Your smile is a crucial component of your appearance. It is often your first feature that people will notice. Research indicates that a great smile helps make better first impressions and shapes the way people perceive you, and surveys of professionals indicate that most people believe a great smile is essential to both career success and romantic success. Many people have one or several aspects of their smiles that displease them. These flaws are correctable through various cosmetic dental treatments, and a smile makeover is a plan that combines these procedures so that they harmonize.
What Is a Smile Makeover?
A smile makeover is a treatment plan generally involving two or more dental procedures. Each makeover must be tailored to the particular patient because each person has a unique smile and different needs and goals. Smile makeovers are not just limited to the cosmetic aspects of a smile. Patients may be dealing with tooth decay, gum disease, dental damage, and so forth and need to overcome those fundamental problems as well as achieve a beautiful smile that makes them proud. Some people can have their smiles made over in a single visit with teeth whitening, for instance, but for others, a smile makeover is a plan that is executed over the course of weeks or even months.
The Smile Makeover Consultation
Every smile makeover begins with a consultation with your dentist. Often, the consultation is combined with a regular checkup. You have your teeth cleaned, and your dentist assesses your oral health. Your dentist may use various diagnostic tools, such as X-rays and 3D imaging, and review as well as update your medical history. If you have any oral health issues, your dentist will explain these to you as well as advise treatment. Your dentist will then discuss the cosmetic aspects of your smile, work with you to identify goals, and explore and help you choose the various procedures that will achieve them. In the next phase, the plan takes shape as a timetable is created. Restorative care will be prioritized, but you should have a clear understanding of when the various cosmetic improvements will occur.
Cosmetic Dental Procedures Available to You
The cosmetic dental procedures that are best for you will depend on your oral health, your smile makeover goals, and your budget. Teeth whitening is certainly the most common cosmetical dental procedures, but other options include veneers, Invisalign, and teeth shaping. Although we call these cosmetic procedures, be aware that some, such as crowns, can be both cosmetic and restorative.
It is common for teeth to become discolored over time. Such discoloration is prevalent among smokers, but it also happens due to the foods you eat and beverages you drink and as a natural part of getting older. In-office chairside teeth whitening procedures are highly effective, deliver immediate results, and can make your teeth many shades whiter. Your dentist will also provide a whitening kit to use at home to make the results more intense and to help maintain a whiter appearance.
There are teeth-whitening kits as well as various other teeth-whitening oral care products that are available over the counter. However, such products are not as effective as in-office care, and without the guidance of your dentist, you can actually cause teeth sensitivity. If you want to use any of these products, discuss them with your dentist first. Some of these products can help to maintain a whiter smile, but in-office treatments are the only way to remove deep stains that have accumulated over time. The reason for this is the regulation of the stronger chemicals needed to achieve such an effect.
Dental implants are the most advanced solution available if you need to replace teeth that you have lost or which need to be removed. The process involves inserting one or more titanium posts into the jawbone, which is not as horrifying as it may sound and generally involves no discomfort. A healing period is required, after which your dentist will place custom-made crowns atop the implant. It is worth noting that treatment time is longer for implants than with dentures and dental bridges, but implants are permanent, allow for the most natural look, and stimulate your jaw the way actual teeth would.
Veneers are often made of porcelain and are thin coverings that are bonded to the front of teeth. In order to avoid enlarging the tooth, a tooth must be prepared by having some of its enamel removed. Each veneer is custom-made to the individual patient. Porcelain is available in a broad range of colors, and your dentist can match it to your natural tooth color. Your dentist can also adjust the length, width, and overall shape of the veneer, which allows veneers to correct many different cosmetic flaws.
Dentists will often recommend veneers if there is discoloration that cannot be undone, such as from aging. Veneers can correct teeth that have chipped or just wore down over time. They can also be used to correct teeth that grew crooked or with an odd shape, as well as to fix gaps and unevenness. Your dentist will custom-make each veneer. He or she will then place the veneer and make minor adjustments until placement is perfect. The veneer is then buffed for the perfect aesthetic prior to applying a dental cement and hardening it with UV light in order to create a bond that lasts.
Invisalign Clear Aligners
Braces are often associated with adolescence not because adults could not wear them but generally chose not to. The clear aligners innovated by Invisalign eliminate that concern because they are practically imperceptible. No one at work will have any idea you are wearing them unless you tell them. Invisalign is also an excellent option for teens and avoids the stigma of wearing braces, and it does not involve metal wires or brackets or any other inconveniences associated with conventional braces.
Invisalign is a longer process than most cosmetic dental procedures, but not as long as wearing braces, and the results can be just as dramatic. It takes 12 months in most cases but can take 18 or 24 months for complex scenarios, such as when the teeth are crowded. Using highly advanced software, your dentist will create a series of aligner trays. You will wear each tray for one to two weeks before moving on to the next tray in the series. Each tray will gently nudge your teeth toward their optimal positions. Better yet, the aligners are removable, so you can take them out when eating or during oral care.
Enamel shaping—which is also known as teeth shaping—is a process through which your dentist can contour your enamel, which is the hard outer layer of your teeth. When a tooth is too long or some teeth are slightly uneven or crowded, tooth shaping is often an effective and relatively simple way to fix the issue. The procedure usually causes no discomfort and delivers immediate results. Often, enamel shaping and dental bonding are used in combination to achieve a particular shape.
Dental bonding can be used to correct a wide range of smile imperfections. The composite resin used is generally the same used for tooth-colored fillings, and your dentist can adjust the color so that it matches your natural teeth exactly. The composite material is moldable, which means that with a fine artistic touch, your dentist can achieve any shape. Once the desired shape is achieved, your dentist will polish it so that the line between the bonding material and the natural tooth is imperceptible.
Your dentist may recommend dental bonding to correct discoloration that cannot be whitened as well as teeth that have been chipped or otherwise damaged. It can be used to adjust length, shape, and position and correct teeth that formed crooked, overlapped, or in other irregular ways. That may seem similar to dental veneers, and it is. The advantage of bonding is that it is less expensive. The disadvantage is that it does not last as long as veneers. For a smile makeover, your dentist may recommend it for those small fixes where a veneer or other restoration may be overkill.
Tooth-colored fillings are dental fillings using resin rather than metal. The advantage is that the composite material can be colored to your natural teeth and will be imperceptible after being polished. This makes them ideal for fillings in visible teeth, and they result in less teeth sensitivity for many patients. A downside, however, is that they can be stained and do not respond to whitening like natural teeth, so a patient must be vigilant in their oral care at home in order to avoid discoloration. If you currently have an amalgam filling in a visible area, it can be replaced with a tooth-colored filling.
If a tooth requires a more dramatic cosmetic change than is possible with a veneer, dental crowns are an option. Your dentist may also advise a crown when a tooth has been structurally compromised, and if you get dental implants, a crown is what will be placed atop the implant to replace your tooth. Also called caps, crowns are custom-made oral restorations. Your dentist will use sophisticated software to ensure that the crown is the perfect shape, size, and color. To accommodate a crown, your dentist must remove the outer part of your tooth or at least what remains of it. This is a relatively fast and discomfort-free process, however, and it is even possible now to get a crown in just a single visit.
Transform Your Smile
Whether you need some minor adjustments or major corrections, there are various treatment options available. You can choose the best procedures for you, and Jeffrey D. Clark, DDS, will plan them so that they synergize for a smile you will love. Dr. Clark will work closely with you throughout the process. He will answer your questions, explore your options, and assist you in making the best choices for you. If you need restorative dental care as well, Dr. Clark can weave that into your smile makeover plan.
A smile makeover will not just enhance your appearance but bolster your self-esteem, and your new smile can last a lifetime. For this reason, it is crucial that you choose a caring and experienced dental team that embraces the artistic aspect of this process. Dr. Clark is committed to innovative dental procedures and technologies, but he also appreciates that smile makeovers are as much art as science. Dr. Clark and his entire team at Scottsdale Cosmetic Dentistry Excellence will work diligently to achieve your perfect smile. Call us today at 480 585 1853 to schedule your smile makeover consultation.