The possibilities of improving your smile today are quite diverse and, for the most part, comfortable enough for everyone. Due to commercial advertising throughout all media, more people than ever before are interested to upgrade their appearances. What better way to start than with a brighter and younger looking smile? Asking your dentist about the diverse aesthetic possibilities is without doubt the most recommended process for obtaining the information you’ll need for an ideal decision, which will fulfill your aesthetic expectations and be customized to your budget as well. The cosmetic industry discovered quite early the immense market for smile-improving products of all kinds and presented the consumer with a broad palette of “do it yourself” or “in home” aesthetic enhancing methods. Major market chains began offering their customers “in store” teeth whitening as an instant gratification product. In principle, and at first glance, such improvements which are meant to be fast, low cost and convenient for the public, should work quite well. An additional attraction may represent the fact that a dental office visit can be avoided, postponed or eliminated completely. The old fashioned question “Who wants to go to the dentist if it doesn’t hurt?” seems to be one of the promotions for these same products. Upon a closer look however — and in order to deliver visible results – the chemical formulas, which these industries find themselves compelled to utilize, are quite potent and are formulations which will work under all circumstances and on everyone. Since such procedures are done at home, the entire responsibility is put upon the consumers themselves. No matter how advanced such “at home” treatments will ever become, the ideal approach for your dental aesthetic needs will always be the professional way. As your teeth are not replaceable and your health cannot, and should not, be entrusted to self done treatments, the dental / medical advice and observation during treatment will remain the only safe way of improving your dental aesthetic for the future as well. It is in your dentist’s professional interest and also his duty to offer you, the patient, the very best and safest procedure and present you with the newest and most advanced options available today as well as those procedures best fitting your particular medical and dental conditions. Can tooth whitening work for you? If so, to what degree? How much can your teeth be whitened? Will they change color uniformly or will some teeth become brighter than others? Is your gum condition healthy enough for such procedures? Can your teeth develop sensitivity after whitening? These are just a few questions to be answered by a dental professional after a comprehensive evaluation of your dental condition. If tooth whitening is not possible for you or not desirable, how then can your tooth color be improved? Your dental office can answer such questions in various ways. A few options to mention here would be: bondings, veneers, crowns and aesthetic fillings, among others. In-office bondings can have a similar effect on your smile as teeth whitening; the dentist applies a cosmetic acrylic covering over the visible portion of your teeth. A large variety of shades enable your dentist to dramatically brighten your smile without the need of whitening procedures. The major difference between whitening and bondings represents the additional bonus of changing the shape of the teeth as needed, which whitening cannot address of course. Are bondings a permanent change? This depends on the tooth shape prior to the procedure and the particular modifications your dentist performs. Will they discolor in time? This depends on your eating habits as they may stain a bit over time; but then teeth whitening will need to be redone periodically for the same reason. Today there are many questions confronting a patient in reaching a responsible, informed decision regarding an aesthetic and/or elective procedure. The diversity of choices will increase in the future with the constant flow of new, more advanced technologies. “Do it yourself” dental procedures can never provide answers or give you the peace of mind for a truly informed decision. Visiting your dentist and discussing your options with them will assure the results you aspire to and provide treatment safety.

© 2011 All Rights Reserved, Dr Florian Braich DDS PhD