I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
If you are considering cosmetic dentistry, which includes veneers and/or teeth whitening, you may be surprised to learn that a consultation with your dentist is required. Some dentists even require that you watch a short educational video regarding these procedures. If you are chomping at the bit to have cosmetic dentistry performed, you still have to go through a consultation and/or short informational session. Here is why.
Your Dentist Knows If Your Teeth Can Handle It
Your dentist wants to see the health condition of your teeth and their current state. Teeth whitening can be done on all kinds of teeth with varying dental conditions, but your dentist would prefer that your teeth be reasonably healthy. He or she may be more comfortable with teeth whitening on teeth that can handle the slight bit of erosion that occurs during the whitening process, as opposed to whitening teeth that are in much poorer condition and may not be able to tolerate the whitening agents.
As for veneers, you have to have enough enamel for the veneers to hold onto. The veneers are bonded to the fronts of your teeth, and if your teeth are broken or damaged, it is not a good idea to place veneers on these teeth. They could rapidly decay and decline, causing the dentist to have to remove those expensive veneers. If you have some badly damaged teeth, your dentist may suggest crowning or capping them instead, and then applying veneers to the rest.
Making Sure You Are a Good Candidate
Other dental and oral problems tend to prevent you from having cosmetic dentistry procedures done. At your consultation, your dentist examines your dental records to see if you have any oral abnormalities, genetic issues, and/or medical health issues that would make whitening or veneers impossible. Decalcification of bone in your jaws and teeth, for example, means that teeth whitening would be a bad idea. Certain medications for anxiety, depression, or autoimmune disorders also make cosmetic dentistry an impossibility for patients. If your dentist rules out every condition, illness, and issue that would otherwise block you from your cosmetic procedure, then you are cleared to have it done.
Making Sure You Understand the Risks and the Maintenance Required
Too often, patients think that teeth whitening replaces good oral hygiene or that after they get veneers, they do not have to brush anymore. A pre-procedure consultation educates patients on what it takes to keep their fresh new smiles looking their best. If you still want your procedure after your consultation, you understand the risks and maintenance required, and your dentist says you would be a good candidate for it, you can proceed.