Cosmetic Dentistry: Why More Patients Are Investing in Oral Health Esthetics

There are many reasons why cosmetic dentistry is growing in popularity, from the very real pressure to look one’s best in the age of social media to increased awareness about the importance of oral health for overall health. For practices, knowing why patients are seeking cosmetic treatment is just as important as the treatment itself.

Here are some of the most significant reasons for the increase in cosmetic procedures, and what the profession can expect in the future:

People have more disposable income. When the economy is doing well and average pay wages rise, practices tend to see an increase in requests for cosmetic dentistry. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the average cosmetic dentistry patient spent $5,000 or more in 2017. Interestingly, more patients also use vacation time to consider getting a smile makeover. This so-called “dental tourism” has become a popular way to refresh and recover at favorite vacation spots.

People realize the power of a smile. Whether it’s landing the dream job or finding true love, more people are realizing that a healthy smile goes a long way toward personal and professional success. As more people are interested in looking and feeling better, they’re opting for cosmetic dental procedures that will give them confidence and a better oral health prognosis into the future.

People want to keep their teeth longer. Improvements in dental care have meant that more patients are able to keep their teeth longer. As life expectancy lengthens, the impetus for better oral health becomes even more important. As such, more people are looking to cosmetic dentistry to help address oral health challenges and provide them with a healthy smile for many years to come. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 26% of patients who opt for cosmetic dentistry are between the ages of 40 and 49, and another 25% are in their 50s.

People want the best possible results. In addition to in-office procedures, there are many ways that patients can take control over their oral health at home. Never before have we seen so many people interested in teeth whitening, one of the most-sought-after cosmetic procedures worldwide. Thanks to products that allow people to whiten their teeth at home, more patients are becoming familiar with the process, leading them to practices that can provide truly professional results.

The link between disease and oral health

The appearance of a smile is as much a reflection of a person as it is that person’s overall health. For cosmetic dentistry to be successful, health concerns must be addressed to understand how problems develop and how to ultimately correct and ideally prevent them. Issues that may lead a patient to seek cosmetic dental solutions frequently are the same issues that can create health risks down the road. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Misaligned teeth: They can lead to periodontal disease, caries, temporomandibular joint pain, and difficulty chewing
  • Edentulism: Missing teeth can lead to misalignment of remaining and neighboring teeth, and can cause bone loss and tooth decay
  • Caries: These can progress to the inner tooth if not treated, leading to painful toothaches and dangerous infections
  • Swollen soft tissue: This could be a sign of periodontal disease, which can lead to chronic bad breath, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, and tooth loss

Overall health issues affecting a patient’s entire body also may be rooted in the mouth. In fact, 90% of all diseases have symptoms traced directly to the oral cavity.

  • Periodontal disease can be a sign of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or asthma
  • Bone loss and tooth loss are linked to osteoporosis and increased risk of cardiovascular conditions
  • Sores, growths, and a thick lining in the mouth can be signs of oral cancer
  • Lesions also can be a sign of cancer, HIV/AIDS, or diabetes

Disease can also result from poor oral health and hygiene over time. Did you know:

  • More than 90% of people with heart disease also have periodontal disease
  • Inflammation in the mouth from periodontal disease, decay and other issues may increase inflammation in the blood vessels, putting a patient at risk for a heart attack or stroke
  • Inflammation in the mouth affects insulin levels, making diabetes more challenging to manage
  • Periodontal disease during pregnancy has been linked to complications such as premature birth and low birth weight
  • New research has linked poor oral health to debilitating neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease

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This blog post was originally published in OnTarget. Read the original article here.