American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

A dazzling smile ups the odds of success

Nearly all — 99.7 percent —  Americans believe that a smile is an important social asset, according to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The same survey reports that 74 percent of adults believe that an unattractive smile with discolored or broken teeth can hurt a person’s chances for career success. Improve the look of your pearly whites with one of these treatment options.

When the AACD asked adults what they would like to improve about their smile, the most common response was “whiter and brighter teeth.” Dr. Hugh Flax, DDS, president of the AACD says “whitening your teeth is one of the safest and most conservative methods for enhancing a smile.” Consulting with a dentist is advisable since some people may be sensitive to the solutions used for whitening. “In-office techniques can be faster if you have time restrictions,” says Flax.

When teeth are misshapen or chipped, veneers are often used to create perfectly shaped teeth. “Improving the shape, color, and position of the front teeth is the most common request by our patients,” says  Dr. John F. Weston, AACD Accredited Fellow dentist. “Bonding porcelain to enamel or ‘porcelain veneering’ is a popular technique involving having a lab ceramist fabricate thin porcelain shells to exact specifications. The veneers are then bonded to the individual teeth creating a new smile for the patient.”

Many people are not aware that prosthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the restoration and replacement of missing teeth with procedures including implants. Dr. Susan E. Brackett, a prosthodontist and a spokeswoman for the American College of Prothodontists, says that implants are the “most preferred way to replace a missing tooth because there is no impact to the other teeth.” Missing teeth are addressed by placing an implant fixture into the bone and then attaching an implant supported crown on the fixture.

One in five patients seeing the orthodontist these days are adults according to Dr. Lee W. Graber, DDS, MS, MS, PhD, president of the American Association of Orthodontics. “Healthy teeth can be moved at any age,” he explains. Straightening teeth not only improves appearance but it can also help with dental health since irregular teeth are more prone to disease.” New technologies have provided braces that are smaller, more comfortable, nearly invisible and faster acting than treatments used in the past. “Adults wearing braces are not viewed negatively,” says Graber. “Wearing braces is seen as a positive step to self-improvement.”