Smile Makeover: Reinvent Your Smile
A smile makeover is the process of improving the appearance of the smile through one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as:
Aesthetic Components of a Smile Makeover
In addition to the color, alignment and balance of your teeth in the aesthetic zone of your smile (the section of upper and lower teeth that show when you smile), there are several attributes of your teeth and smile that your cosmetic dentist will evaluate with you when planning your makeover. These include:
Tooth Length: Long teeth lend a youthful appearance. Aging produces wear and tear that often results in shorter teeth, and a gummy smile also can make teeth appear shorter. A treatment for shorter teeth may include reshaping and lengthening the two front central teeth with composite bonding or porcelain veneers. If you have a gummy smile, your cosmetic dentist may provide treatment to modify the gum line and lengthen the appearance of the teeth using laser dentistry procedures. You may also be referred to a periodontist for crown lengthening if necessary.
Teeth lengthening may also impact your overall facial appearance. For example, shapely, long, square teeth on a round-faced individual can provide a slimming effect.
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 standard point of reference 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. Most people recognize a pleasing smile as one in which the two central front teeth are dominant and have a width-to-length ratio of 4-to-5. This proportion guides the length and width of other teeth in the aesthetic zone so that the smile line appears balanced.
Tooth Texture and Characterization: An artistic dentist can characterize your crowns or veneers to create a more feminine or a more masculine appearance, in addition to matching the look and feel of natural teeth or those you’ve seen in photographs.
Maintaining Your Results
Cosmetic dentistry procedures require regular oral hygiene care and may require maintenance over time. For example, teeth whitening must be repeated on occasion in order to maintain brightness. Porcelain veneers may chip or break off and need replacement. Permanent composite bonding may stain and require enhancement or replacement. Dental crowns typically require replacement after 10 to 15 years. Gummy smile improvements may also require enhancement over time.
Your ceramist, lab technician and the materials chosen by your dentist also impact the longevity of your smile makeover. To achieve the best results, take special care in selecting your cosmetic dentist and inquiring about your material options.
Your oral health must be evaluated before a cosmetic dentist develops a plan for your smile makeover. Your dentist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, gums, underlying support structure and bite (occlusion) to determine candidacy for a smile makeover. If your evaluation 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.
Cost of a Smile Makeover
The duration of treatment and cost of your smile makeover will vary depending on your dentist, your location, your level of dental insurance, the state of your oral health and the extent of your customized makeover plan.
Your treatment may be more expensive and take longer if your dentist identifies any underlying oral health issues before beginning treatment. Although these restorative procedures may be covered in part by your dental insurance carrier, you will still pay more for treatment than someone with immaculate oral health.
Maintaining Your Results
Knowing how to modify your oral hygiene habits to best care for your restorations will help you maintain your new smile for years to come.
Highly abrasive toothpastes and tooth brushing habits can scratch the surface of restorations, dulling their polish and luster. As such, non-abrasive fluoride toothpastes are recommended. An example of non-abrasive toothpastes is Rembrandt, which was originally developed for use by people with cosmetic restorations. Brush two-to-three times each day for maximum effectiveness.
Flossing is a key factor in removing debris and plaque from the teeth, and actually increases the lifespan of restorations and helps prevent tooth decay. Flossing is important for everyone, but is especially important for people with veneers, since impeccable gum tissue health is important.
Mouthwashes containing alcohol have been shown to have a negative effect on composite fillings. What’s more, the alcohol content in mouth rinses, over time, can degrade the bond between your restorations (crowns and veneers) and your teeth. Use alcohol-free mouthwashes instead.