A superficial smile simply does not exist. A smile is language. Body language. While written and spoken language can be superficial, there is often more substance behind a smile. It is your inner state of being that is being projected onto the world. Whether this is happiness, confidence, or simply that you are comfortable in your own skin. All people, no matter what language is spoken, feel the warmth that this brings. There is so much that cosmetic dentistry can offer, but there are some important things you need to know first.
It is not just about teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry is not about having a set of perfectly straight, white teeth. Those teeth need to have a context. It is about the entire face being in harmony. This means taking into consideration the facial profile, symmetry, and the 3-dimensional movements when someone smiles, talks, and laughs. Only then, does the focus shift towards the details to achieve that overall look. The factors of the alignment of the teeth, the amount of tooth/lip/gum display, facial proportion, and the size, shape, colour of the teeth all have an important role to play in how we perceive beauty.
It requires some planning.
Just like an architect designing a beautiful home, planning is the critical first step to achieving a cosmetic smile. It is about finding out what your expectations and goals are and finding a way to make it work. Planning can, in fact, be one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole process. It is where a vision can be translated into reality. Smile design methods combine artistic touches with calculated precision to deliver an overall smile that is not only natural, but also pleasing to the human eye. Digital Smile Design software is one of the latest advancements in Dentistry, and uses both video and photograph to digitally analyse and change the smile. This is where both you, and the dentist, are able to accurately visualise the predicted end result, before the work begins.
Foundations come first.
It is true for anything that is built. A solid foundation determines a solid outcome. Dentistry is no different. Like the man who built his house on sand, the teeth will loosen and drift if there is periodontal (gum) disease present. The structure of the walls will not hold up if there are holes in them. The same principle applies to tooth structure, if there is any pre-existing damage. Taking good care of what is already there precedes the ability to take good care of what is to come. A state of complete dental health is what forms the backbone of what can be achieved aesthetically.
It can take time.
This is where the ‘how’ comes in to play. It is the methods, techniques and procedures that are required to achieve the desired outcome. The ‘how’ is going to vary greatly from person to person. Sometimes treatment can be simple. It could be that the teeth just need to be whitened a few shades, or a front tooth needs to be repaired to achieve a beautiful result. However, in many cases, rapid does not give the best outcome in the long term. Sometimes the teeth need to be realigned with braces or aligners. Sometimes the bite needs to be changed or opened up to allow space for veneers. Sometimes specialists need to be involved. Depending on the complexity, it could take several stages of treatment over a time period of months, or, in some cases, even a couple of years, to achieve a desired end result.
It can be costly.
The art of re-designing a smile, and the skill of making it all work are consuming in so many ways, including financially. The potential cost of treatment is another reason why the initial planning stages are so important. With an end goal in mind, and an idea of what is possible, the reality is that the final planned treatment is going to be dictated by a budget. The way forward all lies in the ‘how’. Simple cases are going to cost less. Complex cases may require multiple stages of varied treatments and, correspondingly, carry a greater cost. This does not mean that a cosmetic result is not possible on a limited budget. It could be a case of planning to use plastic veneers instead of porcelain to bring the treatment cost down. The important thing is to never compromise on quality by cutting corners – your smile is too important for that!
A masterpiece needs to be treated with respect.
Nothing can compare to the feeling of being able to smile freely and without restraint. It doesn’t even matter whether complex dental work was done to achieve this feeling, or not. A smile is a masterpiece that should be treated with respect. Treatment complete means a clean slate. It is appreciating the smile that you have, enough to want to look after it and maintain it. And, it is the contentment of knowing that when you are projecting that smile onto the world, what people are seeing, is the very best in you.