Tips for Getting the Best Smile
Achieving a Perfect Smile
Your smile is likely the first thing another person notices when they meet you--so you probably want it to be perfect! While any smile is beautiful as long as it signals happiness and confidence, our society places a high premium on an aesthetically pleasing smile--perfect, straight white teeth and healthy gums.
While dental hygiene is important--including brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash regularly--it can't fix a crooked or discolored smile. Due to genetics, poor tooth care, or a mixture of the two, smiles usually aren't movie-star perfect on their own. You'll need the help of a good orthodontist, a knowledgeable dentist, and possibly even an orthognathic surgeon to get the best smile possible.
The Best Smile Starts with Dental Hygiene
Healthy teeth and gums are the bedrock of a perfect smile--the importance of dental hygiene absolutely cannot be denied when you're seeking to improve the aesthetics of your smile. Here's why:
- Poor brushing and flossing habits lead to stains and, ultimately, discolored teeth.
- Poor brushing and flossing habits also lead to plaque and tartar build-up, which can result at first in red and irritated gums and then receding gums; receding gums can cause uneven teeth length and eventually tooth loss!
- Cavities can lead to unsightly caps, crowns, or root canals.
- Advanced tooth decay can lead to tooth loss and the necessity of dental implants, giving your teeth an uneven appearance.
If your teeth are already straight, you may just need a whitening treatment to improve your smile. However, a dentist can also make the length and appearance of your teeth uniform with veneers. Insurance will usually not cover whitening treatments or veneers, but many dentists offer specials for new patients.
Braces Can Contribute to the Best Smile for You
If your teeth grew in movie-star straight, congratulations! Most of us aren't so lucky, and suffer from crowding, gaps, or bite issues (overbite, underbite, or cross-bite). The only way to fix these problems is with braces (or with Invisalign, for less severe cases).
Though braces can be painful at times and are often an inconvenience (you'll think twice about biting into that hamburger or popping a chewy caramel into your mouth), within a few years of treatment you can achieve a beautiful smile.
Another reason to get braces? Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss, which means you'll have better dental hygiene and a healthier mouth overall.
In some severe cases, braces alone can't fix a bite problem or a very gummy smile (that is, being able to see a large amount of gum when you smile--think Katie Couric). Bite problems can lead to TMJ and uneven teeth wear, while excess gum when smiling is merely an aesthetic issue. However, your dentist can refer to you an orthognathic surgeon for consultation. Orthognathic surgery is major but common, and may be an option for you.
While insurance generally does not cover adult braces, it may cover orthognathic surgery if your surgeon submits the case as a medical necessity.
The Secret to Getting the Best Smile
There are two elements to a perfect smile that can't be bought--and those confidence and happiness. If your smile radiates joy, it will be beautiful whether or not your teeth are straight, and whether or not they are perfectly, gleamingly white.