What is a Smile Makeover?
Maybe you’ve always had “bad teeth,” and you’ve put off doing all the dental work you need. Your teeth may be discolored, uneven, or too small — or all of those. You may have some broken or missing teeth. You know that you want your smile back, so you can regain your confidence and self-esteem. But you’re not sure where to start. What you need is a smile makeover.
A smile makeover can involve a wide variety of dental procedures. You’ll work with your dentist, and possibly also with one or more specialists, to determine exactly what’s needed and what treatment plan will achieve the goals.
When you’re considering any dental procedure, it’s important to know the risks and weigh them against the benefits. Once you understand the procedure, then you can make your decision about whether or not to proceed. To help you in your decision-making process, we have some information about the risks and benefits of having a smile makeover at Smile Makeover: Risks and Benefits.
Please note that this page is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for qualified, individualized medical advice. You should discuss your potential dental procedure with your own dentist.
How it’s done
You’ll have a consultation with your dentist to determine what would be involved in your smile makeover, how long it would take, and how much it would cost. Imaging, including X-rays, will be part of this process. You may want to have consultations with more than one dentist, to have a second opinion and feel confident that you’re making the best choices for you. Your dentist can refer you to any specialists that might be helpful in your smile makeover.
The exact order of the procedures depends somewhat on your priorities, but in general, it’s first necessary to ensure the bone and gum tissue are healthy, so they can support healthy teeth. Next is usually correction of the bite if needed, since bite problems could re-damage other work if the bite is not corrected. Any structural problems with teeth will then be corrected (for instance, the placement of crowns on broken teeth). The final step would be purely cosmetic procedures, such as veneers or bonding, to create the perfect smile. You may not need all of these steps; some people don’t have any major structural issues and only need a few cosmetic procedures, while others need more extensive work.
Some of the procedures that might be involved in a smile makeover are listed below; see each procedure’s page for more information about it. This is not an exhaustive list, and several other procedures might also be included (such as root canals, jaw repositioning surgery, and others). The exact set of procedures you’ll have during your smile makeover will be determined by your goals and the condition of your mouth. The entire smile makeover procedure may take months or years, depending on how extensive the work needed is.
Braces (Traditional or Clear Braces)
Dentures (full or partial)
Dental work can be anxiety-provoking. And looking at having a whole series of dental procedures for your smile makeover, you might feel even more anxious. Rest assured that you’ll receive adequate pain control throughout any procedure that may cause pain. If you still feel anxious, Sedation Dentistry may be an option for you.
Preparing for the procedure
Choosing your dentist
Because cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized dental specialty, if a dentist calls himself or herself a “cosmetic dentist,” it doesn’t necessarily mean much. Similarly, restorative dentistry is not a recognized specialty, so you don’t have to choose a dentist who refers to himself or herself as a “restorative dentist.” More importantly, you want to find out whether this particular dentist has experience performing the procedures you’ll need during your full mouth reconstruction. It’s at least as important to find a dentist with whom you feel comfortable, who listens to you, tries to understand your goals, and answers your questions. Referrals from friends and family, especially if they’ve had the particular procedures you’re considering, can be especially valuable.
Planning for the Cost
Of course, you’ll want to know the cost of your procedure, whether insurance will cover it, and how you’ll finance it. For more, visit our Smile Makeover Cost page.
You’ll have the procedures one at a time, with adequate recovery time in between. Once you know which procedures you’ll be having, you can check out the pages for each of those procedures to learn about the recovery that will be needed. Usually, the final procedure is one with minimal recovery, like placement of veneers or teeth whitening — and you’ll have your perfect smile!