Cosmetic dentistry provides a wide range of benefits to patients.

Although the term “cosmetic dentistry” has only been around since the 1990s, the practice has been around—in one form or another—for thousands of years. It’s the advances of more recent decades, however, that have resulted in the field’s newfound success. New techniques and technologies have made cosmetic dentistry more cost-effective and accessible than ever while ensuring treatments like veneers and bridges look just like natural teeth.

As a result, most people know the basic, broad-sweeping benefits cosmetic dentistry can offer them, such as improving the appearance of their teeth and restoring their self-confidence. While these two benefits can have far-reaching effects on your daily life, they aren’t the only things cosmetic dentistry can change for the better. Here are a few surprising benefits you may experience from cosmetic dentistry treatments.

1. Cosmetic dentistry can improve your oral health.

There’s a well-known myth that some cosmetic treatments can harm your oral health, but this isn’t true; quite the opposite, several treatments can actually improve your oral health. For example, since it’s harder to clean crooked teeth thoroughly, plaque can build up in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, increasing your likelihood of getting cavities or gum disease. Straightening crooked teeth through orthodontic treatments like Invisalign or revitalizing a crooked tooth with a dental crown can improve your smile’s appearance, but cosmetic treatments can also improve your oral health by making oral hygiene much easier.

Additionally, when you lose a tooth, your remaining teeth slowly begin shifting into the gap. This can impact the appearance of your smile, but it has an even greater effect on your oral health by, once again, making it difficult to clean your teeth and gums properly. Replacing your missing tooth with a bridge or implant restores your smile’s appearance and function while preventing your teeth from shifting. Implants are also the only tooth replacement option that can prevent the bone loss that occurs over time once you have lost a tooth.

2. It can strengthen and protect your teeth.

Cosmetic treatments like veneers and crowns can also be used to strengthen and protect vulnerable or weakened teeth. Although your enamel is strong, it’s susceptible to being worn down over time; overbrushing, acidic drinks, abrasive materials, and simple age can all take a toll on teeth over the years. When enamel thins, the sensitive dentin underneath begins to show through, making your teeth more sensitive and vulnerable to decay and causing them to appear more yellow.

In cases like this, Dr. Wohlers can place veneers on your teeth to act as a shield, sealing bacteria out and improving or eliminating tooth sensitivity—all while completely revitalizing their appearance. Teeth that have been cracked, chipped, or slightly broken can also be fitted with veneers to protect them from bacteria and future damage. Dental crowns work similarly, protecting and restoring severely broken, worn down, or otherwise damaged teeth from decay by fitting over them like a cap.

3. The health of your teeth influences others’ first impressions of you.

People are inherently social, and we often communicate with each other through facial expressions and body language. Whether we mean to or not, we tend to draw a range of conclusions about people based on what we see—including how much they smile and what their smile looks like. The British Dental Association found that 62% of people felt that someone with bad breath or visibly decaying or missing teeth would be at a disadvantage when looking for any job; 60% also believed the same dental issues could damage someone’s chances of getting a promotion. Simply avoiding smiling in public isn’t a perfect solution either because people may mistakenly assume you’re unfriendly or upset.

As a result, remedying a few aspects of your smile that you’re self-conscious about can impact your social and professional life in a very real way. Gaining the confidence to smile more might sound simple, but people who smile often are seen as friendlier, more outgoing, and even more trustworthy and competent. This can mean a world of difference when you’re meeting new people or attending a job interview; making a good first impression gets your foot in the door so your personality, unique qualities, or skills can set you apart.

4. Cosmetic dentistry helps you look younger.

The wear and tear on teeth from constant, daily use causes them to change as we age. They become more yellow as our enamel thins naturally, but the food and drinks we consume can make our teeth become more yellow in a shorter period of time, even if we’re too young to experience yellowing from enamel erosion. We still tend to associate yellowed teeth with age, however, so a tooth-whitening treatment can make you look years younger. If you’re suffering from enamel erosion, veneers can work just as well to whiten your smile and help you look younger. Additionally, replacing missing teeth or restoring worn-down teeth will fill out your lips and cheeks, reducing wrinkles and helping you look younger.

5. It encourages you to take better care of your teeth.

When we spend money to fix something up, most of us like to keep it that way as long as possible. We drive our new car carefully and avoid tramping through mud in our new shoes. Similarly, when we spend money on dental treatments, we tend to take better care of our teeth to ensure we can enjoy the results for as long as possible. You may find yourself helping your tooth-whitening treatment last as long as possible by cutting back on staining food or drinks or putting extra effort into brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash daily. This tendency not only helps your dental restoration or whitening treatment last longer, but it also helps you build solid oral hygiene habits that will benefit you for years to come if you keep them up.

Despite what its name may imply, cosmetic dentistry goes deeper than just surface level; it improves both the appearance and health of your smile, but its impact can reach into the fabric of your daily life. The boost in self-confidence that cosmetic dentistry can give you has the ability to transform the way you’re perceived—by yourself and others—by giving you the confidence to greet the world with a smile.