Restore the appearance and health of your teeth.

Many cosmetic procedures have a bad reputation for being unhealthy, and this reputation often extends to the field of cosmetic dentistry. As a result, it might surprise you to learn that cosmetic dental procedures often go deeper than simply straightening your teeth or correcting the gap in your smile; most cosmetic dental procedures provide very real benefits to your oral and overall health. In fact, it can be so beneficial that there’s actually a fine line between cosmetic and restorative dentistry.

For example, although dental crowns are traditionally considered a restorative treatment, some modern dentists consider them to be a cosmetic treatment if the technology and material used to create the crown result in a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing tooth replacement, especially when the crown improves the appearance of the natural tooth. As a result, cosmetic dentistry can actively improve your oral health, even if your main goal in receiving treatment is to improve the appearance of your smile.

Here are a few ways cosmetic dentistry can improve your oral health.

Cosmetic dentistry improves the function of your teeth.

While cosmetic dentistry aims to create a more aesthetically pleasing smile, it also shares the goals of restorative dentistry. It doesn’t sacrifice the functionality of your teeth for a beautiful smile; instead, cosmetic dentistry restores or improves your smile in a way that also improves the function of your teeth. When your teeth aren’t functioning properly, it can be hard to eat certain foods, especially chewy meat or crunchy fruits and vegetables. Sticking to a diet of softer foods can take a toll on your overall health, so ensuring your teeth feel and function as natural as they look can make a big difference in your everyday life by helping you eat a healthier diet.

It uses orthodontics to save your teeth from wear and tear.

Misaligned bites can cause you to put more pressure on some of your teeth than others, often without even realizing you’re doing it. Although this sounds relatively minor, it can wear your teeth down unevenly over time, which often results in tooth sensitivity and can even impact the appearance of your teeth as well. Eventually, these teeth may need to be capped with a crown to reduce tooth sensitivity, restore their function, and protect them from decay or further wear. Receiving orthodontic treatment straightens your smile and improves its appearance, but it also protects your teeth from wearing unevenly over time.

It lessens your chances of suffering a dental injury.

Uneven teeth, where some teeth are tilted slightly outward or stick out because they’re a little crooked, are more likely to be injured than they would be if they were even. This is because when you take a blow to the face, uneven teeth — even if they’re only sticking out a little — tend to take a greater portion of the force. As a result, they’re more likely to chip, crack, or break under the force of the blow. Straightening your teeth with a treatment like Invisalign evens them out into a solid wall that distributes the force of blows to your face evenly and makes it less likely for one of your teeth to be injured.

Cosmetic dentistry solves or prevents TMJ problems.

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short, is a very complex joint that allows you to eat, speak, smile, and even swallow. When there’s something wrong with the TMJ, it can cause a wide range of symptoms throughout your body, from debilitating jaw pain to pain in your neck and back or even dizziness. One of the main causes of TMJ pain is a misaligned bite, so correcting your bite and straightening your teeth at the hands of an orthodontic expert can prevent or alleviate these symptoms. If your aim is to resolve or prevent TMJ symptoms, you’ll want to make sure you search for a dentist who has experience working with orthodontics and the TMJ.

It prevents periodontitis and bone loss by making teeth easier to clean.

Practicing a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash regularly is the best way to prevent cavities and gum disease like periodontitis. Unfortunately, uneven, crooked, or misshapen teeth are simply harder to clean because they create more nooks and crannies than straight, evenly spaced, or regularly shaped teeth. If you can’t clean parts of your teeth properly, it’s easy to get a cavity or even periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss or bone loss in your jaw without treatment. Straightening your teeth, getting veneers, or resolving a crooked tooth with a dental crown can all resolve these issues by eliminating those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, making it easier for you to brush and floss your teeth effectively.

It resolves tooth sensitivity.

The enamel on your teeth is incredibly strong, but it can wear away over time due to age, gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, and the foods and drinks you consume. As it wears thin, your teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, as well as sweet foods, all of which can send a sharp pain through your tooth. Enamel erosion also makes your teeth appear discolored because more of the yellow dentin underneath begins to show through, and the teeth themselves become more vulnerable to cavities and injuries, like chipping and cracking. Indents may even appear on the surface of your teeth as enamel erodes unevenly. Placing veneers or crowns on teeth that are suffering from enamel erosion restores their appearance, but it also protects them from decay or damage and eliminates tooth sensitivity.

Cosmetic dentistry helps reduce overall risks to your health.

Any form of dentistry that helps you keep your mouth healthy, whether it’s general or cosmetic dentistry, helps keep your entire body healthier by reducing your likelihood of suffering from a wide range of future illnesses. This may sound far-fetched, but there’s plenty of evidence to show there’s a link between your oral and overall health — we even know why. When you have periodontitis, bacteria make their way underneath your gumline and into your bloodstream, where they travel throughout the body and wreak havoc.

The constant, low-level inflammation that results throughout your body increases your chances of suffering from a stroke or heart attack, and the bacteria themselves can cause infections in other parts of your body. Periodontitis also makes it harder to control diabetic symptoms, makes you vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, and increases the likelihood that pregnant women will give birth to preterm or low-birthweight babies.

Cosmetic dentistry’s main goal is often to improve the appearance of your smile, but it also has a long history of improving patients’ oral and overall health. As a result, you can rest assured your treatment will grant you a smile you can be truly confident in, knowing it is as beautiful and as healthy as possible.