If you decide to have your teeth whitened, it's important that you do everything you can to maximize the longevity of your results.
Smile Makeover Treatment Planning and Preview
Your oral health must be evaluated before a cosmetic dentist develops a plan for your smile makeover. Your cosmetic dentist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, gums, underlying support structure and bite (occlusion) to determine candidacy for a smile makeover. If your evaluation reveals that you have an oral health problem such as a misaligned bite (malocclusion) or gum disease you will need to undergo treatment prior to your smile makeover.
Since treatment for a bad bite often involves most or all of the teeth, it is called a full mouth reconstruction. Although full mouth reconstruction may take more time, patients are usually very pleased with the resulting transformation, since aspects of the smile makeover (such as improving the appearance of your smile) can be part of the process.
Once your smile makeover can be treatment planned, other dental professionals may be involved in process. These professionals may include a dental laboratory technician, prosthodontist, endodontist, periodontist, orthodontist or an oral maxillofacial surgeon.
(Learn more about dental specialties)
Smile Makeover Preview
An integral part of a Smile Makeover process is the preview of potential results you evaluate before treatment begins. Cosmetic dentists incorporate a variety of dental technologies to show you the changes that you can expect to see in your smile.
For example, during your oral health evaluation for veneers and crowns, your cosmetic dentist may create a wax model mockup of temporary teeth to accurately communicate the requirements of your procedure to the dental lab technician. Temporaries and wax mockups also offer you a preview of the expected outcome to ensure that you are comfortable with the proposed treatment plan.
Other methods available for you to preview your smile makeover include the following:
Dental Imaging Software: Imaging technologies offer a preview of your smile makeover results. Your dentist may use imaging technology to communicate the specifications for your procedure to the dental lab technician or any other dental professionals involved in your treatment plan. However, a digital image only gives you an idea of what you might look like when the makeover is complete; it may not fully match your final results.
Before and After Photos: Before and after photos of other patients who have had smile makeovers offer examples of the results you may expect to see. The photos may also give you an idea of the quality of work performed by your cosmetic dentist.
Dental Study Models: Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and fill it with plaster to form an exact model of your teeth. The plaster can then be reshaped by trimming away excess areas or enlarging areas that require more volume. Dentists use study models to show you every aspect of the changes you can expect to see with your makeover. Dental lab technicians also use study models as guides for fabricating makeover materials like crowns or veneers.
Your dentist may work with a laboratory that incorporates digital technologies. In such instances your dentist may be able to use digital scans of your teeth, rather than traditional impressions, for use in making the models of your teeth and smile.
Dental Composite Bonding Mockup: Dental composite bonding may serve as a mockup of your smile makeover. The dentist can temporarily bond composite resin material to your teeth so you can fully visualize the impact of the procedure before treatment begins. In the case of veneers, dental composite bonding allows you to identify how comfortable you are with their look, feel and fit. Adjustments may be made until you are comfortable with the function and appearance of your new smile. Temporary mockups have no lasting impact on your teeth once they are removed.
Cost of Your Smile Makeover
The duration of treatment and cost of your smile makeover will vary depending on your dentist, your location, your level of dental insurance, the state of your oral health and the extent of your customized makeover plan.
(Read more about dental insurance coverage)
A smile makeover may take significantly longer if your dentist identifies any underlying oral health issues before beginning treatment. Although these restorative procedures may be covered in part by your dental insurance carrier, you will still pay more for treatment than someone with immaculate oral health.