If you’re unhappy with how your smile looks then cosmetic dentistry can help you. If there are minor color problems maybe some teeth whitening can make the improvement you’re looking for but for more serious problems a smile makeover or dental reconstruction may be the best option. A smile makeover usually involves some sort of cosmetic enhancement on every tooth that is visible when you smile. The most common restoration used for cosmetic makeovers will be porcelain veneers. However, in certain circumstances porcelain crowns may be used, especially if there is more damage or less original tooth to work with. And there are also porcelain inlays, onlays, and partial crowns which can be used when you have lots of natural tooth left. And in-house teeth whitening can help brighten the natural teeth that do not need restorations. For missing teeth we will most likely be using dental implants or bridges since most people don’t want to show spaces from missing teeth. If you’re interested in getting a complimentary smile makeover consultation at Dr. Kim’s Honolulu office, please contact us. And don’t be discouraged if you’re missing many teeth. Dr. Tony Kim is a smile reconstruction dentist who can fix smiles with regular dentures, implant supported dentures and bridges.
Here is a before and after of a full mouth reconstruction I completed. You can see what a dramatic difference a new smile can make. There are a few missing teeth there that we replaced with traditional bridges without using dental implants. People will have a better first impression when they meet you and not be distracted by an unattractive smile.
Do I Need a Smile Makeover or a Full Mouth Reconstruction?
Smile makeovers focus more on cosmetic issues in the smile. Makeovers can help those who have:
- Stained or discolored teeth which are beyond the help of simple teeth whitening
- Various restorations over time in the front teeth which are different colors and may have metal margins exposed
- Crowded teeth and do not want orthodontics
- Chipped and damaged front teeth
- Older smile makeovers that are darker than desired or damaged
There are many cosmetic benefits from receiving a full mouth dental reconstruction but the primary focus of the reconstruction will be regaining the health of the teeth, gums and chewing system. Some signs that you may have some chewing system problems are:
- Severe wear on your teeth. Sometimes the wear is just on the back teeth and other times primarily in the front. For severe clenchers and grinders, you may have severe flattening on all the teeth.
- Many root canals on back teeth can be a symptom of bite system dysfunction leading to breakdown of chewing teeth over time.
- Crowns and fillings on the back teeth seem to fail much sooner than expected. The pressures generated from dysfunctional bites will damage the restorations and the bond to the teeth.
- Many missing teeth which have changed normal chewing and have led to uneven wear or premature damage on the remaining teeth. The fewer teeth that you have the more pressure the remaining teeth get because your muscles remain the same strength but with now fewer teeth to absorb that pressure.
- Moderate or severe gum disease along with lots of decay in the teeth make fixing just a few teeth difficult. This can lead to patchwork which leads to more dental work over a long period of time because the system is never fixed, only patched up. Also, once teeth and gum disease reach a certain point, it’s almost impossible to save the teeth.
Here’s what to expect during the makeover process:
Visit 1 (Consultation) – Come in for a complimentary consultation to talk about your concerns and thoughts. You’ll also get a chance to meet the doctor to see if this is the right office for you. There is a good chance that the doctor may need more detailed records to study before letting you know what the options are. Sometimes this can be done during this same visit but can be scheduled at a convenient time for you and the office. There may be some recommendations to visit specialists or to get special scans done before the next visit, we’ll let you know if it’s necessary.
Visit 2 (Records) – This visit will either be a record taking appointment (could already be done at the first visit) where we will take photos of you and your existing teeth. We will also take models of your teeth and make some special recordings of your jaw (facebow).
Visit 3 (Treatment Discussion) – This is the appointment where you sit down with the doctor and go over the findings in your case and to cover treatment options. In many cases there will be waxup created specifically for you to preview the cosmetics and functionality of your case before there is any commitment to start. Changes are easy to implement at this stage because nothing permanent has been done already.
Preparation Visit – The changes to your teeth are made and then handcrafted temporaries based off of your approved waxups will be placed on your teeth. This is a sneak preview to the final restorations! The period of time while you are in your temps will also give the doctor a chance to evaluate the comfort of the bite and to make sure the jaw joint is adapting well. Once everything is functioning well and is comfortable, the finals will be made only with your approval.
Delivery Appointment – You get your new smile put on! Of course you will have the chance to look at everything before it’s permanently cemented.
Follow Up Visits – There may be periodic follow up visits to make sure that everything is working well and that your are comfortable. A nightguard will be made at the end of treatment to help protect your smile.
Some Helpful Things to Consider Before Your Smile Consultation
- Think of some smiles that you really like. Also think of some smiles that you don’t like. If you can find pictures to bring in the consultation that will be very helpful. You can think if you want Hollywood white or a natural shade.
- Timeframe will be important. If you need a makeover quickly then time is precious. There is a lot of planning from all team members involved to get things done faster than normal. Come in to see if we can meet your timeline and needs.
- If you can bring in a spouse, significant other, family member or close friend who you’ll rely on for their advice then we welcome them during the consultation visit too. For you to remember and explain everything that was discussed during a consultation is very difficult. If we have the opportunity to answer everybody’s questions during the initial consult, it will put everybody on the same page at the beginning of the process.