A smile makeover goes beyond simply responding to dental problems as they arise. It’s a comprehensive smile-rejuvenation plan that’s uniquely suited to your own facial features and aesthetic preferences. The results can be quite dramatic — both in terms of how you will look and how you will feel. These are the major steps involved:
Take a look. The makeover process is all about giving you the smile of your dreams. So, take a good look at your smile and note what you like and don’t like about it. Some questions you can ask yourself are:
What do you like or dislike about the color, size, shape and spacing of your teeth?
Are your teeth as white as you’d like them to be? Do you want teeth that are a bright “Hollywood White,” or would you prefer a more natural look with slight color, shape and shade variations?
Are any teeth chipped, cracked or worn?
Does your smile have a gummy appearance? Are you pleased with how much your teeth show, both when you smile and when your lips are relaxed?
Do your teeth seem too large or small?
Do you like the alignment and spacing of your teeth?
Are you self-conscious about crookedness or gaps?
The most important job you have as a member of your own smile makeover team is to communicate exactly what you don’t like about your smile and how you’d like it to be different. Before the first consultation, give some thought to above questions.
Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder… and that’s you! Some people want their smile to look “perfect” — and to them, that means completely straight, uniformly white teeth. Others like a slightly more natural look, and are not displeased by slight gaps or shade variations. There are lots of decisions to make, but don’t worry — dentists are skilled at helping you sort it all out!
Share your thoughts. Communication is an extremely important part of the smile makeover process. At the first makeover consultation, it helps if you describe what you would like to change in as much detail as possible. Bring along pictures of smiles you like, or of how your own smile used to look. Your makeover dentist will have some thoughts to share with you as well because dentists are trained to look at smiles in terms of facial balance. In other words, a dentist will look not only at how the elements of a smile (teeth, lips, and gums) relate to each other but also how they blend in with the face as a whole.
Make a plan. An important part of planning a smile makeover is a comprehensive dental exam. Cosmetic dentistry offers an amazing array of lifelike tooth restorations and treatments; but first, any conditions in your mouth that may jeopardize a good result must be taken care of. If your teeth are discolored, for example, the reason must be determined. You may have an underlying dental disease that needs to be treated before whitening your teeth; otherwise, the whitening may not last. Likewise, if you often drink red wine or other beverages that stain, you might do better with porcelain veneers than bleaching treatments.
Try it out. A smile makeover is an investment that is meant to last. That’s why many of the procedures performed are irreversible. So if you are contemplating some changes, it’s a great idea to try them out before you fully commit to them. There are many ways to preview the results: computer imaging, 3-D models, and even placing temporary restorations on your teeth so you can see what the final results will look and feel like in your own mouth. This also allows a fine-tuning of the makeover plan.
A “trial smile” is a great way to eliminate unknowns in the makeover process. But when it’s all done, there’s still one thing you may not be prepared for: how great it feels to flash your new smile to the world!