Aside from a broken tooth, this is the most common concern that we hear. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take a million bucks to get your teeth looking better.
The first step is figuring out what you don’t like. You can call it a smile analysis, whatever, but usually something is bugging you. Here’s a list of common issues:
- Alignment (crookedness)
- Discolored fillings
- Jagged edges
From the doctor’s perspective, I try to determine what the eye is looking for and what the eye is seeing first:
For example, when you meet someone new, what do you see? Your first impressions may include smile, eyes, grooming, hair, clothes, shoes – you take it all in. But, if there is an obvious issue, like a dark tooth or a blemish, your eye will fix on it.
So, if your teeth are fairly symmetrical and approximately white, we have a good starting point. My goal is to have people look at your smile, think *nice smile*, and then look at your eyes (which are the key to everything). If your goal is a perfect smile ala Julia Roberts, I can help get you there, but it will come with a price (let’s be honest here!).
There are facial issues that can’t be changed: if you have small teeth and a big face, it may be hard to change that mismatch, but we can perhaps fool the eye and disguise it. Again, my goal is to create nicely aligned, white teeth that don’t take away from the eyes.
How do you get there?
We dentists have a ton of tools to achieve this. I usually will take a full set of photos and develop the plan using either photoshop or a marker pen. The more that I can plan in advance, the better. It’s my preference to leave natural tooth wherever possible. Sometimes an artificial covering like a crown or veneer is indicated. Sometimes, I can achieve what you want by re-shaping the teeth and using an effective bleach.
Here is a list of other issues/purchases that you should consider to make your teeth look great:
1) Get an electric toothbrush: The gums frame the teeth. If they aren’t healthy, that cue will be evident when you smile. As humans, we pick up on that and subconsciously can see the difference (coloration and swelling) between healthy and unhealthy gums.
2) Stop smoking and watch the red wine – consider backing off on tea also. These are the biggest stainers that we see. Not only do they stain your teeth, but they will stain the edge where your filling meets natural tooth. Having your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis is a must
3) Straight teeth that are prominent (they reflect light well) can go a long way. Braces and bleaching can help achieve this.
4) Nice contrast with skin (a tan) will make your teeth look whiter. If you are a strawberry blonde, it will take a lot more effort to get your teeth looking white than someone with dark skin. That’s because the teeth are close to your skin tone and have no contrast. Conversely, if you have dark skin, it’s easy to give you white teeth.
5) Replace discolored fillings – the white ones last about ten years (cosmetically – structurally they may be sound). Obviously, you need a dentist for this one!
6) Smooth the worn edges – Again – you need a dentist!
Regarding our replacements: They look great, BUT they require maintenance! Over time, there will be discoloration at the margins (edges) of crowns and veneers. So you really need to have an ongoing relationship with your dentist.
Lastly, there’s a believability factor. If you are 60, I can get your teeth to look like you are a twenty-year old and it will cost a lot of money. But after that is done, they will probably look fake. Sixty year olds can have nice teeth, but erasing 40 years is a tough sell. Going back to 45 or 50 is probably a better bet!