Myth: Forget about cosmetic procedures for teeth.
Truth: Cosmetic procedures are an option and you need to know what’s out there.
I admit I’m not a fan of “extreme measures” for the sake of beauty. The whole concept just makes me nervous. I feel that everyone has their own unique beauty and they shouldn’t feel a need to change that just to conform to society’s warped standards. However, I know there are women who choose to do these things anyway and I’m not going to tell anyone else not to do them (except for certain things that I feel are too dangerous and not worth the risk). What matters most is knowing what your options are and working with professionals who will make sure you get what you need with the least risk. This applies to teeth also.
From me, you get the truth.
Your best smile always makes you look better in person and in photos. And that starts with healthy teeth. But what if your teeth are as healthy as you can get them and they still just don’t look healthy? Yes, there are options out there and you should know what they are.
If your teeth are crooked or misaligned, there are braces and other orthodontic appliances you can use to fix things. There’s also Invisalign, which is a series of clear molds that gradually shift your teeth into better positions. Many adults prefer this option because the molds are not noticeable, and they’d rather show teeth than show a mouthful of metal. However, different orthodontic things suit different tooth issues better than others, and only your dentist and orthodontist know what will work best for you. Crooked and/or misaligned teeth can affect your dental health, so if your dentist feels that you need to fix this, then it’s worth it to do so.
If your teeth are chipped or badly stained, you may consider bonding. A resin is painted onto your teeth and then shaped to match. Some chips in the teeth may be nothing more than a small thing that make your teeth appear less than perfect, but some chips are bigger and could lead to cracks in the tooth. Those bigger chips definitely need to be fixed so your teeth don’t get any further damage. If your teeth are gray instead of white, then bonding will give you a whiter smile, but that has to be maintained because the resin can get stained just like your real teeth can.
Then there are porcelain veneers. These are made using molds and are attached to your teeth to cover up the bad teeth. Veneers cover everything from jumbles to chips to gray color. They’re stain-resistant, which means that they’ll stay white for a long time. And they last for at least 10 years. Of course, with all these advantages, there’s also the downside of price. Veneers are the most expensive cosmetic procedure for teeth. And since, according to my dentist, they’re purely cosmetic and not used for dental health, they’re not usually covered by insurance.
Finally, if the only issue with your teeth is that they’re yellow and not white, there’s the option of bleaching. There’s chairside bleaching done by your dentist and there are drugstore options for at-home bleaching. If you choose chairside bleaching, it’s best to have it done by your dentist who knows your teeth and might catch something else in the process. The good news about any kind of bleaching is that it’s a lot cheaper than bonding or veneers. But it only works on teeth that are yellowed from outside stains like food. If your teeth are grayer, that means that your teeth are stained internally, usually from trauma, and if you want white teeth, you’ll have to go with bonding or veneers because bleaching won’t work.
Be aware that there is such a thing as too white. The goal in all of this is to have your teeth appear healthy. When they’re too white, they look fake and that’s not good.
The easiest (and certainly cheapest) way for women to make their teeth appear whiter is to wear the right makeup. One way is a bright lipstick. A red lipstick that contrasts with the teeth will make your teeth appear whiter. Bronzer on the face with pink or peachy-pink gloss also works because the slightly darker skin tone contrasts with the teeth. Many dark-skinned people appear to have whiter teeth, but their teeth just appear whiter in contrast with the dark skin.
The bad news about any cosmetic procedure is the cost, and it’s no different with teeth. If the procedure is needed for dental health, then most insurance plans will cover it. But if the procedure is for cosmetic purposes, then it’s likely insurance won’t cover it.
No matter what, your teeth need the basic care that I mentioned in my last column. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss once a day. Eat a healthful diet. Find a great dentist and see him/her twice a year for a cleaning and examination. Get any problems fixed while they’re still small and easy and cheaper to fix.
Don’t forget to practice in front of the mirror and find your best smile. Think of something that makes you happy and see how you look. Your best smile could be bigger or smaller and it may show teeth or not show teeth. But showing teeth should always be an option, so make sure they’re as healthy as possible.
Again, a great smile always makes you look and feel better, so go with that.
Meira E. Schneider-Atik is a wardrobe organizer, personal shopper, jewelry designer, and fashion writer/blogger and speaker. She helps women look great while saving time, effort, and money, all within tznius guidelines, and she’ll add to that with custom-designed jewelry. Read more about her ideas on her blog- www.truetzniutistruebeauty.wordpress.com. She also has a YouTube channel, “Look Your Best in Mitpachot,” where she does head-wrapping tutorials, and she is also available for private demonstrations. She can be reached at (718) 644-6135 or at MESAtik@gmail.com.