99% of people believe a smile is an important social benefit.
The teeth whitening market is almost $6 billion in 2017, and is expected to reach $7.4 billion by 2024.
Are my teeth too yellow? Too crooked? Chipped? Does my breath smell bad?
So many people are self-conscious about their smile and their teeth. It doesn’t help that a person’s smile is often the first thing we notice, and that it seems like a nice smile makes a better first impression.
If you’re not eager to show off your pearly whites to everyone you meet, there are some very affordable cosmetic dentistry procedures that can make you more comfortable with your smile.
5 Most Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures for a More Confident Smile
1. Tooth Contouring & Reshaping
Fixes: chipped or misshapen teeth
Tooth contouring or reshaping is a very inexpensive, fast, and painless dental procedure that can improve how you feel about your smile. If you don’t have any major structural issues (like cavities or broken teeth) this will likely be your go-to procedure. It may even be the only one you need!
Your dentist will use a special drill or laser to smooth out ridges, chips, or reshape large sections of the tooth. This will give you a smoother, more even smile.
2. Composite Dental Bonding
Fixes: decay, bad breath, gaps, chipping, discoloration, misshapen teeth, bite alignment
Also known as composite veneers, composite dental bonding helps rebuild tooth structure, fill in gaps, and improve tooth strength. Dental bonding is especially helpful for cracked or chipped teeth, but it can improve a number of other issues as well.
Your dentist will attach a tooth-colored resin to the existing tooth, form it to the desired shape, and set it with ultraviolet light. The entire process is quick and painless.
3. Dental Crowns
Fixes: decay, bad breath, chips, cracks, bite alignment
Dental crowns require a dental mold, temporary restoration, and may require multiple dental visits over 2-3 weeks.
Similar to composite bonding, dental crowns can improve the visual quality of your teeth as well as their functional strength. The biggest difference is the application – a crown are a “cap” for the entire tooth, while composite bonding is molded to one part of the tooth.
4. Inlays & Onlays
Fixes: light decay, bad breath, light damage
Similar to bonding and crowns, inlays and onlays use tooth-colored material to repair and reinforce teeth. Like crowns, they’re custom-fit for your teeth and require a mold and multiple visits.
Inlays and onlays can be used as an affordable alternative to dental implants, bridges, and porcelain veneers.
5. Professional Teeth Whitening
Fixes: stains, discoloring
For professional whitening, you have two options: take-home trays and in-office whitening. The in-office procedure will cost slightly more. Professional teeth whitening helps remove and prevent discoloration for a longer duration than over the counter whitening kits.
Tooth color is a huge concern – there’s a reason the teeth whitening industry is worth $6 billion in 2017. However, tooth whiteness is an entirely cosmetic concern, and too much whitening can damage your enamel. So whiten in moderation!
5 Other Popular (But Slightly Less Affordable) Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Want to scope out all of your options? Here are some very popular but slightly less affordable cosmetic dentistry options:
- Porcelain veneers – fix staining, cavities, chipping, and crooked or misshapen teeth
- Clear aligners (invisible braces) – fix gaps, crooked teeth, bite alignment
- Bridgework – fills in missing teeth
- Implants – fix broken, extracted, or missing teeth
- Gum surgery – adjusts shape, height, and fit of gums
How to make cosmetic dentistry more affordable?
The real secret is don’t do it all at once. Let your wallet recover between procedures, and take good care of your teeth to prevent the need for additional costly dental work.
If you have insurance, it may cover certain cosmetic procedures, depending on reason and need. Your dentist will be happy to submit a claim for you, even if they don’t work with insurances directly.