I am frustrated with my smile and tired of always hiding from pictures. We’re thinking about starting a family and I don’t want to avoid photos during my child’s entire life. What are my options for treating this?
Congrats on starting a family. I can completely understand why you want to feel comfortable and present for pictures. There are a couple of good options for you in giving you a smile you can feel proud to share with the world. For those who are unaware of what enamel hypoplasia is, it is a defect, which is caused either by genetics or an illness during the formation of the teeth, that causes to the enamel of the teeth to not fully form.
Treating Enamel Hypoplasia
With mild hypoplasia, you have two good options. The first is dental bonding. With this procedure, your dentist will drill or sand out the white spots and then fill the tooth with composite resin. This is done freehand and will be finished when you leave. It is the least expensive of the two options but does need to be replaced periodically.
Your second option is to have porcelain veneers placed over your teeth. If you are dealing with severe hypoplasia, as pictured above, this would be the only option I would recommend. With porcelain veneers, thin wafers of porcelain are bonded to your teeth. They are the go-to for those Hollywood smile makeovers and can not just cover the hypoplasia, but completely redesign your smile. Porcelain veneers can change the size, color, and even shape of your teeth.
Pick the Dentist Carefully
Both of these are cosmetic procedures. Unfortunately, cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty yet. This means that any dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist. To make matters worse, smile makeovers are not adequately taught in dental school. If a dentist wants to develop skills in creating smile makeovers, then they will need to invest in post-doctoral training. Not many dentists do.
So how are you to know the real deal from the pretenders? Well, you could ask them where they got their post-doctoral training in cosmetic work and then ask to see their smile gallery to see what type of artistry they have. Another option is to look for a dentist who has been accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists have passed stringent exams on the technical procedures as well as demonstrated a high level of artistry in the work they do.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.