FAQs

Cosmetic dentistry is a term that is broadly used by all dentists as it can range from a single white filling to a whole smile makeover. While all dentists can do simple cosmetic procedures such as white fillings and even white crowns, doing a whole mouth reconstruction or even a smile makeover involves more complex procedures. These complex treatments are not taught in undergraduate courses and require special training. An appropriately qualified cosmetic dentist will have training in the latest materials, bonding methods, and techniques. They will know and understand the materials and practices that give maximum strength and aesthetics for your procedure. Be aware however that there are different levels of training that can be obtained – from one-day workshops to comprehensive courses run by the top dentistry schools in the world.

Before and after photos of your dentist’s work will give you an example of what you can expect from your resulting smile. It will help to prepare you for the end product of the procedure. Ask your dentist to show you before smiles that are similar to yourself and get them to walk you through the process of what needs to be done to correct the problems. For example, if you have crooked teeth, a ‘gummy’ smile, worn teeth, or broken down teeth, ask about what options you have. Sometimes there are multiple ways of achieving a result as well, so ask them to give you all of the options available.

The lab and materials your dentist chooses is critical to the success and result of your new smile. The lab technicians, like the dentist, should be trained in cosmetic dentistry.  This is so that they can achieve the ideal result by understanding things like how to blend the necks of the veneers to the necks of the teeth. They should also have an eye and attention to detail, as creating these smiles is more than just getting the right fit. It’s an artistic talent, as they aim to recreate a natural smile that incorporates translucency, texture, light reflection, and colours.

Both you and your dentist should work together to design your new smile. You may want a whole new look, or you may be inclined to incorporate elements of your old smile. There are many different options when it comes to the styling of your teeth. For example, you may want to change the shape of your teeth. You can have squarer teeth for a more chiselled look, or more rounded teeth for a softer shape. You can even consider having a contoured, shapely smile over something flatter. The law of golden proportions (or the golden ratio) is also used for designing your smile. Your dentist should be able to measure your facial and teeth proportions to work out the most suitable size and length of teeth for you. There are plenty of considerations that are taken when designing a smile. Some of the questions that you must ask yourself, and your dentist will ask is:

  • Are your gum heights symmetrical?
  • Does your smile slope down on one side?
  • Does your midline of your smile line up with the middle of your face?
  • Does the shape of your smile follow your lower lip smile line?
  • How many teeth do you show when you smile?
  • Do you have a wide smile or a narrow smile?
  • Do you show enough tooth?
  • Are you too gummy?

Do your teeth angle or slope the right way?

Many are concerned that they may dislike the results of their treatment, or perhaps they cannot picture what it would look like. Most dentists will provide a mock-up of the smile that you and your dentist have designed. This can be put directly onto models of your mouth so that you will be able to see how it will all look. If you like the appearance and want to go on, then the next stage of the trial will involve a temporary mock up in resin form that can be placed in your mouth. You’ll be able to see how your new smile sits in relation to your lips, smile lines, the length of teeth, speech, symmetry, proportion and any final adjustments. After this, the final restorations can be constructed with absolute clarity. This way, the results will be accurate, and you won’t get any unwelcome surprises.

There are many factors that affect the longevity of your smile. It’s important to remember that biological factors such as diet and decay can still affect teeth under cosmetic dentistry. Your teeth may also be affected by grinding or clenching which can damage your smile. These are risk factors that should be discussed in your diagnosis appointment, and your dentist will need to address how to protect your new smile during treatment. Of course, you’ll need to take care of your teeth as you normally would. Although porcelain does not stain, your natural teeth will. Correct oral hygiene is also important as the foundations of your smile are your gums. Keeping them healthy and clean is necessary to ensure the longevity of your new smile. Other factors that can affect durability include the materials your smile is made of, the bonding techniques employed, and the precision to which these are carried out. You should ask your dentist the average success rate of such cosmetic treatments. Current research shows that most cosmetic treatments will last between 12 and 15 years.

Generally speaking, most clients will have no trouble or change in their speech or eating. In fact, many will experience improvements in their eating. As the new smile is made to fit opposing teeth, they will no longer have the issue of misaligned or broken down teeth. For people who have gaps closed up, they may have to learn how to articulate ‘S’ sounds differently. For people who have ‘F’ and ‘V’ difficulties, that usually means their teeth are too long and need to be adjusted in the trial mock-up stage. As for lisps, they are usually formed when the teeth are too thick. Ensure that your dentist knows how to correct these problems so that they no longer cause you issues.

While your final cosmetics are being made you will be provided with temporaries that will mimic your final smile. The temporaries will allow you to assess and correct any issues such as speech changes, tooth length, smile line, symmetry, canting, shape, and size. It will also give you a good guide as to what you can expect from your final results.

There are various types of treatments used to fix dental issues. These range for non-invasive techniques such as snap on smile, to more complex procedures such as full crowns or implants. What is involved in the process is entirely dependent on the individual treatment. Make sure your dentist goes over all the options that are available and the results you can expect. For smile makeovers ask about snap on smiles, Lumineers, porcelain veneers, or crowns. For missing teeth, ask about implants compared to bridges. For crooked teeth ask about traditional braces in contrast with invisible braces or Invisalign. For those with ‘gummy’ smiles, you should ask about laser gum lifting versus traditional surgery.

First of all, it’s important to remember that this is very common – most people fear dental treatment. Especially major treatment such as a smile makeover. Fortunately, there are ways of undergoing treatment, while being blissfully unaware. Dentists may work with anaesthetists to provide sedation to clients. This is beneficial for those that have a fear of dental procedures, and also for those who wish to get more dental work done in less time.

Price is important, but make sure you compare apples to apples. Take into consideration the training of your dentist and their team, the level of experience and expertise, the dental artisans they use (beware of cheap overseas imitations), their guarantee, and the results that they can get for you.

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