Many Options for Smile Enhancement
Question: “Dr. Arnold, I’ve never been happy with the appearance of my teeth. What options do I have for improving my smile?”
Answer: There are many options for improving one’s smile. Which option is most appropriate for you depends completely upon the condition of your teeth and your objectives. Seeing a dentist for a consultation and comprehensive examination is the first step in determining what your specific options are, but I will try to shed some light on some of the more common smile enhancement treatment modalities.
The ultimate goal should be to achieve the desired results in the most conservative manner possible. Sometimes whitening the teeth is all that is needed to help a patient smile more. Sometimes straightening the teeth with conventional braces or Invisalign orthodontic treatment is the best option. Both of these treatment modalities are conservative in that they don’t require reshaping the teeth.
For people who have “gummy smiles”, laser recontouring of the gum tissue can sometimes give them a dramatic result. Sometimes “lifting” the gums a bit can give the teeth a longer appearance, and improving the gingival symmetry can also be esthetically beneficial. Cosmetic bonding is a conservative solution to chipped or stained front teeth.
When none of these options yield the desired results, porcelain veneers can often improve aesthetically compromised smiles. They commonly help to correct stained, chipped, crooked, gapped, and cracked teeth, along with many other issues associated with unattractive smiles. This is a great option for many people, but it’s not a “one size fits all” solution.
In the majority of cases, some tooth structure must be removed in order to create space for the porcelain. The amount of tooth reshaping needed completely depends upon the case, position of the teeth, and the amount of decay or previous restorative material in the teeth in question.
It is important that you discuss your concerns and goals with your dentist in order to facilitate achieving an excellent result. With good communication and thorough planning, you should love your new smile.
Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Chesterton and Valparaiso. He is also a clinical mentor with the Hornbrook Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics as the Fellowship Chairman. You may send questions to his office at: 1830 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304 or email them to: drarnold@SmilesByArnold.com. More information on this or many other dental topics can be found at www.SmilesByArnold.com.