What is a Smile Makeover and is it Right for You?

What is a Smile Makeover and is it Right for You?

Having a beautiful smile is a powerful boost to self-confidence — and can open doors in many aspects of your life! But the bright, perfect “movie star” smile that’s so desirable can’t always be achieved by best oral health practices alone. Fortunately, a smile makeover is designed to give you what nature didn’t — or what poor restorations and/or other adverse dental conditions took away. If you’re considering your options to achieve a smile you can be proud of, a smile makeover could be the solution!

What is a Smile Makeover?

As the name implies, a smile makeover involves a combination of cosmetic dental procedures and treatments to correct multiple aesthetic flaws that affect your smile. Teeth that are broken, gapped, uneven, chipped, short, worn-down, misshapen — or have minor misalignments or permanent staining — can achieve a look that is aesthetically balanced, with a brighter, whiter color that complements your skin tone. Correcting a “gummy” smile also can be part of this process.

Depending on your oral structure and aesthetic goals, your smile makeover could involve the following:

Veneers – Comprised of thin, wafer-like porcelain shells that are custom-shaped and bonded to the front surface of teeth to enhance their appearance and correct noticeable flaws, veneers are one of the most popular treatments in cosmetics dentistry. Teeth are prepared by removing a layer of enamel, which allows the veneer to fit securely over the tooth and create a strong bond. We invite you to read our blog posts — “What are Veneers?” and “Are Veneers Right for You?” — to learn more.

In addition to traditional veneers, NK Family Dental is proud to offer the Lumineers® brand, which is designed to be ultra-thin and eliminates the need to remove tooth enamel.

Composite bonding — This can be an option for those with insufficient enamel for veneers. A composite resin is sculpted, shaped, polished, and adhered to the front of the teeth. However, bonding is not stain-resistant and is not as natural-appearing as porcelain veneers. Our blog post — “Is Composite Bonding Right for You?” — covers this procedure in greater detail.

Crowns — Unlike veneers, a crown covers the entire tooth down to the gumline. This requires the tooth to be significantly ground down, meaning that it can never again be without a crown. However, crowns may be the recommended solution — especially for those with damaged teeth — as they have the appearance of strong, healthy teeth and can last for 10 to 15 years with proper care.

Dental implants — This is an important element of a smile makeover for those with a missing tooth for whom a bridge may not be an option. The prosthesis (tooth restoration) element of the implant will be fashioned to complement the other tooth restorations in shape, alignment, and color so it seamlessly matches and works harmoniously to create a complete aesthetic result.

Gum recontouring — This procedure is performed to correct a gummy smile, which is caused by an excess of gum tissue covering the teeth. Our blog post — “What is Gum Lengthening?” — covers this topic in detail.

Teeth whitening — This is an option for those who are generally pleased with the appearance of their teeth, but want to remove stains and brighten the color. Although many over-the-counter whitening kits are available, a dental practice will safely provide the best possible result — either with an in-office treatment or a take-home custom tray and whitening gel. We are proud to offer the Zoom and Opalescence brands of teeth whitening treatments.

As you may now be realizing, a smile makeover requires the dentist to have a strong sense of aesthetics as well as technical skills. There is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach. Each makeover is individually designed according to the patient’s oral structure, facial structure, and shape — as well as other considerations. Consumer Guide to Dentistry provides the following elements that go into planning a smile makeover:

Tooth length — Long teeth lend a youthful appearance. Aging produces wear and tear that often results in shorter teeth, and a gummy smile also can make teeth appear shorter. A treatment for shorter teeth may include reshaping and lengthening the two front central teeth with composite bonding or porcelain veneers. If you have a gummy smile, your cosmetic dentist may provide treatment to modify the gum line and lengthen the appearance of the teeth using laser dentistry procedures. You may also be referred to a periodontist for crown lengthening if necessary.

Teeth lengthening may also impact your overall facial appearance. For example, shapely, long, square teeth on a round-faced individual can provide a slimming effect.

Smile line — The smile line is an imaginary line that follows the edges of your upper teeth from side to side, which ideally should be the same as the curve of your lower lip when you smile. This standard point of reference may be used to help determine how long your new teeth should be.

Tooth proportions — Your cosmetic dentist will examine your teeth to determine if they are in correct proportion with each other. Most people recognize a pleasing smile as one in which the two central front teeth are dominant and have a width-to-length ratio of 4-to-5. This proportion guides the length and width of other teeth in the aesthetic zone so that the smile line appears balanced.

Tooth texture and characterization — An artistic dentist can characterize your crowns or veneers to create a more feminine or a more masculine appearance, in addition to matching the look and feel of natural teeth.

How is a Smile Makeover Different from Full-Mouth Reconstruction?

Although there are similarities, full-mouth reconstruction is more intensive than a smile makeover. According to The Smile Centre, “While smile makeovers encompass a wide range of cosmetic dental procedures to improve the appearance of your smile, a full mouth reconstruction may include a smile makeover in addition to procedures that deal with jaw alignment and dental health issues. Full mouth reconstruction involves the combination of multiple restorative, neuromuscular and general dentistry dental procedures. The objective is to not only restore the aesthetic appearance of your smile but to also strengthen the structure and functionality of your teeth.

“Full mouth restorations are often crucial for a patient’s overall well-being due to the interconnected nature of oral health. For example, if you suffer from a chipped tooth, it can lead to problems with your bite. Bite issues can cause chewing difficulties, which in turn can lead to excess wear on other teeth. Misaligned bites are linked with a myriad of other issues, many of which are associated with problems such as headaches, jaw soreness, neck pain, and even poor posture.”

Depending upon your existing oral health conditions, treatment may be necessary before reconstruction procedures can begin. Periodontal disease or misaligned teeth that require orthodontic treatment will have to be addressed first.

How Long Should a Smile Makeover Last?

A smile makeover is an investment in yourself. According to Dr. Micheal J. Wei, DDS, “You want your investment to pay dividends, making you look younger, happier, and healthier. One of the worst situations a dental patient can experience is undergoing cosmetic or restorative dentistry, only to have those changes fail soon after.”

Dr. Wei provides the general lifespan of the following types of cosmetic dental restorations:

  • Veneers — 15 years or longer.
  • Crowns — 10 to 15 years – possibly longer, if properly maintained.
  • Dental implants — The post that is implanted in the jaw can last a lifetime; the crown that is placed on top can last 10 to 15 years, much like a standard crown — possibly longer, with proper care.
  • Teeth whitening — The results can last for up to three years before any change in color becomes noticeable.

As with your overall oral health, you’ll get the most out of your smile makeover investment by regular visits to your dentist for an examination and cleaning — and maintain a consistent oral care regimen of brushing and flossing. Also, prevent damage to your teeth by wearing a mouthguard when playing sports or participating in physical recreational activities, as well as not chewing on hard food items (such as ice, hard candy, or popcorn kernels). Also, never use your teeth to tear things apart or open bottles! Scissors and bottle openers, respectively, are the appropriate tools. Being careless can damage restorations as well as teeth in their natural state.

The Take-Home Message

A smile makeover can boost your self-image and let you face the world with confidence! Choosing a dentist with the skill, experience, and artistic eye to create the perfect smile just for you is essential to achieving the best result.

At NK Family Dental, it is our mission to provide the highest quality and most compassionate oral care to our Chicago patients, including both dental and periodontal services. Our practice is trusted for advanced oral surgery procedures and comfortable root canal treatment.

Our team of experienced, dedicated dental professionals will help address your oral health concerns, and determine the best solution for you based on your individual situation. We strive to identify treatment options that fit your needs.

Our dental specialists include our general dentist, Dr. Nilofer Khan, our endodontist, Dr. Sabek, and our periodontist, Dr. Amir Danesh. Dr. Danesh is a board-certified periodontist and Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology. He has contributed to the publication of two books, as well as published over 20 papers in prestigious dental research journals.

We serve the neighborhoods of Logan Square, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Wicker Park with the dedication that’s earned us the reputation as the Best Dentist in Chicago!

We understand that the main concern you may have is cost, which is why we accept all major PPO plans for dental insurance and also offer our in-house dental plan. Please see our financing page for more information.

Schedule your visit through ZocDoc, or contact us directly. We look forward to treating you soon!


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