If you want to transform your smile but aren’t sure if you can afford it, it could help to know that there are smile makeover options to suit every budget. In order, from cheapest to best, here are the most popular smile makeover options:
- Laser teeth whitening
- Composite bonding and porcelain fillings
- Porcelain veneers, crowns, and bridges
- Dental implants
- Full-mouth reconstruction
Laser Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is the quickest and most cost-effective way to improve the appearance of your smile if you have yellowed teeth or surface stains. Laser tooth whitening, in particular, can make your natural teeth up to five or six times brighter in a single session and only requires an annual treatment to maintain.
If you opt for a specialty tooth whitening system like Zoom! teeth whitening, your cosmetic dentist will apply a special hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth and use blue LED light-accelerated technology to activate the chemicals in the gel, giving you a whiter smile in as little as an hour. You will then be given take-home trays to maintain your whiter smile.
Composite Bonding and Porcelain Fillings
Composite bonding uses the same resin materials as composite fillings to repair small imperfections such as chipped teeth, slightly cracked teeth, or tiny cavities to halt tooth decay in its tracks and improve the appearance of your smile. Composite bonding can usually be completed in a single session and lasts for five to 10 years.
For a more permanent solution, porcelain fillings can be placed instead of composite fillings. If you have silver amalgam fillings, having them replaced with porcelain tooth-colored fillings makes it impossible to tell that you’ve had any dental work done because the fillings blend in with your other teeth.
Porcelain Veneers, Crowns, and Bridges
If your main cosmetic concern is front teeth that are stained, chipped, slightly crooked, or afflicted with visible gaps, porcelain veneers represent a quick and effective cosmetic dentistry treatment that is becoming popular in smile makeovers today. Porcelain veneers can be placed in as little as a week or two and generally last for up to 15 years—sometimes longer.
Sometimes, teeth need structural support as well as beautifying, and that’s where porcelain crowns and bridges come in. Porcelain crowns work like caps that fit over your natural teeth to protect the tooth and improve the appearance of your smile. If you have several dental crowns in a row, a porcelain bridge is a cost-effective option.
For slightly crooked teeth or a mild overbite or underbite, the Invisalign system provides an alternative to traditional braces. Instead of metal wires, Invisalign uses a series of graduated clear retainers to gently shift your teeth into place—often in six months to a year.
For many people, Invisalign and teeth whitening are the only smile makeover options they need to achieve a celebrity smile. For others, Invisalign forms part of a longer-term treatment plan that includes several cosmetic dentistry techniques.
For missing teeth, dental implants are the best solution for maintaining the health of the jaw bone and restoring a more youthful appearance. As a permanent alternative to removable full or partial dentures, dental implants replace the missing teeth completely with a titanium post, which is attached to an abutment and topped with a tooth-shaped porcelain crown.
While dental implants represent a significant investment, they offer several advantages over leaving a gap in your smile:
- Dental implants stimulate the creation of jaw bone.
- Dental implants allow you to chew normally.
- Dental implants prevent other teeth from shifting out of place.
- Implants made from porcelain are resistant to stains.
- Implants aren’t subject to tooth decay.
Because the entire process is complicated, make sure to look for top-rated and professionally-certified dental implant specialists like Dr Dimitri Salin.
The ultimate smile makeover may involve several—or all—of the cosmetic dentistry procedures described so far in addition to treatments for gum disease, gum recession, or an uneven gum line. Generally, cosmetic dentists will deal with any issues with the gum tissue first, followed by individual tooth restorations (such as fillings), Invisalign, and finally veneers, crowns, bridges, and implants.
To create your customized treatment plan, your cosmetic dentist will assess your oral health using X-rays, scans, and photographs, and explain the treatment options available together with the timeframe, cost, and payment options. The smile makeover may take days, weeks, or months depending on the number of treatments and nature of the treatments needed.
Smile Makeover Maintenance
Once your smile makeover is complete, your dentist will give you detailed instructions for taking care of your oral health, including twice-daily effective brushing and flossing and a twice-yearly professional clean.
Seeing your dentist every six months is the best way to catch any developing issues in their tracks and treat them before they advance any further. This, in turn, will help to protect your investment and help your smile makeover treatments last long into the future.
Choosing the Right Cosmetic Dentist
Whether you opt for teeth whitening or invest in a complete smile makeover or full-mouth reconstruction, choosing the best cosmetic dentist will ensure the most beautiful and long-lasting result. The best cosmetic dentists:
- Are members of top professional organizations, including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
- Have extensive experience with smile makeover techniques
- Have hundreds of happy patients, seen in third-party reviews
- Customize the treatment plan to your preferences and needs
- Explain the smile makeover options in detail before you begin
- Prioritize your oral health when weighing potential treatment options
Whatever your budget, timeline, or dental needs, there are smile makeover options for you. Discussing your priorities, goals, and dental needs with an experienced cosmetic dentist is the best way to design a smile makeover that you’ll be proud to display.