Six Ways to Preserve Dental Work

Susan Anderson

by Susan Anderson | February 6, 2012 @ 09:00AM

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Six ways to preserve dental workAbout 10 years ago, I chipped one of my front teeth (have no recollection how or where) and required dental bonding. Over time, this bonding has started to wear away and I was faced with having to undergo the same procedure in order to be able to retain my cheery smile. This got me thinking: Were there things that I was supposed to do to preserve my teeth or maybe even foods to avoid? Urrrgghh! There were. I’m sure many of you have gone through this as well.

The popularity of Cosmetic Dentistry has been growing steadily over the past several years. Most people value having a great smile and the confidence that comes with it. However, after investing anywhere between $500 for teeth whitening to as much as $1,000 to $3,000 per tooth for dental veneers or dental implants, it would be devastating to irreparably harm your new smile. 

Here’s what you need to know to take proper care of your new (or older) dental work.

  1. Stay away from abrasive toothpastes. You may not realize it, but baking soda based products and other “whitening” toothpastes can actually dull the look or your porcelain veneers over time. Look for the ADA (American Dental Association) seal for products that will be gentle and safe to use.
  2. Be aware of what you eat. Try to skip the hard candy and unnaturally hard foods, don’t chew your ice, and stay away from nibbling your nails and pencils. While veneers are generally as strong as your own teeth, they are not invincible.
  3. Wear a mouth guard while playing sports or when sleeping if you have a history of grinding your teeth. Mouth guards are widely available in your local drugstore and cost between $8 and $25. If you find the drugstore variety uncomfortable, custom fit night guards are available and range from $35 to $85 through online retailers, a small price to pay to protect your new smile.
  4. Adopt a proper oral hygiene regimen. Cavities can easily form around dental work, making that much more important to be vigilant about protecting your mouth. Brush and floss regularly, making sure that you’re taking the appropriate time and care. Toothbrushes should be stored in an upright position and allowed to air dry, uncovered, to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria. You should also plan to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. A popular and safe option these days is choosing an electronic toothbrush, which are often times affordable. These can be found for approximately $5.99, and may assist with the safe removal of plaque.
  5. Drink through a straw. Red wine, coffee, tea, and tobacco are substances that can stain your teeth over time.  Veneers are highly stain-resistant, but consuming high amounts of the above may still alter their appearance. By drinking through a straw, you will bypass your teeth and greatly reduce the exposure of these hued beverages on your teeth. Also, if you plan to whiten your teeth, do it before you have dental bonding or a similar procedure, as the bonding will not whiten in the same manner as your own teeth. You don’t want a miss-matched set after all this effort.
  6. Schedule regular dentist visits. Your cosmetic dentist will be able to check around your teeth to ensure no dental problems are developing and offer additional instructions for the care of your teeth and mouth.

If you do damage your dental work, see your cosmetic dentist immediately.  Be advised that unless the damage is a result of the cosmetic dental product or procedure itself, it is not likely to be repaired at zero cost. Following these easy steps will ensure you have a beautiful and in-tact smile for years to come.

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