What is the smile makeover process?

This is usually performed in two stages, although it depends on the amount of work to be done.

First stage

The first stage consists of the initial consultation. This includes a detailed discussion with the dentist about your needs and wishes, as well as an assessment of your oral health.

This is also the diagnostic stage: your dentist will use digital imaging or an ‘IntraOral’ camera to enable him/her to decide which teeth to treat and with what method.

The advantage of digital imaging is that it allows you to use computer technology to ‘design’ your ideal smile. This is where you get the chance to edit your smile into the one you particularly want.

Another part of the consultation involves the dentist taking an ‘impression’ or mould of your teeth. This impression takes the form of a wax model which is then sent to a dental laboratory for casting. The lab will make a cast, either from plaster or some other material which is, in effect, a 3D representation of your teeth.

This model can be used as a template for temporary crowns or veneers. This enables you to experience your smile makeover on a trial basis to see what you think. If there are any aspects that you are not happy with then these can be changed before the final fitting.

Second stage

This is the actual treatment stage, which can involve a range of techniques, such as veneers, implants, Invisalign braces, bonding, new fillings, gum contouring and teeth whitening.

So, what does each treatment involve?

  • Dental implants: these are small, thin, metal rods which are designed to act as a replacement for a tooth root. If you have lost one or many teeth or have badly damaged teeth then implants are a good choice.

    If you need several teeth replacing then your dentist will fit a bridge or a denture. Both of these look and behave in exactly the same way as your natural teeth.

    To learn more visit our Dental Implants or Dentures section.

  • Invisalign braces: a brace is a corrective device, used to straighten crooked teeth. The difference between these and traditional metal braces is that Invisalign are transparent which means they are practically invisible. Often referred to as ‘invisible braces’.

    This can be combined with porcelain veneers although it will take longer, mainly due to the fact that your teeth have to be prepared for veneers.

    To learn more visit our Orthodontics section.

  • Porcelain veneers: often referred to as ‘laminates’, these are paper thin shells which fit over the front of your teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers can be made from porcelain (the most popular), ceramic or ‘composite bonding’.

    These can be used to treat damaged, chipped, broken or crooked teeth.

    To learn more visit our Dental Veneers section.

  • Orthodontics: braces such as Invisalign, Damon, Inman aligner, lingual and fixed are all good at moving teeth closer together to close any unsightly gaps.
  • Laser gum contouring: if you feel that you show too much gum when smiling then your dentist can use a laser to trim any excess gum (too much gum on show). This laser minimises any bleeding and is both safe and effective.

    If you have a large amount of gum to be removed then your dentist may also trim the tooth root to prevent further growth and aid with healing.

  • Discoloured teeth: this is a problem for a vast number of people. We start off with ‘pearly whites’ but over time, food, drink, smoking and other external factors take their toll and result in stained teeth.

    Porcelain veneers can help as can teeth whitening. There are home kits available for this purpose but it is far better to have a professional job done. There are different ways of doing this which depend on the severity of the staining.

    To learn more visit our Teeth Whitening section.

  • Composite bonding: this is very similar to the veneers procedure. A dental composite is a flexible material, with a ‘paste like’ quality which can be applied to the tooth to be treated. This is then exposed to a special light source which causes it to set and so harden.

    This can be applied in a single or several layers. Once this has done so it is polished until it reaches the desired shape and appearance.

    There is the option of a ‘composite veneer’ although it is not as strong or stain resistant as a porcelain veneer.

  • Frown or smile lines: ‘laughter lines’ and furrows on the forehead are all signs of the ageing process. Other visible aspects include thinning lips and sunken cheeks.

    One answer is to inject Botulinum toxin into these lines which has the effect of smoothing out these lines as well as reducing the amount of facial muscle movement. It’s this movement by your facial muscles which is responsible for your lines and wrinkles.

    Another option is that of a dermal filler: this is a form of clear gel which when injected, has the effect of smoothing out lines and wrinkles. It can also be used to add volume to thin lips or sunken cheeks.

Depending on what your needs are, you can opt for a single technique or as many as you want. Your dentist will advise you as to what is required.

Basically, the more techniques you opt for the longer, and more costly it will become.

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