentist to find out which treatment is right. Finding a qualified cosmetic dentist requires careful consideration. General dentist's recommendation is a primary consideration. If patients have been receiving regular dental hygiene checkups, the general dentist has a picture of the status and condition of a patient’s mouth.

There is no referral system in place or third party insurance administrator involvement to assist with the selection of a cosmetic dentist. With an increasing number of dentists offering cosmetic dentistry, a variety of procedures to choose from and the possible need for inter-disciplinary care before receiving cosmetic dentistry treatment, the choices can be staggering.

More general dentists are starting to incorporate cosmetic procedures into their practices. From 2005 to 2006, the average dental practice saw an increase of nearly 15 percent in revenue from cosmetic dentistry services. Those same member dentists predicted further revenue increases of 11 percent in 2007.

The field of cosmetic dentistry is exciting as it is constantly changing. There are several new procedures that can aid sleep apnea and combat the signs of aging.

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