A smile makeover involves reconstructing all of the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws through the use of restorative materials like crowns, bridges, veneers and dentures. A smile makeover can be a necessary treatment performed to preserve the patient’s oral health.
This treatment may be performed on patients who have missing or severely damaged teeth caused by:
- Injury or fracture
- Acid erosion
- Tooth grinding
Missing teeth often leads to serious dental problems and can significantly inhibit a patient’s ability to eat and speak. It is important to seek restorative treatment for any missing teeth, but especially when most or all of the teeth are damaged.
Smile Makeover Options
There are many different treatment options available for patients requiring reconstruction. Each type of dental restoration offers its own benefits and several treatments may be combined to complete smile makeover or full mouth reconstruction.
There is a wide variety of prosthetic materials that are commonly used to replace damaged or missing teeth. These materials may be permanently implanted or glued to the mouth or can be removable and temporary. They may replace individual teeth, a few teeth or all of the teeth. Some of these options may include:
Dental crowns are individual prosthetic teeth used to replace missing or severely damaged teeth. Crowns are implanted into the jawbone with a titanium implant root or placed with cement as a cap over an existing tooth. The actual crown can be made from metal, porcelain or a combination of the two and provide a natural looking and feeling replacement. Crowns provide a strong, sturdy, aesthetically pleasing replacement that can withstand the same pressures as a regular tooth, letting patients enjoy the convenience of eating, speaking and smiling without any problems.
Dental bridges replace missing teeth with a short row of prosthetics that rely on the strength of surrounding teeth and help stabilize the bite. Bridges also help keep surrounding teeth from moving into the open space of the missing tooth. The surrounding teeth are prepared for the bridge, which is then attached to the teeth. Bridges can be permanent or removable and provide a restored function and appearance.
Veneers are shells made from composite or porcelain that fit over the natural teeth to provide a white, even, full smile and can cover up crooked, chipped or discolored teeth. They are bonded to the front of the tooth after the tooth has been buffed in preparation of the veneer, which is then bonded to the teeth with an etching solution and special light. Veneers typically last for 10 to 15 years and are more durable and less expensive than other materials. Veneers are a cosmetic enhancement and cannot replace missing teeth.
Dentures are for people who have lost many or all of their teeth and are usually used to replace an entire arch of teeth. Dentures can be removable or fixed, and partial or full, depending on each patient’s needs and preferences. Dentures can be treated just like natural teeth but require special care and adjustment when they are removable.
Dental implants are small titanium screws that are drilled into the jaw bone to replace missing teeth. The implant serves as the root of a replacement tooth and can be covered by a crown, bridge or dentures to provide a natural-looking replacement for the missing tooth. The implant is first placed into the jaw and then allowed to fuse with the bone before the prosthetic is placed on top. Implants provide long-lasting support that most closely replaces the individual strength and stability of the natural teeth.
A smile makeover is a complicated procedure that involves multiple office visits and can take up to a year or longer to complete, depending on each patient’s individual case. A customized treatment plan for each individual patient will be developed with the dentist, to help regain a healthy smile.