Thousands of Americans are unhappy with the look of their teeth. Yellow teeth, gaps, crooked teeth, and chipped teeth leave many patients wondering how can I fix my smile? But the cost associated with many cosmetic dentistry procedures can leave people feeling like they may never achieve a smile makeover. The good news is that (despite popular opinion) there are affordable ways to get the look you want for your smile.
Depending on whether or not your teeth have sustained any injuries, your insurance may pick up a portion (if not all) of the cost associated with your smile makeover. If you have chipped teeth, or broken teeth due to an accident or trauma to your mouth, your insurance will at least help to make your chosen cosmetic dentistry treatment less of a bank-breaker. So, you can confidently walk into the dentist office proclaiming, “Fix my smile!”
In the event that you do not have dental insurance, you are definitely not “up a creek.” Your smile makeover is still achievable. Some cosmetic procedures are less expensive than others, so we want to provide a breakdown for you.
- Teeth whitening – There are many, many reasons that our teeth become dull, stained, or yellowed, and make us say, I really wish I could fix my smile, but it’s too expensive! These reasons can include the foods we eat, our smoking habits, the types of drinks we ingest, and many other things. However, teeth whitening can be one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to achieve a smile makeover. The great news is that there is an ideal teeth whitening option that fits your budget! It can be done in our Charleston dentist office in under an hour. Teeth whitening in James Island, SC, may cost you a few hundred dollars. If that is not feasible for you, we can recommend some really great over-the-counter options that you can purchase at the drug store for a price that will fit your budget. These products can range from $20-100, and we would be happy to help point you in the right direction.
- Tooth contouring (tooth reshaping) – While you may hear more about dental veneers, tooth contouring (or tooth reshaping) may be just the ticket when you’re saying, fix my smile! This may be the perfect option for you if you have minor problems or imperfections in your teeth. With this particular smile makeover approach, small amounts of the tooth’s surface (enamel) are removed and then a composite bond is applied to the tooth to adjust it’s overall appearance. This can do many things—smooth out your tooth, make it taller, shorter, less pointy, etc. Dental contouring makes small changes that provide a big impact. Prices for tooth reshaping can vary widely—anywhere from $50-300 per tooth. If you are curious about how tooth contouring may be able to help your smile, ask us about this the next time you are in. You may not need very much treatment, and the cost may be rather minimal. This is definitely one of the more affordable cosmetic dental procedures that packs a big punch.
- Dental bonding – Made of a composite of materials, dental bonding can be used to easily cover a wide range of cosmetic issues. The bond can actually fill in gaps in your teeth, but it can also repair cracks or chips that may have resulted from injury to your teeth. Normally, dental bonding can create a smile makeover for $100-500 per tooth, depending on the extent of the work that’s needed.
- White Fillings – Tooth-colored fillings are a great way to mask your cavities, but also help disguise that you even had one. The beauty of tooth-colored fillings is that it reduces the amount of metal in your mouth, hides the fact that you had a cavity, and keeps the natural, beautiful look of your teeth. The other benefit is that white fillings are less impact to your tooth. The process used to form those old metal fillings is more traumatic for your tooth’s structure, while the newer tooth-colored versions actually work better with the existing tooth. If you, unfortunately, have to have a cavity filled, this is a wonderful option since it preserves the natural look of your tooth AND helps to heal the damage from decay. Thankfully, insurance usually helps with the bottom line for fillings, so some of your cost can be covered. White fillings usually only cost slightly more than the old amalgam fillings—perhaps only $30-40 more per tooth, depending how many fillings you need.
Keep in mind that when it comes to cosmetic problems with your teeth, the root of so many of those issues is what we allow to pass over our teeth—the foods we eat, the drinks we drink, and our habits. Maintaining the fresh, bright look of any cosmetic dental procedure is completely dependent on minimizing your teeth’s exposure to these types of hazards. Foods and drinks that easily stain teeth are fine in moderation, but after time your teeth will again be stained or discolored, and your smile makeover will not maintain its impact. So if you are adamantly thinking, Yes! I have to fix my smile!, it is important to stick to your resolve when it comes to what passes through your teeth. These simple cosmetic dental fixes can have an even greater impact when you are diligent at caring for your teeth.