The Potential Risks and Complications of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry has an important place in overall dental and oral health. Often after trauma, illness, or surgery, restorative dentistry (cosmetic dentistry under a different name) is necessary in restoring functionality, as well as appearance.
However, cosmetic dentistry – for appearances only – has become increasingly popular. Largely as a result of social trends and increased media coverage. Every time we turn on a television, go online, or open as smartphone, we are greeted with people who flash “perfect Smiles” – blindingly white and precisely aligned teeth. The underlying message very often – success and popularity is linked to a great smile. So it is understandable the growing popularity of cosmetic dentistry which offers the promise of cosmetically appealing teeth and smile.
However, we are on a different mission – to uncover the potential risks and complications. With all the marketing and hype out there in the marketplace, it is important to remember that every procedure – no matter how minimal it may seem to be has the potential for complications – both short and long term.
We turned to Dr. Liana Gedz of Rockefeller Cosmetic Dentistry for help. She is one of New York’s most experienced and trusted cosmetic dentists.
Dr. Gedz reminded us that cosmetic dentistry offers a range of options. These include Inlays/Onlays, Composite Bonding, Teeth Whitening, Dental Veneers, Dental Implants, Smile Makeovers, Full mouth reconstructions.
“Make no mistake, Dr. Gedz began, “There are potential risks. We know, because we are often asked to fix some these problems.”
Let’s review the major issues that arise:
“Problems are rare, but they can and do occur. To begin there are the general complications that can occur after any dental procedure. This includes swelling, tiredness, or discomfort. Cosmetic dentistry requires more time, can be more invasive, and requires greater use of anesthetics. So it is understandable that such issues are more commonplace in cosmetic dentistry.
“Then there are tooth complications. These might include increased sensitivity of the teeth. While usually temporary, sometimes the sensitivity can be permanent and requires further intervention. Severe cases may require a root canal. Other potential problems can be tooth cracking and chipping.
“Porcelain veneers can chip and would then need to be replaced. Also cosmetic procedures may result in bite complications. Patients can end up with uneven bite, jaw discomfort, jaw tiredness, jaw clicking. Yes, these issues can be addressed but it is preferred to get it right at the outset.
“Though maybe not a complication in itself, teeth whitening and bonding in time will discolor, depending on diet and habits such as smoking.
“There is also the potential for more serious complications. Typically these deal with the gum and soft tissues – such as redness, infection and recession. All of which can compromise the integrity of the teeth and jaw. These complications are usually corrected with further treatments, such as cleaning and revision surgery.
“Remember, complications are not just in the near term, but can manifest in the long term. That is why young people considering cosmetic dentistry should do their research. A cosmetic procedure should not undermine the integrity of the patient’s teeth. Your teeth need to last a lifetime.
“My suggestion for patients interested in cosmetic dentistry is to ignore the marketing and hype. There are many good dentists out there that do credible work. The way to evaluate a good dental practice is to determine how credible the entire practice is. Does it do dental surgery, periodontics, and serious restorative work? This depth of service tells you that the dentist have a broader view of the care they provide. And just in case, there is a problem, they have other experienced dentists on hand to advise and consult.”