Your Complete Guide to Smile Makeovers
We round up 5 ways and 10 procedures to fix everything from crooked, chipped, and stained teeth to uneven gum lines, so that you can create your ideal smile.
What will it take to perfect your smile? The world of aesthetic dentistry offers a mindboggling array of treatments and procedures, so we’ve tidied things up into five main categories (straighten, conceal, replace, contour, and whiten) and weighed in on 10 different procedures. 😉
If you suffer from crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, teeth-straightening treatments like Invisalign and traditional braces deserve to be high on your priority list. Good ol’ vanity aside, a straight smile is also a healthier smile, so it’s worthwhile investing the time and money to get your teeth fixed for good.
For most cases of crooked teeth, Invisalign and braces are equally effective. The choice really boils down to lifestyle vs cost. Invisalign is an excellent option if you are hesitant about compromising on your lifestyle. With its virtually invisible aligners, you’ll be able to straighten your teeth without anyone knowing, do away with nicks and cuts in your mouth, and still enjoy your favourite food. Dental visits are also less frequent. In comparison, braces (whether metal, self-ligating or ceramic ones) are a more economical but less lifestyle- friendly option.
If you have minor issues with the appearance of your front teeth, veneers or dental bonding may be a viable option. These ‘surface fixes’ are able to hide gaps and conceal chipped, misshapen, mildly crooked, or badly stained teeth. But, because these procedures do not involve moving your teeth, they are unable to correct your bite or offer a permanent solution.
With porcelain veneers, a thin cover (or laminate) is custom made to fit over your teeth. With dental bonding, a composite resin is moulded and adhered to your teeth. The underlying concept is pretty similar and, with today’s technology, both are able to achieve a natural look with minimal discomfort. In terms of strength and durability, however, veneers have an edge over dental bonding.
A badly decayed, broken, or missing tooth calls for a replacement. Unlike veneers and dental bonding, which sit on the outer surface of your tooth, crowns cover your entire tooth. They are necessary when the tooth enamel is cracked, decayed or broken. Crowns are permanent fixtures that can also be used to protect a weak tooth from breaking.
While crowns take care of the visible part of your tooth, implants handle the root. In cases of missing teeth, a dental implant is used as a substitute for the root of your tooth, so that a crown or denture can be mounted on it. When replacing smaller teeth or as a temporary measure, mini dental implants are also feasible. These are about half the size of a regular implant and do not fuse to the jaw bone, but they are more patient (and wallet) friendly.
For teeth that are too long, too large, or uneven in appearance, consider tooth contouring. This procedure reshapes your teeth, whether in length or shape, and can also be used to improve the appearance of certain types of crooked, chipped or cracked teeth. Compared to temporary concealment techniques like veneers and dental bonding, tooth contouring involves the removal of some of your tooth enamel to achieve the look that you want. It’s permanent, and enamel doesn’t grow back, so it’s important to entrust this to a qualified dentist.
The idea of contouring can also be applied to your gum line. If your gummy smile makes you frown, check out gum contouring. In this procedure, you are trimming away excess gum to create a better visual balance of tooth and gum. This also works well for uneven gum lines.
For your smile to sparkle, your teeth have to sparkle first. If you notice white or brown spots on your teeth, there’s a high chance it’s due to fluorosis. In that case, you’ll need stain removal polishing. Don’t attempt to skip this step and go straight for dental whitening because fluorosis stains and yellowing are two different issues. Dental whitening won’t remove fluorosis stains. What you need is stain removal polishing where a microabrasion is applied to buff away the spots. In comparison, dental whitening achieves an overall lightening of the tooth colour.
Of the many whitening treatment options available, perhaps most notable would be the chairside whitening, which is performed by a qualified dentist who is licensed to use stronger concentrations of the whitening agent since they have been trained on proper usage methods. Dentists can also use LED lights and laser technology to achieve better results in a shorter time.
Need a summary checklist for your own reference? Look no further!
Now that you understand the options available, it’s time to get a professional opinion to help assess your smile and propose the right treatments. Make an appointment today and turn your ideal smile into a reality!