What's the Best Way to Enhance my Smile?

I have all sorts of smile problems: gaps, crooked teeth, chips, yellow stains. I'll stop there! what works best to get a better smile for as little pain and money as possible?

Doctor Answers 6

Take small steps to achieve your greatest cosmetic dental reward!

Start with the basics. Find a highly recommended dentist in your area. A full exam with xrays and cleaning will help to prioritze necessary treatment. Don't rush into a quick cosmetic fix! It has probably taken a while to develop the problems, find out short and long term options, and fees for all suggested treatment before jumping in headfirst. Sometimes, a good cleaning, whitening and minimal bonding may be enough to brighten your smile and give you the results you want. For more in depth work, study models, photos and treatment workups will help decide upon options including braces, caps (crowns), porcelain facings (veneers), bonding, implants, gum tissue enhancement, etc. 

Do your homework, just by asking questions such as this, before going to a dentist, says a lot about you! Educating yourself about these procedures helps you to ask better questions, and make better suggestions. Understanding your own wants and needs will help you to end up with results you will be happy with for years to come!

Henderson Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Enhancing your smile with good cosmetic dentistry can be expensive, but not as expensive as bad cosmetic dentistry!

There are many options available to enhance your smile with the latest techniques in cosmetic dentistry. These may include composite bonding, vital teeth bleaching, porcelain laminate veneers, and Invisalign treatment. However, the best advice is to consider cosmetic dentistry that is an investment in a long term quality solution. My little modest Italian grandmother who was a poor immigrant understood the concept of quality vs. cost. She would always buy good shoes since they would outlast many pairs of poor quality and she would say, "I'm too poor to buy cheap shoes!" Advice well taken.

Gerry Curatola, DDS
Manhattan Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Smile Enhancements - The three Es

We often say that there are 3 "Es" in cosmetic dentistry:

  • Esthetics
  • Efficiency
  • Economical

We then ask which 2 do you want, as you can't have all 3.

From what was described in the question, I would assume a combination of ortho (traditional or Invisalign) followed by porcelain veneers would do the trick, including a bite evaluation to determine the cause of the chips. When fixing a LOT of situations, crowns and veneers (up to and including a full mouth reconstruction) can do wonders.

The dentist will have control of color, shape, bite relationship and nearly all other factors related to the case. But it is one of the largest investments possible in dental care. The only person that can decide what is best for you is you. There are often many choices out there, and your dentist should be able to help you decide what is best.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

You might also like...

There are several great ways to enhance a smile: Teeth...

There are several great ways to enhance a smile:

  • Teeth whitening: Great for someone who likes their smile overall but just wants to lighten the color. Of course, one has to be a good candidate for the procedure. The best results come from teeth that are yellow/ orange stained as opposed to translucent grey teeth (hardest to lighten). Your dentist should be able to tell you before you decide to whiten if you can expect good results.
  • Invisalign braces: Great for simple tooth movement. Clear trays that are removable and very effective.
  • Porcelain veneers: Great for someone who wants to change the shape, color and position of their teeth. This porcelain is bonded to the front facing of the tooth and should look natural if the dentist uses and guides the dental lab correctly. You should ask the dentist before you do this procedure to see actual before and after pictures. This procedure can be done in a couple of visits and should be pain-free.

Jennifer Jablow, DDS
New York Dentist

Veneers and Invisalign are great ways to enhance or...

Veneers and Invisalign are great ways to enhance or better your smile.

  • Veneers are porcelain facings that go over the front of the teeth to hide discolorations, crowding, and to change the shape of the teeth.
  • Invisalign is the best way for an adult to go into orthodontics. The system uses trays that are custom fit to your teeth. These trays are clear aligners that align or straighten the teeth over time. It's great for closing spaces and fixing crowded teeth.

Jimmy C. Wu, DDS
San Diego Dentist

Conservative Dentistry is Best!

Always try to do the least you can to get the result you want.  Not only will it save you money and time int he dental chair now, it will lead to less ongoing maintenance, too.  If your teeth are straight, nicely shaped and structurally sound and simply not the color you want, whitening is the ticket!  If they are crooked, but everything else is in order, orthodontics is the way to go.  Structural problems, like significant wear or chipping may necessitate restorations such as veneers or crowns.  If a single tooth is your problem, you can usually treat just the one tooth, though only the best cosmetic dentists are up to the job - it's the hardest thing we do!  Imagine trying to cover a scratch on your wall with one brushstroke of paint.  The hardware store will have a tough time matching your old paint perfectly.  Be sure to discuss ALL your options and get a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of each option.

John Whittemore, DDS
Memphis Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.