What constitutes a model smile? For most of us, pearly-white gnashers of perfect symmetry epitomise the million dollar smile, while for others, gently rounded, beautifully aligned teeth are considered fashionably and socially adequate. Cosmetic dentistry is the only specialised industry concentrated on the visual improvement of teeth, rather than just oral health. Cosmetic intervention may not be able to entirely replicate the ‘look’ of a particular celebrity or example; however the outcomes are often as good, if not better than hoped for.
Everyone has a unique idea of the ‘perfect smile’, however most agree that two primary factors are responsible – whitening and alignment. Surprisingly few adolescents are blessed with evenly spaced, non overlapping teeth, requiring early dental aids such as a brace or retainer if teeth are to be aligned by adulthood. Influenced by peers or bogged down by name-calling, many teens do not complete the course of treatment, leading to disproportionate alignment and crooked teeth later in life. This is reflected in the rising number of image-conscious young adults seeking cosmetic dentistry, in the hope of a fashionable, quick fix solution. The good news is that, for the majority, cosmetic dentistry can and will significantly change the look of your mouth and teeth for the better and in some cases, even the shape of the face!
Characteristically, a model smile is defined by white teeth and upper/lower jaw symmetry, along with no visible gap between the tooth and gum line. Gums tend to be exuberantly pink, perfectly off-setting the dazzling whiteness of teeth, which are visibly rounded at the corners. Few people actually possess such model examples of perfect teeth, the shape alone created with the aid of shaped veneers or porcelain inlays bound to the tooth. Bonding is an extremely popular treatment for recreating the illusion of a healthy tooth-to-gum seal and rendering a smooth tooth surface, with the simple application of composite resin. It can subsequently be shaped, refined and polished to ‘blend in’ with other teeth. Dental contouring is a common follow-up treatment, effectively reshaping or rounding off other teeth to compliment a bonding treatment. The result is an extremely natural, yet almost symmetrical finish providing you opt for both upper and lower front tooth treatment.
Accelerated orthodontics refers to the speedy process of tooth realignment, with the aid of a night/invisi-brace or retainer. Invisalign is a phenomenally successful mode of orthodontic treatment, gradually evolving the alignment of teeth using a pre-cast model. In contrast to the braces of old, this method generally achieves a markedly improved look in 3-7 months (half of the time needed for fixed braces). Better still; the brace is pretty much invisible to the naked eye, making it an ideal solution for image conscious young adults.
Cosmetic dentistry is a viable option for those seeking to improve their “look”, however it must be stressed that few treatments yield results overnight. Laser and bleach whitening require a series of successive treatments (taking anywhere between 3-12 months) and even veneer application necessitates a degree of whitening treatment prior to fitting. With the right cosmetic dentist, a model smile is achievable – providing you have the patience to see it through.