Smile Makeovers: What do they involve?
A smile makeover is the process of improving the appearance of the smile through one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as:
Dental veneers and crowns
Some of the components that taken into consideration are your facial appearance, skin tone, hair colour, teeth (colour, width, length, shape and tooth display), gum tissue and lips. Smile makeovers are performed for many reasons and customised according to your unique considerations.
What is it that you like or dislike about your smile or your teeth? Some aspects of your smile that your cosmetic dentist will review with you and that could be improved include the following:
Tooth Colour: Silver or amalgam dental fillings can be replaced with natural, tooth-coloured composite restorations, while teeth whitening can improve the colour of stained or dulled teeth.
Alignment and Spacing: Teeth that are crooked, overlapping or have gaps between them can be straightened and aligned when necessary through orthodontics or clear braces such as Invisalign® or Clear Correct® and/or improved with Veneers/Dental Bonding.
Missing Teeth: Missing teeth can be replaced by dental implants, bridges or partial dentures.
Harmony and Balance: Uneven, chipped and cracked teeth can be cosmetically bonded with tooth coloured fillings (composite) to help improve the appearance.
Aesthetic Components of a Smile Makeover
In addition to the colour, the alignment and balance of your teeth are important to. When planning your makeover, several factors are taken into account. These include:
Tooth Length: A treatment for shorter teeth can include reshaping and lengthening the teeth with composite bonding or porcelain veneers. If you have a gummy smile, your cosmetic dentist will refer you to a periodontist for crown lengthening if necessary.
Smile Line: The smile line is an imaginary line that follows the edges of your upper teeth from side to side, which ideally should be the same as the curve of your lower lip when you smile. This is the standard point of reference that may be used to help determine how long your new teeth should be.
Tooth Proportions: Your cosmetic dentist will examine your teeth to determine if they are in correct proportion with each other as a short tooth can make the other teeth look bigger then what they are.
Cost of a Smile Makeover
The duration of treatment and cost of your smile makeover will vary depending on your dentist, the state of your oral health and the extent of your makeover plan. Your treatment may be more expensive and take longer if your dentist identifies any underlying oral health issues before treatment begins.
Maintaining Your Results
With proper care and regular dental visits, your smile make over will continue to look good and your crowns, veneers and other restorations will last for many years. Tooth-coloured fillings can last anywhere from three to nine years or longer with proper care. Porcelain restorations can last 10 years or more before they may need to be replaced.
Abrasive toothpastes and tooth brushing habits can scratch the surface of restorations; this dulls their polish and lustre. Non-abrasive fluoride toothpastes are recommended. Brushing two-to-three times each day is best recommended. Flossing and using interdental brushes (Tepe) is important for everyone, but is especially important for people with veneers and crowns since impeccable gum tissue health is important. It is best to use alcohol-free mouthwashes instead of alcohol based ones at a separate time to brushing to maximise the benefit of the fluoride content.
Cosmetic dentistry procedures require regular oral hygiene care and may require maintenance over time. For example, teeth whitening may need to be repeated on occasion in order to maintain brightness. Porcelain veneers could chip or break off and need replacement. Permanent composite bonding may stain and require replacement. Dental crowns typically require replacement after 10 to 15 years.
Your oral health must be evaluated before a cosmetic dentist develops a plan for your smile makeover. Your dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your teeth, gums, underlying support structure and bite (occlusion) to determine candidacy for a smile makeover. If your examination reveals that you have an oral health problem – such as a misaligned bite (malocclusion) or gum disease – you will need to have that taken care of first.
Avoid foods high in sugar and limit between-meal snacks to prevent cavities. Limit consumption of coffee, fizzy drinks, tea, etc. to keep your smile stain free.
Do not drink alcoholic beverages excessively. Too much alcohol can ruin your dental work as it is acidic.
Refrain from biting, chewing and placing hard objects such as pens, keys, etc. as these can chip and damage the restorations.
If you grind your teeth (bruxism) you may be given a night guard to wear as part of you treatment to protect the teeth.
Although cosmetic dental restorations are not indestructible and will eventually need to be replaced (five to seven years for composite; 10 to 15 years for porcelain), the life of your new smile depends as much on how well you take care of it as on the skill and talent of your cosmetic dentist.
Follow your dentist's instructions to ensure the long-term beauty of your new smile, and be sure to keep all follow-up and regular cleaning appointments with your dentist and hygienist.