Smile MakeOver

The most common is with Porcelain Veneers.  Porcelain Veneers are thin shells of porcelain that are applied to the fronts of front teeth. To do them right, a cosmetic dentist will probably shave a small amount of enamel from the fronts of your teeth and then bond on the porcelain with special bonding techniques that holds it so tightly, it almost becomes like an integral part of your tooth.

A Smile Makeover Is Art

One mistake people make is going to their family dentist or the dentist down the street for this type of work. In reality, only a small percentage of dentists are artistic enough to create a beautiful Smile Design. You need to understand that dentists tend to be technician-types. They chose dentistry as a profession because they like to fix things. And that is what they're taught in dental school. You break a tooth—a dentist fixes it.

To do a beautiful smile makeover, a dentist needs a passion for beauty and a personality that loves to create things of beauty. Only 1% or 2% of dentists have this artistic inclination. Those that do will pursue additional training after dental school to learn the skills necessary to create smiles - special bonding techniques, training in color manipulation, an understanding of the special materials that are used in this highly specialized area of dentistry.

And to make things more difficult for the consumer, cosmetic dentistry isn't a legally separate specialty. The view of the majority of dentists is that a smile makeover isn't a big deal and doesn't require special training. But it is and it does.

Smile Makeover Options

Here are different cosmetic dentistry techniques that can be used to give you a smile makeover:

• Porcelain Veneers, as explained above, is the most common method. A small amount of tooth structure is shaved from the front of your teeth, and then beautiful porcelain veneers are bonded to them, creating the shape, color, and alignment of teeth that you desire.

• Lumineers are a brand of porcelain veneers that are advertised heavily. They are promoted as not requiring any tooth reduction beforehand. However, other brands of porcelain veneers can also be placed without any tooth reduction. Lumineers are a tiny bit thinner than other brands: 0.3 millimeter instead of 0.5, so they do lend themselves more easily to a no-preparation technique. But many Lumineers are also placed on prepared teeth. Read our Lumineer page for a full discussion of the pros and cons of this method.

• Tooth Whitening can be used just to lighten the teeth - if you're happy with their shape and position. You may also want to read about Laser Whitening.

• Invisalign is another smile makeover technique. With invisible braces, your teeth can be made straight. Many people combine this treatment with tooth whitening for a complete smile makeover.

• Some people want to have dental bonding used to create a new smile. While this can be cheaper than porcelain veneers, when dental bonding is used over a large area, it only looks good for a year or two. Compared to porcelain veneers, that can look good for ten or twenty years, dental bonding ends up being very expensive.


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