Your teeth represent only a small portion of your body, but they can use up a huge portion of your budget. Regular cleaning and checkups cost around $100, which can put a hefty dent in your pocketbook. Beyond that, advanced dentistry procedures can be insanely expensive—enough to blow your budget for the year. Some procedures cost more than your monthly paycheck!
While these procedures are expensive, they are worth it for many individuals. Whitening, brightening, and prosthetic teeth give people renewed confidence and joy in their appearance. They are no longer embarrassed to smile or laugh in public. And, for some, that’s worth a million bucks!
The four cosmetic dentistry procedures described in this article are some of the most expensive treatments available. They all cost more than $600, but keep in mind, these prices will vary based on your dentist, your location, and the condition of your teeth.
Zoom! Teeth Whitening
What color are your teeth? Bright white? A little dingy? Yellow-tinged? Or something worse?
Teeth discoloration is embarrassing. It is caused by a variety of factors—mostly what we eat and drink. Things like coffee, tea, soda, and red wine can cause stains on the teeth. Using tobacco products can discolor the teeth, too. Age also plays a part in teeth yellowing.
No matter what the cause, an off-white smile makes some individuals extremely self-conscious. When looking for a solution, you can choose between at-home whitening products or professional whitening done by the dentist. There are hundreds of teeth whitening products out there, but many people choose Zoom! Whitening because they want noticeable results and they want them immediately.
This professional teeth whitening system will set you back up to $600 per treatment. This high cost is largely due to the advanced technology used in the Zoom! system. It’s so powerful that it can whiten teeth up to eight shades in just one 60-minute appointment.
It is best to start the Zoom! Whitening process by having a full teeth cleaning. After the hygienist is finished with the cleaning, the whitening procedure starts with the dentist applying a hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth. Then, you’ll sit under a special light for about 45 minutes. This light activates the gel and causes oxygen to enter your teeth. That action bleaches out the stains and removes the discoloration.
Some patients have sensitivity in their teeth after the procedure, but using an anti-sensitivity toothpaste and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help lessen that side effect. The results of Zoom! whitening will last for long time—possibly several years. Exactly how long the results last will depend on how well you take care of your teeth. After the Zoom! procedure, your dentist will provide you with a touch-up kit you can use at home to extend the whitening results. Avoiding staining agents (coffee, tea, tobacco products, etc.) and regular brushing/flossing will keep your smile bright and white. Dentists also recommend having in-office touch-up appointments once each year.
Keep in mind, individuals who are sensitive to light should not have Zoom! whitening. This includes patients undergoing PUVA therapy, photo-chemotherapy, or those with melanoma. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should delay having Zoom! whitening until they have finished lactating. For healthy individuals without these conditions, Zoom! whitening is completely safe. Your dentist will provide protection for the soft tissue in your mouth and for your eyes.
What if the appearance of your smile can’t be helped by whitening? Many individuals have stains and discoloration that is resistant to whitening procedures. Other people have ridges, chips, or some other type of damage on their teeth. To mask these problems and create a bright new smile, many people consider porcelain veneers.
In essence, this cosmetic dentistry treatment covers the tooth with a thin layer of porcelain—a material that is just as strong as normal tooth enamel. The dentist grinds approximately 1/2 to 1 millimeter of enamel off the actual tooth to create room for the veneer. Then, the veneer is bonded to the tooth with strong cement. It won’t fall off and it can withstand normal eating, brushing, and the like. Plus, veneers are stain-resistant.
Porcelain veneers can fix a wide range of dental problems. They can camouflage fractured teeth, eliminate the appearance of gaps in the teeth, and replace discolored teeth with a clean white surface. This versatility is largely due to the fact that each veneer is custom-made in a laboratory. Each patient is guaranteed to get veneers that fit their mouth exactly. When they’re placed by a trained and qualified dentist, it’s impossible to tell that veneers not real teeth.
However, all of these advantages come with a hefty price tag. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) reported that patients spend more than $370 million each year on veneers. That amounts to between $800 and $2,000 per tooth.
Patients who are considering veneers should think about the potential drawbacks, too. Since a layer of top enamel is removed, your teeth may be extremely sensitive to hot and cold temperatures for a few days after the veneers are put on. Also remember that the veneers are permanent. There is really no way to remove them or regain the enamel that is ground off the teeth for the veneers’ placement.
Most individuals with veneers report that they last between five and 10 years. After that, the veneers will need to be replaced. To extend the life of your veneers, be gentle with your teeth. Don’t grind or clench your teeth. Don’t bite your nails or chew on hard objects like ice cubes or pen caps. And, of course, continue to brush and floss twice each day.
Do you remember the excitement of losing your baby teeth? You’d wiggle and twist that tooth until you couldn’t stand the pain anymore. Maybe your brother or dad devised some wacky way to help you pull it out. Then, best of all, the tooth fairy would come!
As adults, there is no excitement when it comes to losing a tooth. There’s no giddy anticipation or fun games. And there’s definitely no tooth fairy to bring you money! In fact, losing a tooth can end up being extremely expensive.
When adult teeth fall out or are removed, there’s a lot of action going on in the mouth that you can’t see. That’s because each tooth is held in place by a bone in the jaw. When the tooth is no longer there, the body feels that there is no longer a need for the bone. The bone melts away and you’re left with a cave-like appearance in your mouth. Even more, that bone loss can affect the teeth that still remain in your mouth. Those teeth will shift and that can cause issues with your bite, jaw joints, facial muscles, and skin.
Dental implants can replace one or more teeth. In the most common implant procedure, the implant consists of a titanium rod that is inserted into the bone and an overlying crown that functions like a normal tooth. Titanium is an extremely strong material that is compatible with the body. When inserted into the jaw, it will actually fuse with your bone through a process called osseointegration.
The implantation process takes place in three steps. During the initial session, the dentist buries the rod deep into the gum line so that it attaches to the bone. The implant site will take two to six months to heal and, after that time, the rod should be properly fused to the bone. When the dentist sees that the implant is ready, he will attach a top piece to the rod (called the abutment) that will hold the prosthetic tooth. After a few weeks, the rod and abutment are fully healed and the dentist will place the crown on top.
As you can tell, getting dental implants is a long process. Not surprisingly, this is one of the most expensive dentistry procedures available. Estimates say that replacing one tooth with a dental implant can cost between $1,500 and $7,500. Having an entire mouth redone can cost upwards of $24,000 to $96,000.
Dental implants are extremely safe. They’re successful, too—only about 5 percent of implants fail. After an initial healing period of one or two weeks, the “fake” tooth on top of the dental implant will function exactly like a normal tooth. With proper oral hygiene, dental implants should last an entire lifetime. There’s no need for special treatment—just see the dentist for regular checkups and brush and floss like normal.
In addition to being used as part of a dental implant, a crown can be inserted directly onto an original tooth. A dental crown functions as a cap that covers the tooth all the way up to the gum line. It has the strength of a normal tooth and, in some cases, it retains the appearance of a normal tooth. There are many dental issues that can be corrected by a crown:
- A crown can protect a decaying or damaged tooth from further damage.
- A crown can restore function in a chipped or broken tooth.
- A crown can be an aesthetic solution for a misshapen or discolored tooth.
Dental crowns are made from a variety of different materials—porcelain, metals, resins, ceramics, and stainless steel. Porcelain crowns are the most popular choice for cosmetic dentistry purposes. The porcelain can be colored to match the rest of the teeth and other people won’t even know it’s there. However, porcelain crowns are not as strong as metal-based crowns and they may cause wear to the adjacent teeth. The porcelain can also chip and may need to be repaired. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns make a good compromise. These crowns have the strength and durability of metal, but they generally maintain the appearance and color of normal teeth.
The type of crown you choose can greatly impact the cost of this dental procedure. Metal crowns can cost between $800 and $3,500 per tooth. All-porcelain crowns regularly cost more than $3,000 per tooth. If your dentist uses on-site computerized methods to create your crown, it may cost even more.
Placing a dental crown usually happens in two steps. At the first appointment, the dentist will examine the teeth and make sure that you don’t need any other dental procedures. After numbing the treatment area, the dentist will file down the tooth in order to make room for the crown. If the tooth is cracked or otherwise compromised, the dentist may use a filling material to build up a stable base for the crown. Next, the dentist will use putty to make an impression of the treatment area. Lastly, the dentist will use a temporary adhesive to insert a removable crown. The dental impressions will be sent to a lab and the crown will be ready in approximately three weeks. (Some dentists may be able to use special computerized manufacturing to make your crown on site in less than 30 minutes.) When the crown is ready, your dentist will remove the temporary crown and use a strong cement substance to insert the permanent crown.
A porcelain dental crown will last between five and 15 years, but sometimes, the crown must be removed early. It may chip, become loose, or simply fall out. If this happens, you should visit the dentist right away to order a new crown and have a temporary crown placed over the affected tooth.
Are you ready to open your checkbook or get out your credit card? If you are considering any of these dentistry procedures, be sure to do your research first. You can search the internet to learn about all of your treatment options and find a dentist that fits your needs. You could also speak with your friends or family to get recommendations. Don’t rush into any dental procedure and be sure to ask lots of questions before paying for anything.
You should also consider recommitting yourself to preventive dental care. Dentists recommend brushing and flossing twice each day. You also need professional cleaning and dental checkups once every six months. Properly caring for your teeth and avoiding problems is the best way to keep your smile bright and healthy. And it could save you thousands of dollars! To learn more about these dental procedures, please call the offices of Dr. Dr. Jacquie Smiles at 888-787-8764 or simply fill out the contact form to receive more details.