A Candidate for a Snap-On Smile

Would you be able to give the lowest cost cosmetic dentistry available? I’ve had to go to free help wherever I can, because of being unemployed. I never thought finances would keep me from being happy, or smiling… but I just don’t have it. I hate my teeth when I look in the mirror. I don’t have insurance. What can I do?
– Donna from Texas

Donna,
Don’t, please don’t look for the cheapest cosmetic dentistry available. You don’t want that. I can just see you getting this work done and then e-mailing me back in tears wondering how you can undo this work because it looks ugly.

You’d be a great candidate for a Snap-On Smile. This is the very least expensive way to get a new smile. It only lasts about four years, but you could get it to last longer if you only used it when you were out in public.

It’s a simple procedure. The cosmetic dentist takes an impression of your teeth, and then the laboratory makes you a new smile out of a hardened acetyl resin. When you get it back from the lab, you literally snap it into place over your existing teeth. It gives you a beautiful, white smile.

The cost is going to be about $1000 for a full arch of teeth, which is about one-tenth of what porcelain veneers or Lumineers would cost. It would be about half that for just the six front teeth.

A question about healing after an extraction

How can you tell if the gumline is infected after a tooth extraction?
– Paul from Iowa

Paul,
If a tooth is infected and then it is extracted, your body almost always heals the infection by itself within a few days. The reason is that the source of the infection is gone, and your functioning antibodies and white blood cells can ordinarily take care of the infection. Because you have an open socket, the infection that before was trapped and festering now has easy drainage. An exception would be when a tooth is impacted and the gum has to be incised and maybe some bone removed to take it out.

So to answer your question, the gum may well be infected after an extraction, but it may not matter. Warning signs of trouble of an infection that isn’t healing would be post-operative pain that increases from one day to the next, swelling that keeps increasing after the second day, or pus draining from the area of the extraction. If you have any of these symptoms, you should call your dentist.

Links: read more about tooth extractions.