The smile is the focal point of the face. A smile is typically the start of all positive human interaction. When a person has a beautiful smile, it encourages confidence, likeability, and positive conversation.
And here’s where it gets interesting. In a landmark study, a group of scientists studied brain activity of study participants. The study found a positive reward stimulus when a viewer perceives an attractive smile directed at them. Now that could mean alot of things, but they way I interpret it: an attractive smile can have a positive effect on shaping the environment that surrounds you.
Although everyone wants a beautiful smile, even individuals who follow great dental hygiene and maintenance, may still not be satisfied with certain attributes of their smile. A feeling of lack of confidence to smile inhibits the positive facial expression and disrupts communication if the person is subconsciously attempting to manipulate their facial movements to detract from the perceived flaws of their smile. A smile makeover with an expert cosmetic dentist can eliminate all these concerns. A smile makeover can help people feel more secure and confident to share their personality in public, interviews, or social gatherings.
What Can a Smile Makeover Help?
When most people think of a dentist, they think of the typical general dentist—cleanings, simple fillings, whitening, etc. However, an expert cosmetic dentist focuses on redefining your smile to achieve goals you may have to improve the cosmetics and health. A smile makeover is less of a specific treatment and more of a treatment plan designed to incorporate multiple cosmetic dentistry procedures. A smile makeover plan is based on your specific goals to give you the perfect Hollywood smile. Some of the common concerns people have about their smile are:
Dark or yellow teeth is one of the most noticeable flaws of a smile, but one of the easiest to improve. Teeth staining can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic discoloration is internal to the tooth and is how the tooth develops genetically. The staining is not from what we eat or drink, it’s from elements we were exposed to during development such as fever during tooth development, excessive fluoride, lack of fluoride, history of root canals, or developmental conditions such as amelogenesis imperfecta or dentinogenesis imperfecta. Intrinsic staining is best treated by bonding, dental crowns, or porcelain veneers. Extrinsic staining is staining that is on the surface of the teeth from thinks we eat, drink, or are exposed to like coffee, tea, or cigarettes. Extrinsic staining is typically treated well by dental cleanings and in-office whitening procedures like Zoom. These problems can dampen the glow of your smile. A lightening of the color of the smile can make a dramatic impact on how the smile is aesthetically perceived.
Teeth Crowding or Gapped Teeth
Dental crowding and gaps make a significant impact on the symmetry of the smile. When the lines of the teeth are not symmetrical, it draws attention away from the harmony of the rest of the face. Crowding is particularly important to correct for its health impact. When the teeth are crowded, bacteria collect more aggressively in the nooks and crannies of the teeth. Crowding makes flossing and cleaning more difficult which overtime increases the risk for gum inflammation and bone loss. Crowded teeth or gapped teeth can be corrected by dental veneers or by orthodontics such as Invisalign.
Have you ever played the children’s game, “which is not like the rest?” That’s missing teeth. Even if someone has a perfect smile, but is missing one tooth towards the back, it can negatively impact the aesthetics of the entire smile. Humans are designed to notice things that are out of place before noticing the things that are nicely organized. Therefore, missing even one tooth can completely affect the beauty of a smile. By restoring a missing tooth with an implant or bridge, it can have a significant impact on the beauty of the entire smile. Long term, there are also significant effects when restoring missing teeth. Missing teeth over years can cause the teeth adjacent and the teeth above to shift which begins a snowball effect of misalignment to the rest of the smile. When you compare patients who are missing one tooth from one decade to the next, the results are a drastic effect to the alignment and jaw position. The process is deceiving though. The effect happens so slowly it is unnoticeable, but it equates to a significant change over time.
Almost everyone chips a tooth at some point in their life. When chips and fractures are large enough or are numerous, the beauty of the smile can begin to be distorted. Like a new car that accumulates bumps and scratches, some simple work can restore it to like-new quality. Chipped and fractured teeth can be restored by composite bonding, porcelain veneers, or dental crowns. These procedures can even enhance your teeth to look better than before the tooth fractured.
A gummy smile is one of the most powerful impacts on patients’ self-confidence. Patients with a severely gummy smile have often been self-conscious about their smile for years. A gummy smile has an enormous impact on the beauty of the smile because it affects more than the smile. When a smile shows excessive gum it disrupts the overall proportions of the facial beauty. The smile appears lower on the face than ideal which gives the illusion that the midface is longer than ideal. By adjusting the gum show by either a gingivectomy, crown lengthening, or lip-lowering vestibuloplasty, there is a tremendous impact on the smile aesthetics as well as the overall harmony of the face.
What Procedures Are Part of a Smile Makeover?
A smile makeover is a treatment plan designed to improve smile aesthetics to achieve the patient’s goals. The plan can be simple or complex based on the patient’s needs. Sometimes a small procedure can have a huge impact on the overall cosmetics of the small, and other times the patient requires a more elaborate series of procedures to achieve the desired result. The cosmetics of the smile makeover also follow the principles of health. Therefore, someone improving the aesthetics by a smile makeover will also have the health of their teeth and gums increased as well. Some common procedures involved in a smile makeover are:
Dental bonding helps to improve chips, gaps, and fractures of teeth. The procedure is a simple fix typically completed in one visit that can enhance the appearance of the overall smile. Dental composite bonding involves adjusting the shape of the fractured tooth to achieve a solid foundation. White composite resin is then added and sculpted to the tooth. The final restoration will restore the contours and color of the natural tooth. It is important to note that dental bonding has limitations in the amount of size a chip it can appropriately correct. Once a fractured tooth reaches a certain side, a crown or veneer is better suited to achieve the ideal shape and long-term longevity of the restoration.
When a patient requests minor leveling of the teeth or adjustment of the length of the teeth, tooth recontouring is a good option. The cosmetic dentist can simulate a before and after of the teeth before adjustment to ensure the result is what the patient had in mind. The teeth are then lightly reshaped to improve the leveling of the teeth, uneven edges, or rounding corners that appear too square. Smoothening the sharp edges of crooked teeth provides for a straighter smile, making the teeth appear more symmetrical and more youthful.
Dental Veneers and Crowns
When the teeth have large fractures or wear, they are better suited for dental veneers or crowns to restore them. The process can simultaneously secure the broken area of the tooth, improve the color, and improve the alignment…all at the same time. When a patient requires several crowns or dental veneers, the cosmetic dentist typically will create a model of the patient’s mouth and work up exactly how the new smile will appear. The patient can review how the shape and alignment will change before any work on the teeth themselves. Crowns and dental veneers can have a powerful impact on the overall aesthetics of the teeth and typically last for a lifespan of 10-20 years before requiring potential replacement. The appearance of dental crowns and porcelain veneers is very similar aesthetically, the indication for dental crowns is when the back of the tooth is worn or fractured in addition to the front of the tooth. When only the front of the tooth requires improvement, then a porcelain veneer is the ideal choice.
When a patient is missing one or more teeth, dental implants are the most natural solution to restore cosmetics and function. A dental implant replicates the root of a natural tooth. The way dental implants work is the missing tooth is removed. Depending on the status of the gums and the bone, the site is either grafted with particles of minerals to allow the site to heal for 3-4 months, or the implant may be placed directly into the site at the time of extraction. After the implant heals in the bone of the mouth, it can then function just as a natural root of a tooth. The dental implant can then support a crown that looks and functions like a natural tooth, or the implant can support a bridge or removable denture if several teeth are needed to replace. Generally, the process of a dental implant takes approximately 4-9 months to complete depending on the status of the bone initially in the site of the missing tooth.
Gum Lift and Lip-lowering Procedure
A gummy smile is one of the most powerful of all the cosmetic conditions emotionally. Patients that have gummy smile often try to cover up an otherwise beautiful smile for years. Restructuring the gum line to expose more tooth structure has a dramatic impact on the symmetry and beauty of the smile as well as the rest of the face. There are two primary procedures that correct a gummy smile—a gingivectomy and a reverse vestibuloplasty lip lowering procedure. The gingivectomy involves the removal of excess gum tissue typically by sculpting the gum line with a laser or a scalpel. Healing is typically 1-2 days and heals with minimal post-op recovery. The complication most common is that occasional the gums may grow back and require adjustment at a second procedure. A lip-repositioning procedure is indicated when the gummy smile is created because the lip is raising excessively upon smiling. The reverse vestibuloplasty is a procedure that removed a band of tissue from under the lip and repositions the lip at a lower position when smiling. The procedure typically healing in 3-5 days, but the patient is instructed to limit smiling for 3-4 weeks after the procedure. When done by a clinician experienced in the procedure, a reverse vestibuloplasty typically heals with minimal complications. The most common complication is a relapse of the gummy smile caused during healing if the stitches loosen or if the patient strains the stitches during healing. When done by an expert cosmetic dentist with experience in gum lift procedures, a gingivectomy and lip lowering procedure can produce permanent and stunning results for overall facial beauty.
Contact us today to get your smile makeover!
Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction is a cosmetic dentist in the Boston area. Dr. Charles Sutera is a national leader in smile makeovers with porcelain veneers and full mouth reconstructions. His practice is unique due to renowned expertise in facial aesthetics, TMJ function, and board certification in IV sedation. Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction has treated public figures, celebrities, and professionals, which is why it is known as a Dentist of the Stars. Visit their website to view before and after photos.