Cosmetic dentistry is sometimes referred to as a purely appearance-based specialty of dentistry, without any real connection to health. However, as more and more research points to the strong link between the health of our mouths and the health of our bodies, more and more “cosmetic” procedures are proving to provide a big benefit to our overall physical health and well-being. Here are a few examples of cosmetic procedures that are actually pretty good for you.
In order to quickly and effectively cover decay spots, hide severely discolored teeth, or even out an irregular bite pattern, patients may elect to have porcelain veneers installed. These are custom-shaped, thin porcelain shells that are installed directly over the front part of a crown, offering a brand new facade and an immediately improved look. The health benefit? When porcelain veneers are used to cover decay spots, they effectively seal up the affected areas, preventing further damage.
Modern reconstructive cosmetic dental surgery usually begins with the placement of dental implants. These are small posts, made of titanium alloys, which are inserted into the jawbone to act as surrogate roots for replacement teeth. Implants can help patients who are missing one tooth, several teeth, or all their teeth have a beautiful, brilliant smile again. The health benefits? The new dentures are permanent dentures (implants can boast a 98% success rate), so digestion is improved, gums are better protected, and the patient’s diet is completely free of restrictions, unlike with traditional dentures.
Chemical whitening involves the application of a peroxide-based solution to the enamel in order to oxidize stains and discoloration away. While whitening is perhaps the most “cosmetic” of the cosmetic procedures, with arguably the fewest direct health benefits, the psychological, emotional, social, and even financial benefits are not to be ignored. A whiter smile can make a person more confident, more friendly, and yes, even more hirableto the world, especially in professions with a lot of camera time and media exposure. Better success, quite simply, leads to better health across the board.
The simple truth is, the healthier our teeth, the healthier and happier we are, whether it’s a direct physical benefit or a less-measurable but no-less-important boost in our self-esteem. Keep them looking great, and you’ll keep yourself feeling great for years and years to come.