Cosmetic Dentistry in Houston – you bet your boots it’s popular

Like anywhere, in Houston cosmetic dentistry is extremely popular. But is it safe? In a word, yes. Of course, you know I can’t stick to just one word on the subject! 

Many patients with questions about cosmetic dental procedures such as bleaching or whitening, straightening, and veneers are happy to learn they are long-lasting, reasonably-priced options to improve your smile.

Some of the most popular Cosmetic Dentistry options that can give you more reasons to smile are 

  • Whitening 
  • Straightening
  • Veneers
  • Invisible braces  


While over-the-counter whitening strips can brighten your teeth, many adults find the results are disappointing and let’s face it, those strips can be expensive! In our Uptown Houston office we use bleaching trays and in-house bleaching that can pretty quickly deliver the results our patients are looking for. It’s hardly complex dentistry, but I’ll admit I like seeing my patients genuinely happy with their smiles. 

How long does it take? Two weeks of overnight whitening will yield great results for most patients. Our patients with more intrinsic staining or older teeth often require more time.

How long do the results last? Tea, coffee, red wine and smoking are the main culprits for staining. The good news is that once a patient has achieved the desired level of brightness, occasional once-a-month touch-up night whitening can generally bring the smile back.    

What about sensitivity? Many patients experience very little sensitivity. With whitening procedures there are two main types of sensitivity: 1- Transient discomfort in a single tooth, usually lasting less than 20 seconds (we call them "zingers") and 2- Generalized sensitivity to cold liquids or air flowing across the teeth, lasting 12 to 24 hours. We have solutions for both types of sensitivity, including "paint-on" desensitizing fluid as well as trays for desensitizing paste. For example, Dr. Tollett found it most comfortable to alternate two nights of whitening with one night of desensitizing.

Straightening: Just how invisible are Invisible Braces?

Invisalign “invisible” braces work behind your teeth. While they're practically invisible to everyone but you, you will notice them. (Don't worry; most of my patients say they're used to the feel of them within 24 hours.) Do they work? Yes, they do.

Invisalign invisible braces are great for minor teeth movement, especially for straightening the front teeth. They are less effective for extreme crowding, large tooth movements or large tooth rotations. If you’re interested in correcting misaligned teeth or improving your smile, come see me. If Invisalign is a good option for you, I’ll tell you – and if veneers would be a better solution, I’ll recommend that. The bottom line is that I won’t recommend a procedure unless I’m very certain it will give you the desired results. I’m sensitive to the fact that cosmetic dentistry, by definition, is “optional,” meaning the treatment is coming out of your pocket.  

More Inexpensive Cosmetic Dental Options

What is Laser Gum Sculpting?
Laser gum sculpting sounds like a strange hobby, but in fact it’s a simple procedure that can make a world of difference in your smile. It’s one of the secrets behind a lot of Hollywood smiles. Virtually no one – not even Hollywood stars! – have perfect teeth or gums. But by merely evening out the gum line along your front teeth, your smile will appear much more “perfect.” It’s also a relatively quick and virtually painless procedure. Contact our dental office to find out more about the process today.  

What are Veneers?
Veneers, often known as porcelain veneers or dental laminates, can provide a smile makeover in many cases, such as when a tooth is badly discolored, chipped, or for healthy teeth that are simply misshapen, rotated, or to fix a gap in your front teeth. They can provide a whole new look for you in just a few weeks, in most cases, and my patients tell me they don't experience tooth sensitivity once the veneers are in place. If you have questions, or would like to know more about the process, contact me. You may not believe what a difference veneers can make in your appearance until you see some before- and after photos for yourself!