You might think that cosmetic dentistry is superficial and only related to getting and maintaining an attractive smile. But the truth is that the health and appearance of your smile are closely related. Many things you might think are just cosmetic complaints can actually be serious health problems.

Discolored Teeth Can Be Eroded, Decayed, or Dead Inside

If there’s one thing that people complain about more than anything else, it’s the whiteness (or lack thereof) of their teeth. But discoloration is more than just a concern about appearance, it can be related to the health of your tooth, especially if the tooth or teeth aren’t responding to teeth whitening.

A tooth can become discolored because the enamel on the tooth is being worn away. The loss of tooth enamel can be caused by acidic foods and beverages like soda, wine, beer, or energy drinks. Thin enamel makes your tooth more susceptible to decay, and means they’re more likely to break.

Speaking of decay, it can also cause your teeth to become discolored. A cavity that eats away at your enamel can leave dark, damaged material in its place. And if the bacteria reach the interior of the tooth, they can infect it, causing it to discolor.

A tooth may also become discolored after trauma because the tooth is bruised or even dead inside. A tooth that’s dead isn’t necessarily a problem, other than its appearance, but sometimes they can be vulnerable to infection.

A woman looking at her self in a handheld mirror

Chipped Teeth Can Mean a Bad Bite

If your teeth regularly develop chips, it can be a sign that you have bite problems. This may be related to bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding), TMJ, or both.

Left untreated, this damage will not only progress, but you may experience additional symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches, and more.

Crooked Teeth Can Be a Sign of Gum Disease

Crooked teeth might be genetic or developmental, but there are many health conditions that can worsen your crooked teeth. For example, if your bite is off, it can put adverse forces on your teeth, causing them to drift out of place (of course, this works the other way–teeth that are out of place can contribute to an unhealthy bite).

But gum disease can also cause your teeth to drift. When gum disease attacks the support of your teeth, they can come loose and may be more prone to drifting. If you’ve noticed your teeth are becoming more crooked, it’s time to talk to a dentist.

Gummy Smile Could Be Gum Disease

The ideal smile has a good balance between the amount of teeth and the amount of gum tissue you display. But in some smiles, there’s an imbalance between the two. This may just be because your teeth are small, but it may also be because your gums are swollen, causing them to appear larger. Their color can also make them seem more prominent so that they look like they’re too large, even if they’re the right size.

Another reason your smile might be gummy, though, is that your teeth are being worn down too fast. This is usually related to bite problems like bruxism or TMJ, and if the bite problems aren’t fixed, your teeth will eventually wear away to nothing.

Missing Tooth Affects Your Whole Mouth

A missing tooth is nothing to ignore. You might think that once the problem tooth is gone, your mouth will return to good oral health, but that’s rarely the case.

Instead, it’s more likely that whatever caused you to lose your tooth–most commonly gum disease–will move on to affect other teeth.

And with one tooth missing, all the rest of your teeth will potentially start to drift out of place. And they may begin to develop chips and cracks because they now have to bear more than their share of the bite forces. A missing tooth should be replaced, ideally with a dental implant.

Don’t Ignore Cosmetic Complaints

You might think that cosmetic complaints about your smile are related to vanity and therefore aren’t a priority. The truth is that many of them are potentially very serious and need immediate attention.

If you are looking for a Columbus, OH dentist that can take care of both the health and beauty of your smile, please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry.