Americans are more likely to skip necessary dental care due to the costs more than any other type of healthcare, reports WebMD. If the expense is preventing you from fixing your teeth, you might want to consider these more affordable options.
Get a Retainer Instead of Braces
If your teeth are misaligned or crooked, instead of shelling out an arm and a leg for braces, you might be able to get a retainer instead. They’re often ideal for those who have a small space between two teeth or a bite that’s slightly misaligned. A clear plastic tray called an aligner can be fitted over the teeth, helping to push them into place or straighten them, which can be a very effective alternative to much pricier braces. A retainer typically costs between $500 and $1,000, and while aligners tend to run anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000, they can do quite a bit more than a retainer for fixing crooked teeth which can make paying the higher price worth it.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth can easily become darker or yellow over time for many different reasons, from smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee to consuming berries or chocolate. Sometimes the enamel begins to thin as you age, which causes yellower dentin to show through. In other cases, people can be born with naturally yellow or slightly grey teeth. Professional whitening can be done either in an office or with take-home trays. Take-home options are generally cheaper, with in-office treatments typically around $650. With either it will help remove and prevent discoloration for a longer duration than any of the over-the-counter whitening kits.
Tooth Reshaping and Contouring
If you have teeth that are misshapened or chipped, they can be reshaped or contoured very inexpensively with procedures like Invisalign. It’s a painless, quick procedure that can instantly improve your smile if you don’t have any major structural issues such as broken teeth or cavities. The dentist uses a laser or special drill to smooth chips or ridges, and/or reshape large sections of the tooth for a more even smile.
Composite Dental Bonding, otherwise known as composite veneers, can help fill in gaps, strengthen teeth and rebuild tooth structure to fix problems like chipping, gaps, discoloration, bite alignment, decay and even bad breath. The dentists attaches a tooth-colored resin to the existing tooth, forms it to the desired shape and sets it using ultraviolet light, a process that’s quick and painless.
The chewing surfaces of your teeth aren’t smooth but filled with little grooves and pits that serve as ideal hiding places for bacteria that can cause disease. If bacteria and food debris sit there too long, cavities can be the result. If you’re prone to cavities, getting dental sealants is inexpensive, painless and will help prevent them from occurring. They’re painted on in liquid form and allowed to harden. They require no special care and usually last for many years.