There are several methods of getting that perfect smile using cosmetic dentistry. Some such methods include: teeth whitening, fillings, bonding, veneers, implants and braces. But how much does it really…

Laughing Woman with Afro Hair and Big Glasses and Big Beautiful Smile

A Million-Dollar Smile: What Does It Really Cost?

There are several methods of getting that perfect smile using cosmetic dentistry. Some such methods include: teeth whitening, fillings, bonding, veneers, implants and braces. But how much does it really cost?

Teeth Whitening

This is probably one of the more popular methods right now. If you want to remove the stains from your teeth and brighten and whiten your smile, teeth whitening is the solution. This procedure takes about 45 minutes and is done most effectively by a dentist. Some people will try to do this on their own, but the results are far from the same. The effects of this procedure usually last for six months or more.

If you are considering teeth whitening, here are some of the best options:

    • Whitening strips: $20 to $45 (Usually consists of about 20 treatments, depending on the brand)
    • Laser Teeth Whitening: $500 to $2,500
    • Custom Bleaching Trays: $150 to $1,500

There are other teeth whitening products that are cheaper; however, these do not work as well as the options listed above. These products include:

    • Whitening toothpaste or mouthwash: $5 to $20
    • Whitening Pens: $20-$30
    • Home Remedies: Less than $10
    • Bleaching Kiosks: $25-$200 per application

Dental Fillings

Fillings are applied to treat decayed or damaged teeth. There are two different options you or your dentist have to choose from:

    • Amalgam Fillings: Nationally, amalgam fillings typically run from $129 to $234 depending on the amount of surfaces in your mouth that need these. This type of filling is extremely durable because it is made out of metal. However, there has been some concern over whether or not the metals used for these fillings are harmful to the wearer. Most dentists don’t use these, but people who do have amalgam fillings will experience sensitivity to hot and cold substances for some time.
    • Composite Fillings: The composite fillings range from $125 to $250 depending on the time and material needed. These fillings look more like natural teeth so they blend in. They may contain glass, ceramic, plastic and acrylic materials, and they typically last from five to 15 years. These do take longer to apply to the tooth, and more precision is required of the dentist, but these are most commonly used today. It is important to know that these can be discolored by tea, coffee, tobacco and other substances.

Bonding

Bonding is a quick and inexpensive way to correct cracks, gaps, low-bite pressure, discoloration and tooth decay. Dentists will apply a tooth-colored, durable, plastic material to the tooth that they will then harden using a special light so it bonds with the tooth. It usually lasts for up to ten years. Once you reach that point in time, you’ll need to go back to the dentist for repairs or a replacement.

The procedure itself usually takes an hour or two unless you need to have several teeth done. That will take longer. It also might take you a few days to adjust to the feel of your teeth if you need to have your teeth lengthened.

Bonding costs between $100 and $600 per tooth. The cost will vary depending on the amount of work that is required and the skill level needed of the dentist.

Implants

Implants are tooth root replacements. They offer a strong foundation for removable replacement teeth or permanent teeth. They are designed to match your natural teeth. The time it takes to complete this procedure is quite extensive—usually three to 12 months depending on the amount of time it takes the patient to heal.

For a single implant, and depending on the type of implant and placement, it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $8,500. Most dentists refer patients to oral surgeons, prosthodontists or periodontists for this procedure.

But when finished, you will have a more natural and youthful look.

Veneers

Veneers are plastic and porcelain laminates that are bonded to damaged and worn enamel. These can last for up to 15 years if oral hygiene is kept up with regularly.

Veneers can cost $800 to $2,000 per tooth depending on the individual’s needs. The cost is determined based on size, placement, difficulty and more. If you would like to find a more accurate cost based on your particular situation, find a Certified Lumineers Dentist who can give you an estimate.

Braces

And finally, braces. Although a common procedure, there are actually several different options to consider when pursuing braces.

    • Metal Braces (traditional): $3,500-$6,000. Most people automatically picture these traditional metal braces when they think of braces at all. You’ve seen them. Metal brackets and wires and the different colored rubber bands unique to each individual based on personal taste. There is also a new feature that was created with these—heat-activated archwires that use your body heat to help the teeth move more quickly and less painfully. The only downside to these braces are that they are the most noticeable.
    • Lingual Braces: $8,000-$10,000. These are similar to the metal braces, but instead of being placed on the front of the teeth, they are placed on the inside of the teeth so they are invisible to the naked eye. However, these are more expensive, difficult to clean, not applicable in every case and the adjustments that need to be made regularly are much more difficult than traditional braces. These also take longer to fully correct your teeth.
    • Ceramic Braces:$4,000-$6,500. These are exactly the same as metal braces, except these come with the option of tooth-colored or clear brackets and tooth-colored wires, which blend in to your teeth and make them less noticeable. The downside is that these braces are more expensive than metal braces and have to be cared for with a close eye so the brackets don’t stain.
    • Invisalign:$3,500-$6,000. These braces are used like a retainer. They are formed to fit your teeth, are invisible, and you can remove them when you need to eat so you aren’t limited to what you can and cannot eat. Invisalign needs to be replaced every two weeks. Unfortunately, these braces will not work for serious dental problems and are only available for adults and teens, not children. These also take the longest to work.

Whatever you decide, do your research beforehand to find the best dentist in your area who will offer the price you need with the quality attention you deserve. And if you don’t have dental insurance or anything to help you afford these dental procedures, check out 1dental.com.

Natasha is 1Dental’s managing editor and copywriter, focusing content on dental and health news, advice and tips. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has since been a book editor and now copywriter and managing editor on dental and health. You can find her on Google+ and on all of 1Dental’s social networks.

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