First, Take The Time To Plan
If you’re hoping for the perfect smile in time for your wedding, try to give yourself time in advance of the big day – especially if straightening is your first priority. Look at your options, then visit an expert. “Straightening can take up to a year, so you should start the process well ahead of time,” advises Dr Rhona Eskander, cosmetic dentist and owner of Chelsea Dental Clinic. “Whitening takes two to three weeks, depending on how white you want to go. Bonding can only be started two weeks after whitening is finished, as the teeth need time to settle.”
Dr Krystyna Wilczynski, cosmetic dentist at White & Co. Dental agrees: “To plan your smile makeover, you need to allow at least 12 to 18 months. The teeth may be moderately crowded, which would require time to align and straighten. This can be done with conventional fixed braces or Invisalign. If Invisalign is right for you, you need to allow a minimum of six months, although this does depend on the initial state of the teeth. Whitening would ideally be done one month before the wedding and topped up three or four days prior to the big day.”
Consider Different Straightening Options
“Fixed braces, which can go on the outside or the inside of the teeth, cost between £3,000 and £15,000 depending on the clinician, complexity of the case, and the experience of the dentist,” says Dr Rhona. “Invisalign is another option – this is a series of clear plastic trays (aligners) used to move the teeth. Each aligner is worn for 22 hours a day and only taken out to eat and drink. Fees usually start at £4,500 upwards for Invisalign. These ‘braces’ are less invasive and more discrete than other options. They can easily be removed before your wedding day if you’re not finished with the straightening, and simply resumed once it’s over.”
Be Careful With Whitening
Dr Rhona says: “If you can, opt for a deep clean with the hygienist, and see if they use a technology known as EMS – it involves a gentle stain removal and zero pain. Try to use non-abrasive stain removing toothpastes, too. Parla toothpaste tabs are incredible. They are naturally whitening, designed by dentists and also eco-friendly. Lots of toothpastes on the market are too abrasive – they can permanently damage your teeth. For the best results, you need a certain level of peroxide, which can only be legally prescribed by a dentist. Ideally, clients would undergo a clean via EMS, then try home whitening or in-chair Zoom whitening (this takes 90 minutes). To maintain your brighter teeth, brush with the Parla toothpaste tabs.”
Dr Krystyna adds: “Make sure you have regular hygienist visits, and limit coffee, cigarettes and red wine in the lead-up time to your wedding. Go for a 45-minute professional dental bleaching or use at-home whitening trays in the last two weeks.”
Look At Veneers
“Many brides opt for veneers to help give them perfect bridal teeth. These are thin shells of ceramic, which are glued onto the teeth. They involve a smile-design process where the look is designed beforehand, bespoke to your face and mouth,” says Dr Rhona.
Dr Krystyna adds that porcelain veneers generally provide a better look than ceramic, as the latter can stain over time. “Porcelain veneers are a better long-term option because, if made beautifully and natural-looking, they will retain their look for up to 20 years. It’s also much healthier for your gums (as long as it is properly placed and correct tooth reduction is done). Well-placed porcelain veneers, in a stable and gentle bite, can last a long time before needing to be replaced.”
Dr Rhona also warns: “Ceramic is long-lasting too, but it does involve some destruction to the existing tooth surface. That said, ceramic can be made very thin and requires minimal prep if the teeth are well aligned. If your teeth are crooked or the bite is wrong, orthodontics should be considered first.”
Touch Up With Cosmetic Bonding
“Bonding is a white filling or resin placed on the teeth. It can be added to just the edges or the whole surface – the latter being known as composite veneers. But bonding is much more prone to chipping and staining and requires frequent repairs,” warns Dr Rhona.
Dr Krystyna adds: “Recently, there’s been a move away from porcelain veneers towards bonding, which uses composite resin to add to, or fully cover teeth to improve your smile. Composite resin can be used as an alternative to porcelain and, in many cases, creates the same results.”
“If you don’t plan on whitening your teeth, the edge bonding should be matched to your existing colour. And if people wish to go whiter, they need to consider full coverage composite bonding or ceramic veneers,” says Dr Rhona. “At our clinic, ‘The Chelsea Look’ mimicks the perfect-imperfect smile: dentistry so good you won’t even know it’s there. In these cases, we create minor imperfections, so people don’t even realise they’re veneers. Remember, people think bonding is reversible, but it’s not. Edge bonding is pretty reversible in the sense that it’s easy to remove and maintain, but full coverage is like having acrylic put on your nails. Removal will require drills and some damage to the underlying surface.”
“Bonding composite resins and their ability to mimic natural shiny tooth enamel have improved greatly over the last 10 to 15 years, and now these materials can, in some cases, look as good as porcelain veneers. They often don’t require much, or any, tooth reduction as the material is applied like a thick paint or putty and can be kept very thin. It doesn’t normally require a dental ceramic technician to construct the veneer either, and therefore saves both the patient and dentist time and money,” advises Dr Krystyna.
Correct Larger Issues With Implants
If an entire tooth is missing, your best option is to go for an implant. “Implants are surgically placed restorations which replace a missing tooth. They are placed into the jawbone where they fuse with the surrounding tissue for a permanent tooth replacement,” explains Dr Krystyna.
Dr Rhona adds: “A screw is placed into the jaw where the tooth is missing, it integrates into the bone and once healed, a crown, also known as a ‘cap’, is placed onto the screw to look like a tooth.”
Don’t Forget The Maintenance
“Once you’ve achieved your perfect smile, make sure you see a dentist and hygienist biannually for maintenance. They will remove stains and polish up any restorations. Use a fluoride non-abrasive, naturally whitening toothpaste and floss daily and use tepe brushes or consider using an air flosser such as a Water Pik. Ideally, you want to remove plaque with an electric toothbrush such as Philips Sonicare,” advises Dr Rhona.
Dr Krystyna agrees: “Regular dental and hygienist checks are extremely important to maintain new teeth. Be sure to wear your retainers to stop any relapse and return for regular professional whitening to maintain the colour.”