Think of cosmetic dentistry and what often comes to mind is a dazzling fresh smile accompanied by a complementary jolt of confidence. While a rejuvenated grin certainly provides all of that, its benefits also reach far beyond improved aesthetics. On top of looking better, people start feeling better when providers address some of the dental issues that make them frown. There are numerous physical and dental health reasons to consider cosmetic dentistry. Read on to learn how it can make you smile, inside and out.
Health and Beauty
It’s rare for Dr. Steve Gorman of The Gorman Center for Fine Dentistry in North Oaks to work with patients on purely cosmetic matters. Typically, there are underlying dental health concerns that patients want repaired. Most people who see him show wear and tear on their teeth—whether it’s from grinding or a misaligned bite—or their gums need some TLC.
“Usually there is something else going on that contributes to why the person doesn’t like the way their teeth look,” Gorman notes. “Their motivation might be cosmetic, but to solve the problem there are functional and health issues to address.”
No matter the concern, the focus is always on restoring their mouths to good health paired with a bright smile. “In contemporary dentistry, most of the procedures we do for rehabilitation should be considered cosmetic, using the materials and techniques that are available today,” Gorman says. “Dentistry has so much to offer now to rehabilitate smiles, restore function, and create a beautiful smile.”
“[Rejuvenation dentistry] has been a wonderful addition to our practice because of how much more comfortable people feel and how happy they are with their smiles.”
—Dr. Mike Gallagher, Gallagher Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
Some people don’t like to smile because their teeth are crowded together, causing some to stick out. Such crowding also causes oral health issues. When teeth are bunched up, it’s difficult to effectively brush and floss, a challenge that often leads to gum disease and cavities.
Dr. John Cretzmeyer of Dentistry for the Entire Family in Fridley likes to call his solution “instant orthodontics.” For people who don’t want braces, Cretzmeyer first removes the lateral teeth. Then he creates a winning smile with bridges that connect one eyetooth, a replacement tooth, and the front tooth on each side.
“Patients get the best aesthetics and functional results and improve their overall bone support,” he notes.
Dr. Renee Camara, a periodontist at Wayzata Periodontics and Implants, helps patients who don’t like their too-gummy smiles. While they see her for aesthetic reasons, she also works to improve their oral health.
People whose gums cover more tooth often have a harder time maintaining good oral hygiene. By removing some of the gum tissue with laser contouring, Camara says, it can improve oral health, too. “Patients leave the office looking a lot better and they can see the difference right away,” she says.
Camara also treats the opposing problem, when patients show too much tooth due to gum recession. In this instance, she grafts connective tissue onto the recessed areas to cover the exposed root structure. Made of dentin, these roots are more porous and susceptible to cavities. Regenerating gum tissue restores a natural barrier that wards off harmful bacteria.
Right the Bite
Having a misaligned bite can cause numerous dental problems, including jaw pain and headaches. Teeth also wear significantly faster when the bite doesn’t line up properly, and that wear becomes exponentially worse over time, explains Dr. Mike Gallagher of Gallagher Cosmetic and Family Dentistry in Eden Prairie.
To relieve pain and protect teeth from further damage, Gallagher offers jaw therapy, which entails using a splint for six to eight weeks to correct the bite. Then he restores patients’ teeth with bonding to make them look straighter.
“We call it rejuvenation dentistry,” Gallagher says. “It’s been a wonderful addition to our practice because of how much more comfortable people feel and how happy they are with their smiles.”
Diet Does It
St. Louis Park dentist Nancy Norling advises patients on the significant interplay between nutrition and oral health. People who eat too much sugar or acidic foods like diet pop, sports drinks, and citrus, as well as those who battle eating disorders, often do a number on their teeth. The oral damage they experience can include severe erosion of the tooth enamel.
After patients cut back on consuming sugary or acidic foods, or recover from an eating disorder, Norling helps protect worn and sensitive teeth from further damage with bonding. Eventually, she recommends returning teeth to their original beauty with porcelain or composite restorations like veneers.
The Complete Package
By the time people see Dr. Andrew Pearson of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Consultants in Edina, they often face multiple complex problems. Perhaps a tooth has been restored several times and just can’t take any more, or gradual gum recession and bone loss have combined to put a tooth in the danger zone.
Most dentists strive to not remove teeth unless absolutely necessary. But sometimes an implant is the most effective way to solve a dental issue and preserve bone structure while reviving a smile. “It’s the best replacement therapy,” he says, “but nothing really replaces a natural tooth.”
Often Pearson is part of a larger team that takes a comprehensive approach to providing care, solving dental and health problems while refreshing patients’ smiles. “I find that helping patients achieve a good cosmetic outcome comes from good interdisciplinary treatment,” he notes.
“I find that helping patients achieve a good cosmetic outcome comes from good interdisciplinary treatment.”
—Dr. Andrew Pearson, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Consultants
Whether you are removing broken or dead teeth and placing an implant, fixing a bite or jaw problem, or restoring unhealthy gums—these treatments all contribute to a simultaneous improvement of your smile and overall dental health.