For those of us who remember the weekly television program, “Extreme Makeover” (on ABC network from 2003-2007), two individuals were taken through life-changing appearance makeovers. Their journies often included a combination of plastic surgery, cosmetic/restorative dentistry, fitness programs, hair styling, wardrobing, etc.
After following the individuals through their esthetic transformations, the results of each were presented to friends and family members in the final minutes of the program.
However, an interesting thing occurred in the first season. The reality show’s producers noticed that the makeover volunteers who ‘transformed’ the most were those who had the greatest need for cosmetic dentistry. Thus, the choice of participants became those who had that change as a significant need, over the need for other changes such as weight loss or plastic surgery.
As a dentist, this is no surprise. Our smiles are front-&-center in our faces. The look of a smile can have a significant impact on not only our facial appearance, but how we feel about our appearance from the inside out. It makes sense that, since the appearance of a smile can send a message to others, it relays a message back to us every time we look in the mirror or see a photo of ourselves.
Cosmetic dentistry (in the right hands) can balance facial features, brighten up an entire face, and boost confidence and self-esteem. Too, having a beautiful smile inspires people to smile more often. This projects an impression to others of an upbeat, positive individual.
Research has shown that smiling often adds to an average lifespan. Smiling also activates endorphins — a ‘natural high’ brain chemical. This causes you to feel happier, even when you smile and don’t feel like smiling!
While very few of us were born with a beautiful smile, today’s cosmetic dentistry makes having one possible. There are a number of procedures that can repair flaws in a smile, including stained teeth, chipped or broken teeth, crooked teeth and uneven gum tissues.
Below are common ways that cosmetic dentistry can correct smile flaws:
• Mis-shapen or crooked teeth: For the most natural look, feel and longevity, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns are the superior solution. Porcelain is durable, reflects light as a natural tooth and resists staining more than other materials used in cosmetic dentistry.
• Misaligned or crowded teeth: While porcelain crowns can adjust some misalignment, realigning teeth into their proper positions may be recommended for more severe situations. We can do this with Invisalign, which uses clear molds to gently straighten teeth without wires or brackets. Invisalign is virtually undetectable in a smile and the molds can be removed for eating and brushing.
• Chipped or broken teeth: In some instances, bonding may be an option to repair and reshape natural teeth. Although bonding does not resist staining as well as porcelain, it can be completed in just one visit and is a less-expensive choice. In the process, a material is ‘painted on’ the tooth and then shaped and polished.
• Gapped teeth: When front teeth most visible in a smile are gapped, we recommend either the application of bonding materials or porcelain veneers, depending on the location and severity of the gap.
• Gummy smile: The term ‘gummy smile’ is used when too much gum tissue is revealed above teeth in a full smile. This is a genetic trait and certainly does not pose an oral health problem. However, some people with gummy smiles tend to ‘hold back’ when smiling. The procedure to correct a gummy smile is a Gingivectomy. In this, the gum tissues are reshaped to a higher level over teeth. In many cases, porcelain crowns are placed afterwards to protect the teeth involved in treatment and enhance overall smiling appearance. This is why the procedure is also known as Crown Lengthening.
• Whitening teeth: Although there are a number of whiteners on the market, those available through a dentist are the most effective. And, for the longevity and degree of whitening achieved, they are a bargain compared to the frequency needed and minimal results of drug store whitening kits. Ask about our take-home Opalescence whitening system (only $60!).
For those who desire cosmetic dentistry and feel a new smile is our of reach budget-wise, I encourage you to call 910-254-4555 to discuss treatment recommendations and associated costs. Our office also offers payment plans to help you enjoy your new smile while making easy monthly payments.
Most smile enhancements can be completed in just two visits — far less time than the six-weeks of “Extreme Makeover” participants! Let’s give you a new look that FEELS fabulous with a smile that you’ll share often! Call for a no-charge consultation.