Some people just love their smiles and have no problem flashing their pearly whites during selfies or photo ops. Other people feel completely opposite, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. A poll conducted by the AACD found that only half of individuals they surveyed were satisfied with their smiles. Individuals who are unhappy with their smile’s appearance often take care to smile without showing their teeth, and may even take extreme measures to avoid having their picture taken. The same poll found that patients between the ages of 31 and 50 are the group that is the most unhappy with their smiles, and equate a good smile to making a positive first impression and being successful. People that do not love their smile may even also lack confidence in social situations, the workplace and personal relationships. Patients no longer have to simply live with their smiles if they’re unhappy with their look. There are many cosmetic dental options to improve a patient’s smile aesthetic, as well as boost their confidence and improve their self-esteem.
Many factors impact the look of a smile. These factors include the health of the mouth and teeth, alignment and spacing of teeth, facial characteristics and smile aesthetics. Many times, patients looking for cosmetic dental improvements have issues in each category that need to be corrected in order to give the patient the smile of their dreams. Dr. Steven P. Rogers, D.M.D., P.C., performs smile makeovers at his Grants Pass, Oregon, dental practice. "The first assessment of a patient’s smile includes a checkup to review the health of their teeth and gums," says Rogers. Once reviewed, Rogers plans restorative and reconstructive treatments, like dental implants and crowns, in order to address tooth decay, and missing or damaged teeth.
Rogers uses biomimetic, or lifelike, materials dentistry to treat tooth decay. "The advantages of using biomimetic materials to treat tooth decay during a smile makeover are that materials resemble the teeth – and fit seamlessly into the patient’s smile." Additional benefits for patients include a pain-free process and durability of restoration materials, in compared to traditional drill and fill procedures that used metal amalgam fillings. Rogers also offers patients replacement of amalgam fillings. "Replacing old, metal fillings are a popular option for many patients. Not only for looks but because of concerns they may have over the health risks of mercury," say Rogers. According to research from the University of Georgia earlier this year, patients with mercury-based fillings have a greater chance of developing serious health conditions than individuals without mercury and metal amalgam fillings.
The next step in the smile makeover process is to examine the alignment and spacing of the patient’s teeth, in order to address overcrowding, gaps, and other concerns. Rogers offers his patients porcelain veneers to conceal alignment and spacing issues. Porcelain veneers are high quality, durable, ceramic overlays placed directly onto the teeth. "Porcelain veneers are a great way to dramatically and quickly improve the patient’s smile, and allows me to correct symmetry and gaps – without the patient having to go through the time and expense of orthodontic treatments," Rogers explains. Veneers can also help to cover stained or discolored teeth.
Discolored teeth are an aesthetic concern for many people, and can also make people shy away from showing their teeth. Discoloration can occur as a result of diet, habits like smoking and chewing tobacco, and even as a result of age. Rogers examines discoloration and other smile aesthetics – like shape, size, and texture when preparing a patient for the cosmetic phase of the makeover. "If we are adding veneers or implants, we want to ensure that the shade of the restoration matches the rest of teeth," he explains. Texture issues may be corrected with air abrasion or other processes, while the shape and size issues may be handled through the use of veneers and other restorative treatment.
Additionally, Rogers offers patients laser teeth whitening to bright their smiles. Whitening is performed in the office, in about 30 minutes – and is a safe, painless, and effective way to make over a smile for patients that do not have issues with symmetry, gaps or restorative needs.