You may go to the answers below and find links to other Chapters.
Also, you may explore the website for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry: aacd.com. Since Cosmetic Dentistry is not a recognized specialty, this organization provides accreditation for those dentists that seek to build their expertise in this area in a responsible way.
Questions about Cosmetic Dentistry
- How much does cosmetic dentistry cost?
- What is involved in cosmetic dentistry?
- I have some crooked teeth in the front of my mouth – can a cosmetic dentist take care of that?
- What can be done about my “buck teeth”?
- Some movie actors and actresses have crooked teeth – and it seems to suit them somehow – how could this be?
- When I get cosmetic dentistry done – how white should I have the teeth made?
- I’m wondering if I should have my new teeth in the front made a lot different from the old ones, will that look bad?
- What if I have just the top teeth done and not the bottom, will that look bad?
- Is it possible that if I get a bunch of crowns on the upper teeth that they could wear out the bottom teeth – a friend had this happen?
- Is it possible to avoid the situation where the upper crowns wear out the bottom teeth?
- I have a “gummy smile” – what can be done about that cosmetically by the dentist?
- Will it be easier to get a date if my teeth are whiter?
- Should I get my teeth bleached?
Answers about Cosmetic Dentistry:
- How much does cosmetic dentistry cost? If your teeth do NOT need crowns or veneers, the cost can be considerably less – simple cosmetic bonding with composite resin materials may solve your problems. Still, if 12 teeth are done at the cost of $700 per tooth, that can add up. Also, there may be a charge for creating a model of what your teeth will look like after the work is done. This model is made by the lab, using white wax to create the new shapes and forms, and this can pretty accurately show you what the final results will be, provided the dentist is as good as creating these shapes in the mouth as the lab technician was. If you need crowns, the cost goes way up. Maybe you want all of your teeth to look “young” again – then you will need crowns on every tooth in the mouth. This is full-mouth reconstruction, and I would recommend that if you want this, you have it done by a prosthodontist who specializes in restoring the full mouth in harmony with your joints – they can make beautiful crowns too, but you can generally trust that the functional pattern of your mouth will be improved or at least not disturbed. For full-mouth reconstruction we’re looking at $50,000 or more…………. BACK to Questions
- What is involved in cosmetic dentistry? As indicated in the answer above, it could be crowns or simple cosmetic bonding with composite resin. It could be a simple one-appointment procedure, maybe taking a few hours, or it could involve many appointments and considerably more trauma and cost……………. BACK to Questions
- I have some crooked teeth in the front of my mouth – can a cosmetic dentist take care of that? Often they can. If one of the teeth is sticking forward compared to the neighbor, or one tooth is tipped inward compared to the neighbor, often composite resin can be added to the one in the more inward position, building it to have a more natural relationship with the one more forward. It may take just a half hour to do this at reasonable cost, and change your appearance considerably. Of course, sometimes the solution is not this simple and requires more aggressive approaches……………. BACK to Questions
- What can be done about my “buck teeth”? This condition suggests that the two upper central incisors are very pronounced compared to the other teeth in the arch. It could be because they are wider than seems to be congruent with the other teeth, or because the central incisors are pushed outward toward the lip more than the other teeth. The first problem could be solved by crowning all four of the incisors, making them more compatible esthetically. The second problem would require orthodontia – for the arch will have to opened up to allow the teeth to be moved back into alignment with the other teeth…………… BACK to Questions
- Some movie actors and actresses have crooked teeth – and it seems to suit them somehow – how could this be? Sometimes a person’s personality, real or acted out, can seem consistent and natural in comparison to the regularity of the person’s teeth. I know this is a strange concept. But a delicate person should have a delicate-appearing set of teeth. A tough guy should have big, strong teeth with a more square arch form that befits his personality. A person who is funny, may well have teeth that are somewhat humorous. Pay attention to the teeth of famous people, especially actors, and you may find that the teeth are somehow consistent with their roles in life……………. BACK to Questions
- When I get cosmetic dentistry done – how white should I have the teeth made? I’ve always followed the guideline that the whiteness of the teeth should be no whiter than the sclera of the eyeballs. This will be a more natural look. Many patients want really white teeth, feeling that the whiter they are the younger they look. Well – that is true, the whiter the TEETH are, the whiter the TEETH look – but YOU don’t necessarily look younger – just desperate to look younger!…………… BACK to Questions
- I’m wondering if I should have my new teeth in the front made a lot different from the old ones. Will that look bad? That is something that you need to decide with the help of your dentist. He can make models from the teeth you have and show you how they can be shaped differently. You can take the altered model home and show it to friends to get their input. Whatever you decide to do is expensive and the choices need to be made carefully……………. BACK to Questions
- What if I have just the top teeth done and not the bottom, will that look bad? That totally depends on where your lower lip goes when you smile. For some people the lower teeth cannot be seen at all when they smile. For some the upper cannot be seen much at all, and the lower teeth are the dominant feature. No one solution will work for everyone, as usual – but the dentist should be counseling you wisely on this question……………. BACK to Questions
- Is it possible that if I get a bunch of crowns on the upper teeth that they could wear out the bottom teeth – a friend had this happen? Then you know it IS possible. I’ve seen the lower teeth ground in HALF, or more, because of placement of opposing porcelain. This can have huge cosmetic consequences, apart from how good the upper teeth look……………. BACK to Questions
- Is it possible to avoid the situation where the upper crowns wear out the bottom teeth? Often it is. It is when the lower jaw is shifted forward, so the upper and lower teeth come together edge-to-edge that the wear is likely to happen. IF it can be arranged so the teeth don’t touch when the jaw slides forward, then the wear can be prevented. The DESIGN of the natural teeth is such that this edge-to-edge wear does not happen, but the way the teeth erupt can eliminate this protection. The CANINES are designed to make the jaws separate when there are shifts to the left or right or forward. If the canines are in the correct position to be built up to provide this protection, then upper crowns can often be done with relative safety……………. BACK to Questions
- I have a “gummy smile” – what an be done about that cosmetically by the dentist? NOTHING can be done by the dentist. Your upper lip is pulled up too far when you smile, and your jaws are shifted too far downward compared to your lips. If you really wanted to do something, it would require a plastic surgeon to move the entire bony structure of your face – not a small undertaking. Best to be happy with what you have!…………… BACK to Questions
- Will it be easier to get a date if my teeth are whiter? Perhaps. But, if they are TOO white, then it looks like you are just spending a lot of money to get a date. If the teeth are a natural white for your age, and enough teeth have been done so there is little contrast noticed between teeth that are restored and untouched others, then you either look like a healthy, natural person, or if it is apparent that you have had cosmetic work done, you look like a person that makes good decisions about it, and can afford to hire a dentist who understands the subtleties of appearance……………. BACK to Questions
- Should I get my teeth bleached? Maybe if you are on the younger side. It can be an important cosmetic aid to people in their 30s and 40s, however, as you age and your teeth get more yellow because the enamel becomes more transparent, you can bleach the yellow color (of the dentin) away, but it becomes GRAY. People in their 60s that have their teeth bleached end up with gray teeth – not a good look! And, of course, there is the problem that if you have crowns and you get your teeth bleached, the crowns won’t change, so the match between the crowns and the natural teeth will be worse!……………BACK to Questions