There Are Several Dental Conditions that Can Affect Your Smile
There is no debating that with the creation of social media, we are all obsessed with photos. Everywhere you go – a restaurant, a sports event, or a family gathering – people have their phones out and are taking selfies of themselves. I remember when our kids were younger they would complain any time we wanted to take a picture at a special event. Now they beg us to take dozens of photos. Every life event, no matter how big or small, has become a photo op!
One concern that I hear from patients almost on a daily basis is “I don’t like the way my smile looks in photos.” There are a lot of different issues that can affect the way your smile looks not only in photos, but every time you smile. The color, shape, size, and arrangement of our teeth all affect the way others see our smile. If you find that you never show your teeth when you smile, you are probably not happy with the way your teeth look. Fortunately, we have solutions to correct all these issues, and restore your smile to a beautiful one that you can’t stop showing to everyone you meet. Let’s look at some of these issues affecting your smile in photos:
When looking at photos of yourself, one of the most obvious things you notice is that your teeth are not as white and bright as they used to be when you were younger. Teeth become yellow, darker, or stained over time as we age. Enamel has tiny pores in it, so liquids and foods that can stain, like coffee, tea, wine, and even berries, enter into these pores causing the tooth to darken and stain. Cigarette, cigar, and vape smoking all result in nicotine and tar seeping into theses enamel pores causing teeth to turn yellow or even yellow-brown. Finally a loss or thinning of enamel from teeth grinding or chemical erosion from acidic foods and drinks, results in more of the second layer of the tooth to show through. This deeper layer is yellow and makes the teeth look darker and yellow as the enamel continues to get thinner.
The Solution: either make the teeth whiter by teeth whitening or by covering the teeth with bonding, veneers, or crowns. Teeth whitening is completed by placing a whitening gel on the teeth which is absorbed into the pores and breaks down these stains. There are different options for placing the gel on the teeth. Pre-fabricated, over the counter, one-size-fits-all trays like Crest white strips are inexpensive, quick and convenient. Custom-made trays, made from impressions of your teeth, place the gel very precisely on your teeth and work better than prefabricated trays if your teeth are not perfectly straight. Finally, in-office whitening can only be completed in a dental office and uses a very strong gel to whiten the teeth very quickly in about an hour.
Chipped and Broken Teeth
The edges of the front teeth can thin, chip, and get worn down over time. Teeth grinding, minor accidents like biting down on a fork or biting into something hard in food, or significant trauma like a major fall, car accident, or getting hit by something in the face all can affect the edges of the teeth so they are not all even. A chipped or worn smile makes you look older in photos.
The Solution: chipped and uneven edges in the teeth can be restored by simple smoothing, or by placing bonding, veneers, or crowns onto the teeth. Bonding is composite resin filling material that is “bonded” onto the front of the tooth. Bonding can be quickly placed on the teeth in one appointment and is relatively inexpensive. Porcelain veneers are a smooth cover, about the thickness of a contact lens, designed to be your desired color, size, and shape and are chemically bonded onto the teeth to create a beautiful and natural looking smile. Porcelain crowns can be placed over the teeth when cracks, large fillings, or larger cavities are present in the teeth.
Crooked and Crowded Teeth
Teeth rarely develop and erupt in the mouth into the perfect place and position. Teeth also can shift over time and get more crowded especially the lower front teeth. Teeth can be crowded and pushed back compared to the rest of the teeth. When you take a photo, the flash will create a shadow in this area. The shadow makes it look like you are missing a tooth, when in reality the tooth is there it is just pushed back behind the adjacent teeth.
The Solution: Invisalign® or braces can help to reposition the teeth so that they are all in a smooth, straight curve. In severe crowding case, a tooth may be removed first, because there just isn’t enough room in your mouth for all the teeth. Invisalign® uses a series of clear, invisible retainers that gradually move the teeth to a straight smooth arch form. Braces use brackets and wires to move the move the teeth into a straight, smooth curve.
Gaps and Spaces in Between Teeth
Just like crooked and crowded teeth, gaps can be in between the teeth because of how the teeth develop and erupt into position in the mouth. The most common and obvious space is in between the upper front two teeth. Depending on the size of the space, this can even make it look like teeth are missing in photos.
The Solution: The teeth can be moved by Invisalign® or braces to close the spaces and create a beautiful, youthful smile. The teeth can also be covered with bonding, veneers, or crowns to make the teeth larger in size and close the gaps.
This goes without speaking, but missing teeth can obviously have a negative impact on your smile in photos. Missing teeth, especially those that are visible, can lower one’s self esteem making one feel unlovable, unconfident, timid, and awkward. Smiling under these circumstances usually means keeping your lips pursed together so that none of the teeth are ever visible.
The Solution: Missing teeth can be replaced by implants, bridges, and partials. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. In certain cases, Invisalign® or braces can be used to close small spaces caused by missing teeth.
We are Here to Help
As you can see there are lots of circumstances that can affect the way you feel about your smile, and fortunately there are lots of options to correct these conditions. Some of these options address only one issue, while other options address multiple issues. At Yost Dental Group, we have an in depth conversation with you to find out exactly what your concerns are. We will then develop a custom treatment plan personalized for you that will resolve your issues and give you a smile that will look great in all your photos. Our office would be happy to answer any questions you might have or to help you start the process of giving you a beautiful smile for all your Facebook and Instagram photos. For more information, click the link to learn more about cosmetic dentistry.