Teeth Whitening: Months, but Can Be Maintained
Discolored teeth can make us look old or unhealthy, which is why teeth whitening is so popular. Teeth whitening is also inexpensive, so it’s an easy entry point for people who want to improve their smile but aren’t ready to commit to more expensive procedures.
The downside of teeth whitening is that it doesn’t last. To make it last longer, we can give give up our daily coffee, tea, chocolate, or wine habit, but that’s unlikely. A better approach is maintenance treatments that can prolong the effects of teeth whitening essentially forever.
Dental Bonding: 3-5 Years
Dental bonding is when we use composite materials to reshape the teeth. This can be used for many things, such as repairing minor chips, closing gaps between teeth, and even building up small or poorly shaped teeth.
A new variation on dental bonding is BioClear. Instead of the traditional spreadable paste, this uses a composite resin that flows. It can be poured into tiny molds that your cosmetic dentist shapes around your tooth. This flowable composite sets harder and less porous than traditional bonding, so it’s more likely to resist staining and last longer. Because of their durability, we call them BioClear veneers.
Porcelain Veneers: 10-20 Years
Many people think that porcelain veneers are fragile because they think they’re made of the same material as china dolls. But veneers are actually made of advanced ceramics that are even stronger than your tooth enamel. With proper care, porcelain veneers can be very long-lasting. More than 90% are expected to last 10 years, and more than 80% last 20 years! At 20 years or more, many veneers won’t have failed, technically, but they may not be as attractive as they once were.
Dental Implants: 20 Years to Lifetime
Dental implants last a very long time. How long? Well, we don’t know yet. All we can say is that studies designed to see how long they last haven’t been long enough. These studies show that 93% or more of implants are still in place after about 20 years. One small 30-year study even had 100% implant survival for the entire duration. And there are anecdotal reports of people with implants lasting 50 years!
But expect minor repairs to implants and implant dentures every 7-8 years.
Orthodontics: LifetimeOrthodontic treatments work by moving your teeth into place. Your body reshapes the bones around the teeth, creating a new, permanent configuration for the teeth. Sort of.
Just as your teeth can be moved with the force of orthodontic treatments, so can they be moved by the sometimes irregular and unpredictable forces of biting and chewing. That’s why a retainer is necessary to make sure your orthodontic results last.
Make a Long-Term Investment in Cosmetic Dentistry
As you can see, cosmetic dentistry is a long-term investment in the health and beauty of your smile.