Wedding Smile Guide: Changing Your Smile Through Cosmetic Dentistry
This is an excerpt from our special report, “A Canberra Bride’s Guide To A Beautiful Wedding Smiles”. Download the complete report here.
You’re reading this article because there is something about your teeth or gums that you don’t like and you want to change. This has some helpful information about what your options for treatment might be.
It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you know that this is a guide only. It is not a replacement for a consultation with a professional dentist. The human body is complex, and your situation is unique to you. Some treatments are not suitable for everyone, or will only work in particular circumstances.
Only a dentist make recommendations for smile-changing treatment that will work for you
If you have a regular dentist, have a chat to them about your smile, well in advance of your wedding. If you don’t have a regular dentist
- you can find one by asking your family and friends to recommend one
- you can search online or in the phone directory
- you can also call us (Corinna Dental)
Changing Your Smile With Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry is the name used to describe dental treatments that improve the appearance of your teeth and your smile. It generally involves procedures that change the colour, shape and alignment of your teeth.
Cosmetic dentistry is generally considered to be elective treatment. This is because it is done to improve your appearance, not to treat disease.
Beware The Bold Promises…
You might have seen cosmetic dental procedures marketed with bold promises attached. Sometimes you’ll see ads that imply (or promise) that perfect teeth will improve your:
- job, career or promotion prospects
- romantic prospects
While some individuals might find this is the case, there are no guarantees that a change in your smile can bring about significant life changes or improved self-confidence. Often the source of these issues runs much deeper than the appearance of the teeth.
It is important to keep in mind that
- some dental procedures are permanent and cannot be reversed
- some dental procedures involve surgery or invasive procedures that carry risks
- some dental procedures have a significant price tag which may over-stretch your current finances
Don’t be persuaded by powerful and clever marketing that tries to make you feel bad about your current situation or that attempts to sell you something that you don’t really need or want. Make sure you know whether the treatment you are considering is likely to have any negative implications for your dental health. Never rush your decision just to take advantage of ‘specials’ or discounts that are expiring soon.
Your decisions about cosmetic dentistry can have a short-term or lifelong impact on your health, finances and happiness- in positive and negative ways. It’s important to ask questions, get second opinions and do your research.
The Art And Science Of Dental Aesthetics
All Australian Dentists have some knowledge of Dental Aesthetics (Cosmetic Dentistry). Some general dentists have a special interest in the subject. There is, however, no such thing as a ‘Cosmetic Dental Specialist’. This is because Cosmetic Dentistry is not considered to be a speciality like Orthodontics or Oral Surgery. Some dentists still promote themselves as cosmetic dental specialists, but this is considered to be misleading by The Dental Board Of Australia.
General dentists are usually the first professional consulted about making changes to the teeth and smile. Other members of the dental team may become involved, including dental hygienists, dental technicians or dental ceramists. If required, dental specialists, medical practitioners or medical specialists will also become involved in the treatment.
The most important part of the team is YOU. Your input is critical to the success of your cosmetic dental treatment plan. Your ability to communicate your vision and expectations will drive the rest of the team’s actions.
That’s why you will need to ask the following questions, and be satisfied with the answers.
Questions To Ask About The Procedures, Costs and Risks
If you decide that you want to do something to change the appearance of your teeth, there are things you’ll need to know:
- what the proposed treatment is
- how long each appointment will take
- how many days, weeks or months the course of treatment will take
- costs (and perhaps the likely health fund rebates)
- if the results are likely to be short or long term
- risks associated with the recommended treatment
- available alternatives
- the risks and benefits of alternatives, including if you choose to do nothing
When To Get The Ball Rolling…
Our advice is to consult with your dentist about changing your smile sooner rather than later. Don’t leave it to the last minute. It’s important to know that:
- Some procedures can’t get started until the mouth is decay-free. This can add weeks or months to the treatment plan.
- Some dental practices have longer (or shorter) timeframes for completing some treatments
- Your dentist may have a very full appointment book. If they are booked out in advance, you may not be able to start your treatment on your ideal schedule
- If a specialist needs to be involved, it will generally take a while to get an appointment
- Occasionally there are delays that cannot be avoided. Try to make sure your treatment will be finished a month or two before your wedding date. If delays occur, you won’t be caught short.
Your dentist will need to do a thorough assessment of your smile to determine which
- treatments are likely to give you the results you are hoping for. This will probably include
- taking a full medical history
- doing a thorough inspection
- running diagnostic tests such as x-rays
- It may also include
- making models of your teeth
- taking photographs and colour records of your teeth
- arranging consultations with dental specialists, your GP or medical specialists
- The recommended treatment might be different to what you thought you would need. Your dentist should explain why they have made their recommendations, and whether there are options available to you.
- You should ask lots of questions so that you are sure you understand what the treatment involves.
- No single cosmetic dental procedure is perfect or effective for everyone. For example, whitening works beautifully for some people, and not at all for others.
- Some cosmetic procedures cannot be reversed. The results will therefore be with you for the rest of your life.
- Some types of cosmetic dentistry involve invasive or surgical procedures. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Check out our special report, “A Canberra Bride’s Guide To A Beautiful Wedding Smile”. Click here to download the full guide.