A Timeline For That New Smile Of Yours

You've invested the time and money into achieving the smile of your dreams, and your new pearly whites have boosted your confidence and given you a new reason to flash that grin as often as possible. But like all good things in life, your tooth restorations may not last forever. Luckily, there are ways to ensure your smile keeps looking great for years-even decades. Newport Beach, CA, cosmetic dentist Sherri Worth, DDS, gave us the scoop on how to make your smile last.

“Patients should be examined by a dentist regularly, especially if they have existing restorations/conditions,” she says. “As for how often exactly, it depends on the individual patient and the overall health of his or her mouth. Regularly scheduled cleanings are essential and are a great time to have the restorations checked.”

How long should some of the most common procedures last?

- Veneers are a great restorative option. They are a fairly noninvasive and conservative procedure that will last approximately 10 to 20 years.

- Bonding can be a good way to restore your teeth, but it can stain and/or break depending on the position it is in and how many dark liquids or foods you consume.

- Dental implants are the solution for missing teeth. If done properly and successfully, they can last longer than your life span.

- Crowns are sturdy and can last between 10 to 20 years.

- Bleaching is the least invasive and can give some of the best results. The longevity of bleached teeth depends on how much colored or dark foods and liquids you consume. One tip for keeping teeth white: Rinse or brush after dark foods or liquids are consumed, especially after consuming coffee.

Problems with your teeth or restorations may arise slowly, but can lead to dramatic changes such as broken or infected teeth, periodontal disease, TMJ issues or pain, soreness in the jaw joint and/or swelling. Of course, you should see your dentist right away if any of these occur.

“The best advice to keep restorations/dental work healthy and long-lasting is with regular cleanings and exams with your dentist, coupled with excellent oral hygiene care at home, including regular brushing and flossing,” says Dr. Worth. The typical schedule is twice-a-year cleanings, but if you're prone to problems, you may consider adding a third check-up to your annual schedule.

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