Reward Your Smile
With the holiday season upon us, we want to share ideas on how you can improve your smile. In this article, we will highlight some great ways you can boost your oral health. From large investments in cosmetic dentistry to small stocking stuffers, this is your go-to gift guide for anyone wanting to improve or brighten their teeth!
Anything that improves the appearance of the smile falls under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry. If you have been mulling over some of these cosmetic treatments for a while, now may finally be the time to invest in yourself.
The holidays are a wonderful time to reward your smile because the end of the year is approaching. If you have a health savings account or flexible spending option, these benefits can often be used on cosmetic dentistry services. Many times, these benefits do not accumulate, but actually expire at the end of a calendar year. Either you use them, or you lose them.
Here are some cosmetic treatments you may be able to benefit from:
For a complete smile makeover, you may be considering porcelain veneers. A “veneer” simply means a covering or layer. In dentistry, your dentist uses porcelain veneers to cover over your natural teeth and change the appearance. Veneers can change the size, shape, and color of your teeth. They can even give the appearance of minor orthodontic corrections (making mildly crowded or gapped teeth appear straight).
Porcelain veneers do require some preparation and two separate dental visits, so you may want to plan ahead.
When it comes to a quick, conservative way to improve your smile, professional teeth whitening is the way to go. Your dentist has multiple options to help you achieve the bright white smile you want. From in-office whitening, which provides results in about an hour, to a take-home option; there is a wide range of possibilities.
The gold standard of brightening your teeth is using professional strength gel in a custom-made carrier tray. The fit of the tray is important to ensure the most effective and efficient use of the gel. With different concentrations of gel available, your dentist can customize your whitening experience to account for issues like sensitive teeth or existing dental work.
Many dental offices are happy to provide gift certificates for teeth whitening treatments, so you can even gift a friend with whitening from your favorite dentist!
Have you always dreamed of having straight teeth? Maybe you weren’t able to undergo orthodontic treatment as a child. Maybe you did, but your teeth have relapsed to the point that they no longer look as straight as they once did. Invisalign is a great way to improve your smile!
With Invisalign, your dentist uses clear aligners that gently reposition the teeth into a straighter configuration. Because the aligners are clear and custom fit your teeth, you can get the treatment of traditional braces with the modern benefit of being nearly invisible.
Invisalign aligners are also removable, so you do not need to worry about the appearance of your teeth in photos. Simply take them out for parties, photo sessions, or other special holiday events.
Retainers are a wonderful investment in maintaining a beautiful smile. They protect your teeth against orthodontic relapse, and can be used as whitening trays. If you have worn retainers for more than a couple of years, you know that a new retainer is indeed a treat!
For a more practical investment, consider a nightguard to protect your smile and prevent wear and tear of heavy clenching and/or grinding while you sleep. If you clench or grind your teeth, the damage will leave visible evidence inside the mouth that your dentist can identify. This subconscious habit, which you cannot control, can lead to shortened, flattened, or chipped teeth. By wearing a nightguard, you can prevent that damage from occurring and limit the erosion from worsening. A nightguard can also relieve some symptoms of TMJ disorder, like headaches, facial pain, ringing in the ears, and jaw joint pain.
Wondering if your favorite holiday beverages are tarnishing your smile? Check out our Infographic to learn the worst drinks for your teeth and our dentist-approved tips to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
Worthwhile Tools for Better Hygiene
When it comes to available dental care products, the options are virtually endless. You may have noticed that your local pharmacy or grocery store carries more brands of toothpaste and mouthwash than it did ten years ago. Add to that the number of brands and products available for online purchase, we know how overwhelming it can be to know what’s best. This is good for consumers! It means that there are more great products you can use to maintain great oral health.
One important step in selecting the right oral care product for yourself or a loved one is to search the packaging for the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. This seal accompanies every product that the American Dental Association has tested for safety and approved for use. Here are some great ideas for ways to treat yourself in oral care products.
Electric toothbrushes are a wonderful investment in a healthy mouth. They remove plaque more effectively than manual toothbrushes, and they polish away surface stains. This leaves you with teeth that are both cleaner and brighter. Some gold standard brands are Phillips Sonicare and Oral B. Many other brands on the market make affordable electric toothbrush alternatives, like Burst, and Fairywill.
A water flosser helps you pick up the slack if you are not a consistent flosser. This tool removes dental plaque through a powerful pressurized water spray that you aim between the teeth. Waterpik is the name brand people most often associate with water flossers, but many brands have now developed their own versions of water flossers in competition.
These are wonderful tools to help you maintain great oral health.
Many people forget to clean their tongue. It can be a source of plaque, bacteria and bad breath. Brushing the tongue with just your toothbrush is fine, but requires a gentle technique. Be cautious to stay away from products described as a “tongue scraper,” as they can be too aggressive. We don’t want you to scrape off delicate tongue cells!
BreathRx makes a wonderful, gentle tongue cleaner that is flexible and rubbery. It will remove dental plaque without abrasively irritating your tongue.
A Complete Line of Oral Care Products
Some people can benefit from a particular line of oral care products. This is often the case for those who suffer from conditions like dry mouth or are at high risk for cavities.
For dry mouth, we love Biotene products, including the dry mouth gel and spray.
Patients who suffer from a high cavity risk should investigate the CariFree and Boka lines of cavity-fighting products. By using the provided toothpaste, mouthwash, and associated products, you can effectively fight an oral health problem.
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products
Professional teeth whitening is a treat, and is truly the most effective way to whiten teeth, however, you can still achieve a brighter smile by using over-the-counter products. Make sure to select a product approved by the ADA, and look for a peroxide as the active ingredient. To be effective, the method of application must involve some way of keeping the active ingredient in contact with your teeth for a minimum of thirty minutes.
We love Sheer White or Crest White Strips for OTC teeth whitening. The strips stay in place on the teeth for the requisite period of time, and they contain effective whitening ingredients. Remember to follow the instructions to get the maximum benefits.
Great Stocking Stuffers for Loved Ones
Still looking for some fun and simple stocking stuffers? These ideas are easy to find in your local store, will promote good oral health, and will surely delight your recipients!
While most dentists prefer the use of traditional floss for effective plaque removal, we cannot deny the convenience of dental floss on a stick. These small flossers are great to have in your purse, car, or desk drawer at the office. Flossers have even been adapted for kids, as brands like DenTek now have fun designs, colors, and flavors. For those in traditional braces, Platypus flossers are a game-changer!
People often forget that oral cancer can occur on the lips from sun exposure. For this reason, we should all wear chapstick with sun protection. Grab some fun scents from your favorite brand, and check to make sure the SPF is 15 or higher. Everyone loves a new tube of chapstick!
Chewing gum after meals doesn’t just help fight onion breath. It actually helps you fight cavities if the gum is sugar-free! Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the flow of saliva and has a cleansing, strengthening effect on the teeth. Grab some fun flavors of Ice Cubes gum, which contains two grams of xylitol, an important ingredient that kills cavity-causing bacteria, per piece.
Reward Your Smile: Your Next Steps
We hope this guide gave you some new ideas on how to help others and improve your smile. If you are still unsure where to begin, ask our dental team for a recommendation today!