A smile makeover is a process of using one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures to improve the aesthetic of your smile. If you are feeling a bit self-conscious about your smile and you would like to undergo a teeth transformation, then the route of a dental makeover employing several cosmetic dentistry techniques may just be for you. In this article, we will go over:
- The different procedures used in smile makeovers
- The outline for a treatment plan with a cosmetic dentist
- The costs of the different procedures
- The aftercare of a smile makeover
Table of contents
What is a smile makeover?
A smile makeover entails a cosmetic dentist creating and employing a treatment plan that involves several cosmetic dentistry procedures with the aim of improving the appearance of your smile.
A smile makeover can change your entire life and get you that Hollywood smile you've dreamed of. Over the years our teeth take a beating. With stomach acid, foods that stain our teeth, and accidents that cause unsightly cracks or chips in our natural teeth, it's a miracle that anyone has a naturally perfect smile. Some of the more common procedures involved in a smile makeover are:
- Teeth length
- Teeth proportions
- Teeth texture and characterization
- Smile line
Other factors that go into consideration during your smile makeover include skin tone, facial appearance, hair color, tooth color, size, and shape, gum tissue, and lips. Your cosmetic dentist will act as a smile guru and suggest procedures to help ensure the treatment ends with the most natural-looking smile possible. This consultation is sometimes known as a smile design.
Smile correction types
Your tooth makeover will not be as simple as an at-home teeth whitening kit. Your treatment plan will be completely personalized for your smile needs. Your teeth may be shiny and white but have a poor appearance due to shape, so maybe you will require veneers but not teeth whitening. Popular types of corrections include:
- Composite bonding for changing the shape and color during your teeth makeover.
- Tooth implants to replace damaged and missing teeth.
- Teeth whitening to help lighten the shade of your teeth.
Another very common procedure for correcting smile imperfects are veneers. Veneers can be used to fix a wide range of aesthetic problems.
Dental veneers have no other purpose than cosmetic treatment, and a smile makeover is mostly about the appearance of the smile. Veneers are a plastic or porcelain coating bonded to the surface of a cosmetically imperfect tooth. These veneers are not often used to do anything for the health of the teeth (except to repair damage from bruxism), but they are exceptional in changing the appearance.
Teeth that have been damaged by eating disorders, smoking, and breakage can be fixed by applying veneers. Your cosmetic dentist may be able to use them to fill in teeth gaps or fix chipped and broken teeth all while improving the coloring of your smile.
However, if your dentist decides that veneers are right for you then be prepared to foot the bill—dental insurance often doesn't cover veneers, and low-cost temporary veneers can cause more damage long-term. Although the sticker price is higher, the cost of porcelain veneers made be worth it for their longevity and aesthetics. We will discuss this later on in the section about costs.
Maintaining excellent gum health is essential when you have veneers because the gums are pushed back during the procedure. Making sure they stay clean is important for preventing decay and infection.
Over time, teeth can become stained and dulled, and teeth whitening can improve the color of your teeth without the need to fully replace them with porcelain or composite veneers, composite bonding (read more in our bonding article here), or dental crowns. Silver or amalgam fillings can be completely replaced with composite fillings to remove the dark spots and smooth out the appearance of the teeth affected.
Bear in mind that your tooth color will convey different aesthetics. A darker tooth color will lend to an older, worn-out appearance while a whiter and brighter tooth color results in your new smile looking more youthful. Be careful to not go too white, as this can lead to your smile looking fake. A cosmetic dentist is trained to find the perfect balance for your face and teeth to yield optimal results.
Alignment and spacing
There is no denying that a front tooth gap can be cute and playful, but maybe not so much when all the surrounding teeth are crooked and gappy as well. Your new smile will include the orthodontic process of realigning teeth using either traditional adult braces or invisible options, which you can read more about here.
Missing teeth isn't the ideal appearance that first comes to mind when you think about the results of a cosmetic makeover. Your dentist may recommend dental crowns or veneers if the health of your original tooth is intact.
Your cosmetic dentist will likely recommend dental implants, dental bridges, or partial false teeth if the tooth is missing or beyond saving. Crowns are the preferred step before implants if the tooth can still be saved. These more invasive treatment options for unhealthy or missing teeth (like implants) often require surgery.
An uneven or chipped tooth can be bonded by your cosmetic dentist to improve the appearance. Even a gummy smile can be re-contoured to achieve optimal results. Teeth filing is another way to achieve a uniform look. A cosmetic smile makeover would be incomplete without the proper dental treatment for broken teeth.
As we age, our faces can lose their youthfulness. Aged or unsightly faces can be improved through oral maxillofacial surgery and orthodontics. The shape of your face can be impacted a lot by dental conditions. Malocclusion is an example of a dental problem that has cosmetic symptoms visible outside of the mouth.
When you meet with your cosmetic dentists to talk about your new smile, they will come up with a treatment plan to address each individual problem you face with your teeth and fix your smile up to look like that of a proper Hollywood movie star. Each person and every smile is unique. A plan for one person could take as little as one appointment, while another person may be looking at six months of orthodontic surgeries and procedures to get the results they want.
The first part of the treatment schedule is the initial consultation. During this appointment, your cosmetic dentist will perform a full assessment to determine the health of your teeth and to plan what sort of dentistry will be required to achieve the best smile. If any health concerns arise during this time they will need to be addressed before any cosmetic treatment can begin. During this time you will also get your dentist on the same page as you about your goals and expected results. Impressions of your teeth will be made and your dentist will then create a preview.
A preview is basically an expected “after” photo that is generated using a variety of technologies at the disposal of your dentist. Some of the technologies used in a dental preview are:
- Dental imaging software
- Dental composite bonding mockup
- Dental study models
- Before and after photos of other patients
Modern dental technology has come a long way in showing the expected outcome of various aesthetic dental procedures. It is very likely that your teeth will look similar to the mockup image after all is said and done.
Next, your dentist will schedule to come in for all the procedures you need to be done to achieve the optimal smile. There is no such thing as a standard treatment or cost for a plan. Each individual will need to speak with their dentist about what their teeth need and what sort of dentistry will be required to achieve their perfect smile.
The timing for each dental event will depend on what needs to be done. It is possible to have dental implants done in a day, like All-on-4 implants, but not everyone is a viable candidate for this type of dental treatment. If you do not require implants or another invasive surgery then it is more likely you will walk out of your dentist office in a day with a perfect smile built by veneers.
After you complete all of your dentistry and have achieved the perfect smile, you will need to maintain the new teeth. Your cosmetic dentist is the ultimate authority for all things dental after your treatment and should be regarded as such. It is highly likely that your previous dental habits are what led to the need for a transformation to begin with so knowing how to change those habits is key.
Many people brush their teeth with highly abrasive toothpaste and brushes. These can scratch the surface of veneers and other restorative dental work and decrease their lifespan. Flossing was important before your new smile and it’s essential now as well. Flossing will keep food debris and plaque off your teeth and help prevent damage.
Flossing is especially important for people with veneers because of the need to maintain great gum health. Mouthwash is another important product to consider, as alcohol in most brands is shown to have a negative impact on composite fillings.
Food and drink
An important thing to remember after you finish your dental work is that the new teeth in your mouth are not made of the same material as your natural teeth. Composite veneers are susceptible to staining so it is important to avoid foods such as coffee, tea, wine, or anything with a strong color—porcelain veneers are stain-resistant. It is also important to limit your consumption of sugar, your snacking between meals, and your alcohol intake.
Smile makeover cost
Now for the part that really matters: how much will a new smile cost you? Pricing can vary quite a bit depending on what needs to be done to change your teeth. A simple whitening will cost much less than a complete set of implants so you'll need to consult with your dentist about a plan before you can get an estimate of what it will cost for you. Below is a table of prices for different procedures and their purpose.
$925-$2,500 per tooth
Same day or within one month
5 to 20 years
6 months to 3 years
$3,000-$4,500 per tooth
Same day or several months
16 to 24 months
Life if a retainer is worn daily
10 to 24 months
Life if a retainer is worn daily
$800-$1,700 per tooth
Same day or within a week
5 to 30 years
If these costs are out of your range, you can read our guide on how to get a free dental makeover.
Benefits of a smile makeover
The confidence that a good looking smile can give someone is worth more than the actual procedure will cost you. It is actually proven that dental aesthetics affect self-esteem. If you are feeling that your smile is affecting your confidence then you can talk to your dentist about fixing up your teeth and in turn your outlook on life. Read on for a few makeover reviews to see how this investment can change your life.
“I had all uppers and lowers done and it is amazing.”
Elizabeth shares her experience, and her dentist, Dr. O, talks about the procedures she went through to achieve her new ‘Hollywood' smile. She had dental problems resulting from an uneven bite. Her dentist recommended veneers, which not only improve the shape of her teeth but also the coloring. She states that she cannot believe that her dream actually came true and it is something that she has wanted since her adolescence. Her confidence has improved drastically and she is now able to thrive in her new life.
“They are essentially your teeth!”
Kackie shares her experience of getting veneers and tooth crowns in Austin, TX. She takes questions from her subscribers and answers all of them and explains that her experience for her top teeth cost $22,000. She discusses her way of financing the entire procedure and other financing methods one should avoid. She also shows her before and after photos as well as a documentation of the entire process from start to finish including the times when her initial fitting didn't go as planned and she needed to return after one week to have her temporary set replaced with the remake. Ultimately the experience was very positive for her and it's very apparent given that she cannot stop smiling throughout her video!
Asking your dentist to makeover your smile is the first step in creating a new confident life for anyone with aesthetic dental issues. No matter what it is that caused your teeth to be less than perfect, there are modern solutions to your smile problems. Talk to your dentist about pricing, financing, and plans for what you need to achieve the look you've been going for. While a total top and bottom set of implants may be out of your price range, there are other solutions that cost far less and may be right for you!
How much do smile makeovers cost?
Every individual will require a different set of treatments depending on what is wrong with them. A full set of top veneers can cost $22,000 but a teeth whitening procedure can cost about $650.
Is a smile makeover painful?
Depending on what procedure you have done it can be a relatively painless experience or one that will require a bit more pain medication and recovery. For example, whitening may cause some sensitivity. Veneers may cause some gum soreness; implants and crowns, when done well, won't hurt too much but may have a longer recovery.
How long does a smile makeover take?
Again, this is completely dependent on what procedures will need to be done. There are many same-day options available. Talk to your dentist about what is right for you.
Mayo Clinic: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Consulted 27 July, 2020.
NCBI: Impact of Dental Disorders and its Influence on Self Esteem Level among Adolescents. Consulted 27 July, 2020.
American Dental Association: Veneers. Consulted 27 July, 2020.