If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile, you might decide to ignore the problem. After all, if it’s just a cosmetic problem, it might not be serious. But this is a mistake.

First, the appearance of your smile really matters. It can make a big difference in your personal and professional relationships, including the most important relationship of all: your relationship with yourself.

But it’s also quite likely that your smile problem is actually more than just a cosmetic concern. It might be that your smile is looking unattractive because it’s actually unhealthy. Here are some common cosmetic complaints that can hide serious oral health problems.

Cosmetic Concerns Are Health Problems

Discolored Teeth

Discolored teeth are probably the most common cosmetic complaint we hear. And, often, the fix is simple. Teeth whitening can remove most surface stains caused by coffee, tea, cigarette smoke, and other external sources. But sometimes tooth discoloration is a sign of serious problems.

Our teeth have multiple layers. The outermost layer, which gives teeth their whiteness, is enamel. If your tooth enamel gets worn away, it can let the layer underneath, called the dentin, show through. This doesn’t just discolor your teeth: it’s a sign that your teeth are in danger.

A single tooth might become discolored if the tooth has experienced trauma or if it’s gotten infected.

Teeth can also become discolored if mercury from metal fillings is seeping through the tooth.

Chipped Teeth

Yes, a chipped tooth is definitely a cosmetic problem. It’s a very visible cosmetic flaw that you might want to treat with veneers or crowns. But it might also be a sign that your smile is in danger.

If you experience chipped or cracked teeth just from simply biting and chewing, it’s likely that your bite is imbalanced, putting excessive force on some of your teeth. Left untreated, this can destroy your teeth, and may be part of the development of a bite problem like TMJ.

Gummy Smile or Long Teeth

In an ideal smile, there’s a balance between the teeth and gums. Each contributes to the attractive appearance of the smile, but neither one should dominate. If either one does, it’s not just unattractive: it could be a sign of oral health problems.

A gummy smile may result if your teeth don’t emerge completely from gums. Or it could be caused by the overgrowth of your gums, which might be genetic or might be a side effect of medications. Or it might be a sign that your teeth have been badly worn down by a bad or imbalanced bite.

Long teeth might also be natural, but more often, teeth that seem especially long are caused by receding gums. Receding gums occur when gum disease attacks and damages your gums, causing them to pull away from teeth and recede.

If you have either of these problems, we’ll evaluate your oral health to find the true cause and recommend the right treatment.

Missing Tooth

Although a missing tooth may make you self-conscious, it’s more than a cosmetic problem. It leaves a gap in your smile, but the impact can be so much more.

When a tooth is missing, the rest of your teeth can drift and may be more likely to get chipped or cracked. A missing tooth can trap food and may lead to gum disease or cavities. If you have lost one tooth, you’re more likely to lose more if you don’t replace the missing tooth.

To protect your teeth replace missing teeth with an implant, bridge, or denture.

Cosmetic Complaints Deserve Attention

If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, the odds are good that oral health problems may also be creeping up on you. Don’t ignore these cosmetic complaints–please call (248) 656-2020 to schedule an appointment with a Detroit area cosmetic dentist at Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry in Rochester, MI.