Do you feel like your front teeth are too short? Perhaps this reduces your confidence or makes you feel self-conscious. Rest assured that you do not have to live with your small teeth forever. While small front teeth are not usually a problem when it comes to function, they are a common cosmetic dental issue. As such, cosmetic dentists have developed several ways of dealing with this problem. Here's a look at some of the options you and your cosmetic dentist may want to consider.
Gum Reduction Surgery
In some cases, the problem may not actually be that your teeth are too small, but that too much of each tooth is hidden up under your gums. Your dentist will take x-rays of your teeth to determine if this is the case. If your teeth are, in fact, hidden too far under your gums, your dentist will likely recommend a procedure to remove your excess gum tissue.
Gum reduction surgery is not nearly as scary as it sounds. Before the procedure, your dentist will draw a line along your gums so you can see where your new gumline will be. The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, which means you'll be awake but your mouth will be numb. Sometimes, a laser will be used to cut away the extra gum tissue. Other times, your dentist may use a scalpel. You'll have to stick with soft foods for a few days after the surgery, and you may need to take over-the-counter pain relievers to stay comfortable. However, most people are completely back to normal within a week or two.
Sometimes dental bonding is done in conjunction with gum reduction surgery. However, if you have a normal amount of gum tissue but small teeth, dental bonding might be the only procedure you need. Bonding is a painless procedure. Your dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin to your teeth -- in your case, it will be applied to the chewing surfaces of your front teeth -- to alter their shape.
Your dentist will select a color of resin that looks exactly like your natural tooth color so that nobody will be able to notice that your teeth have been altered. Then, he or she will use a special, file-like tool to roughen up the ends of your teeth. The resin will be applied to the bottoms of your teeth, using a syringe-like tool and some special plastic molds. Your dentist will then need to trim and shape the resin using drills and files until the teeth look natural. Since the vibrations can be a bit uncomfortable, you will probably be numbed during this procedure. However, when the anesthetic wears off, you will feel no pain -- you'll just have the new, long teeth you've always desired.
If your teeth are more than a little too short, your dentist may not be able to add the length you desire with dental bonding. Instead, he or she may recommend a special device called veneers. These are thin sheets of porcelain that are cemented over your teeth. In your case, your veneers would be longer than your actual teeth. When someone looks at you, they would see the veneer -- not your real tooth -- but your real tooth would still be behind the veneer.
Having veneers put into place is rather simple. Your dentist will make a mold of your teeth and send it to the lab, which will make custom veneers for you. A little enamel will be shaved off your teeth, and the veneers will be cemented into place. You'll need to be wary of grinding your teeth and eating overly crunchy foods since these practices can chip your veneers, but other than that, your life won't change much with veneers.
To learn more about these options, speak with a cosmetic dentist in your area, such as one at a clinic like TLC Dental Center. They can evaluate your smile and tell you what option is most likely to give you the longer teeth you desire.