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Everything You Need to Know for Getting that Perfect Smile


Most of us want to have perfect teeth, but there are very different ideas as to what makes a beautiful smile. For some it will be the brightest and straightest teeth possible, while others will choose to keep minor imperfections such as a slight gap in between their front teeth, feeling it shows some of their personality and character. It is your choice entirely, as a smile is an incredibly personal thing, and although some people may choose to have a complete smile makeover, others will only want to make minor modifications to improve their appearance. Treatment is likely to include one or more of the most popular and most requested procedures. These can include:

  • Professional teeth cleaning
  • Teeth whitening
  • White fillings
  • Gum recontouring
  • Dental bonding and enamel recontouring
  • Porcelain veneers

Planning Your Perfect Smile

Book your consultation with Dr. Jacquie Smiles at her dental clinics located in NYC, NJ and Long Island to help you design a smile that compliments your personality, facial structure, skin tone and gender. This is a skilled process, and for full smile makeovers is likely to follow what are known as the golden proportions. These are measurements found in nature, and which are also used in architecture to help create a balanced and pleasing appearance. Each tooth will be designed to be in proportion to the rest of the teeth using pre-determined ratios. This helps create a perfect yet natural smile that will be uniquely yours. An experienced cosmetic dentist can explain exactly how a particular treatment can help, and will answer all the questions you might have. You’ll also receive a personalized treatment plan, showing the exact costs of each procedure.

If you do intend to have more than one procedure, your dentist will discuss the timing of treatments, as some are better carried out before others. For example, teeth whitening should be done before porcelain veneers, as your dentist will be able to exactly match the porcelain to your newly whitened teeth. It is far more difficult to bleach teeth to match veneers.

Professional Teeth Cleaning

Most people will have their teeth professionally cleaned at each checkup, as this treatment is important for keeping teeth and gums healthy and free from disease. So why is it on this list? The answer is simple, as a professional tooth cleaning helps to remove some of the surface stains on your teeth and has the effect of brightening your smile. Some people may find this is all that is required, but even if this isn’t the case it provides a very good starting point for treatments.

Your hygienist will scrape away all the yellow and hardened tartar from your teeth before polishing them to remove some of the surface stains. Once they have finished your teeth should have an added sparkle, and will feel super clean.

A professional cleaning is very inexpensive, and is likely to be covered by dental insurance as it regarded as being routine preventative care alongside your regular checkups.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most requested cosmetic dental treatments, and can be carried out one of two ways. Dr. Jacquie Smiles can either provide you with custom-made whitening trays and bleaching gel to use at home, or you can whiten in-office in as little as an hour. Call us at [drj_phone location=”nyc”] to request your consultation. We have 12 convinient office locations throughout NYC, New Jersey and Long Island areas.

If you choose to whiten at home then your dentist will custom-make your whitening trays. These will fit closely over your teeth so the bleaching gel cannot leak out. You’ll be provided with the correct strength of whitening gel to use at home, and will be give full instructions on how to use your trays. You will need to use the trays every day, leaving them in for an hour or more, and some people will wear them overnight. You’ll see results within just a few days, but may need to use the trays for a couple of weeks to get the full effects.

If you choose to whiten in-office then treatment will take about an hour, as the gels used are a lot stronger. Your gums will be protected before the gel is painted onto your teeth. It will gently lift surface stains, brightening the color of your teeth by several shades. The gel may need to be reapplied during treatment to continue the process. Afterwards your teeth should look beautifully white, and you’ll be given instructions on how to look after them for the next couple of days. The enamel will be more porous during this time, so it is important to avoid highly colored foods and to follow an all-white diet to avoid staining. After a few days your enamel should be back to normal.

Both methods have their advantages, as whitening slowly at home can help minimize side-effects in sensitive teeth, while whitening in-office provides stunning results that are immediately obvious, and is perfect for a special event. Treatment costs approximately $350 and is not covered by dental insurance as this is purely cosmetic.

The before and after photos show how the effectiveness of tooth whitening, but results can vary according to the natural color of your teeth

White Fillings

Lots of people may have stained white fillings or older style silver colored amalgam fillings. Replacing these with today’s modern composite fillings can brighten up a smile surprisingly well. All fillings need replacing periodically as they do deteriorate with age. Replacing your fillings can help improve appearance while protecting oral health.

Composite white fillings can be used to repair teeth with small to moderate sized cavities. The fillings are placed in just one visit, using local anesthetic. Your dentist will prepare the tooth, removing old fillings or decay, and will select the best colors of composite resin to blend in with your natural tooth. The material is placed in small increments, and is hardened using a special light. Once all the filling material is in place, it is shaped and polished to give a very natural appearance.

White composite resin is not strong enough to replace larger areas of decay in back teeth. Inlays repair the central part of the chewing surfaces of back teeth, while onlays can be used to repair larger areas of decay involving the loss of one or more cusps. The cusps are the raised points of the tooth on the inner and outer edges.

White composite resin fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings as they are technique sensitive. The cost depends on the location and size of the filling. Smaller fillings in front teeth can be relatively inexpensive, and could be covered by your insurance. Fillings in back teeth will cost more, but at least part of the cost might be covered by insurance. White fillings need replacing every few years as they do stain. The cost of white fillings is approximately $100 upwards, depending on their size.

Porcelain fillings are more expensive than composite fillings, costing several hundred dollars or so, but are strong and durable and should last longer than composite fillings, typically ten years or more. Porcelain does not stain or discolor over time. Most types of porcelain fillings require two visits to your dentist, as these restorations are usually made in a dental laboratory.

These pictures show how the use of white fillings can create virtually invisible restorations, especially when used to replace amalgam fillings. Your teeth can be used normally soon after the placement of any type of filling. You might find teeth are slightly more sensitive for the first few days as the fillings settle down.

Gum Recontouring

Some people have what’s known as a “gummy smile” which means too much gum tissue is shown when smiling and talking. Gum recontouring removes excess gum tissue so teeth look longer and more evenly shaped. Your cosmetic dentist in New York can sculpt your gums so they complement the appearance of your teeth. If a substantial amount of gum tissue is removed it may be necessary to veneer or crown the teeth to create an even and pleasing appearance.

Gum recontouring is carried out under local anesthetic, and it does take a few weeks for the gums to heal and for swelling to go down. During this time you’ll need to take care to brush your teeth very gently, and to avoid very hard or crunchy foods.

The cost of gum reshaping can vary according to the amount of tissue requiring removal, but may be approximately $350 per tooth. If more extensive reshaping is required, removing gum and bone tissue, then costs can increase considerably to $1,000-$3,000 per tooth. Gum recontouring for cosmetic purposes is not usually covered by insurance, but if it will benefit your oral health then at least part of the cost could be covered.

These pictures show the dramatic results that can be achieved through gum recontouring, creating a more even and pleasant looking smile.

Dental Bonding and Enamel Recontouring

This process helps to reshape teeth in a way that is very non-invasive, using tooth colored composite resin combined with removing a very tiny amount of tooth enamel to create more pleasing contours. Dental bonding and enamel recontouring can be used to:

  • Hide chips and cracks in teeth
  • Hide stained teeth
  • Mend and lengthen teeth that have become worn down
  • Modify irregularly shaped teeth
  • Close up or minimize gaps in between teeth
  • Correct teeth that are slightly overlapping or out of alignment

Dental bonding and enamel recontouring can often be completed in just one visit to your NYC cosmetic dentist, and it might not even be necessary to have a local anesthetic. Your dentist will reshape your teeth using composite resin where necessary, and will remove a small amount of tooth enamel to give your teeth a more even appearance. Even though the amount of material removed and added is minimal, the results can be stunning. Dental bonding is quick, affordable and non-invasive.

Most people will be able to have this treatment, but your dentist might not recommend it if your tooth enamel is particularly weak or thin as there is the danger that removing more enamel could weaken the tooth too much. In this case your dentist might recommend you have porcelain veneers. The results of treatment should last for several years before it needs to be redone, but eventually composite resin will become stained. Prices can range from approximately $100 per tooth, depending on the amount of work required.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are very thin porcelain shells that are custom-made to fit over the front surface of your tooth, wrapping around to cover the biting edge of the tooth. They can be used to:

  • Hide badly stained teeth
  • Cover up chips or worn areas
  • Close or minimize gaps in between teeth
  • Correct teeth that are slightly out of alignment or which are overlapping
  • Correct the shape of teeth

Most types of veneers require a tiny amount of tooth enamel too be removed so treatment is generally non-reversible. Veneers are very thin, typically 0.5mm or less and might seem quite fragile, but once bonded onto your teeth should be quite strong and resistant to chips and fractures, provided you resist the temptation to use your teeth as tools, and refrain from habits such as nail biting or crunching on ice cubes.

Once your teeth have been prepared, an impression is taken and sent to a dental laboratory. This is used to fabricate your veneers which can be fitted at your next visit. The result should be a perfect smile. It might take a few days to become accustomed to the veneers, and your teeth could feel slightly sensitive until they settle down.

Porcelain veneers can cost anywhere from $900 upwards per tooth. Your dentist can give you a more exact quote during your consultation. With proper care, veneers should last ten years or more before they need replacing. They will not change color or stain so your smile will remain looking as flawless as the day you had them fitted, and these before and after photos show how porcelain veneers can be used to hide various flaws.

To learn more about these procedures or to request your consultation with Dr. Jacquie Smiles, please call our offices at [drj_phone location=”nyc”] or fill out the contact form to receive more information.