Smile Makeovers

By: Patricia Woloch
A makeover, whether it's of a house, a wardrobe, or a smile, is a series of enhancements and changes which create a whole new look. For best results makeovers need to be done according to a well-thought-out plan, rather than being a collection of impulsive improvements which may or may not add up to a coherent statement at the end.

For a good smile makeover, you need to choose a good cosmetic dentist - one with excellent training and long experience. A dentist who has completed the Pacific Aesthetic Continuum (PAClive) post-graduate professional training is well equipped to evaluate your entire face, personality, coloring, and smile. Such a well-informed and well-practiced cosmetic dentist can plan just the right group of procedures for you, done in the right order, so that your smile will be made over to look natural and characteristic of you.

Possible Components of a Smile Makeover

Before any procedures were begun, you and your aesthetic dentist would discuss the possibilities. Any budget or timeframe you must adhere to would be taken into account. Your dentist would explain what each possible procedure could offer, and how that would complement other procedures.

1. Tooth Whitening

You would probably want to do this first. Why? Because any restorations you might have would be done with dental porcelain, which does not respond to tooth whitening. The shade of porcelain used would be matched to your natural tooth color though. That means that you need to set your new white color first, so the porcelain can be matched to that.

2. Porcelain Veneers

These are thin covers for the front surfaces of front teeth. They can be done on either upper or lower teeth, or both. They can correct many small defects such as slight crookedness, small gaps between teeth, somewhat mis-matched sizing, small chips and cracks, and any staining that did not respond to tooth whitening.

3. White Fillings

If you have any old metal fillings, you know how unsightly they look. White fillings can be done with either porcelain or white dental composite, and either way they can replace those gray metal fillings. Porcelain fillings tend to last longer but cost more than composite fillings. Porcelain also more closely resembles tooth enamel in the way it shines and reflects light. You could choose one method or the other depending on where the fillings are located.

4. Porcelain Crowns

Gold crowns are durable and strong, but in no way resemble teeth. You can have them replaced with glossy white porcelain crowns so the teeth will look absolutely natural and still be strong and durable. Some porcelain crowns have a metal lining for added strength, but the downside of this is that as we age and the gums start to recede a bit, the lining shows as a black streak at the gumline. Alternatively, you could have all-porcelain crowns which have a lining of a second kind of porcelain. These cost a little more but no dark lines will appear.

5. Dental Implants

If you have any missing teeth, they need to be replaced for the sake of your dental health. This can be done as part of an aesthetic smile makeover. The implant is positioned in the jawbone, allowed to heal, and then a porcelain tooth is attached to the top of the implant. This gives you both a new tooth and a new root to hold it firmly in place.

There are other possible components for your smile makeover, such as laser gum recontouring to treat a gummy smile, and laser tooth recontouring to correct slightly mis-shapen teeth. Discussions with your aesthetic dentist will determine which procedures will give you the results you want. Be sure you choose a properly-qualified cosmetic dentist, rather than your local dentist who offers a few cosmetic items on the side. Designing a smile makeover requires good post-graduate dental training. If you take care of that initial step, your well-chosen aesthetic dentist will do the rest.

Dental Surgery
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