At SmilesNY, New York cosmetic dentist Dr. Timothy Chase does countless smile makeovers a year. He has seen firsthand how the power of an upgraded smile can completely transform a person’s face. Many times, his patients are unaware of the anti-aging benefits and often say they wish they had acted sooner. Here, he shares the top ways a new smile can turn back the clock and the treatments that go into his most transformative procedure.
How can teeth whitening give your smile a younger look?
“As we age, naturally, people’s teeth do become darker because they lose the thickness of enamel over time, which allows more of the dark interior of the tooth to show through. The teeth get a little dull, also. When we’re younger, we don’t drink the things you shouldn’t drink much of, like soda, red wine or too much coffee. So, as we age, drinking all those substances or smoking stains the teeth over time.
The at-home whitening treatments people tend to use employ different types of peroxide to remove the surface stains and even some of the intrinsic staining from inside the teeth, and that does allow the enamel to become just a little bit whiter than its original color. But at-home treatments aren’t really whitening your teeth to their full potential. At our office we use ZOOM Whitening, which takes about an hour to get as many as 10 shades lighter. We also make at-home trays so they can continue to whiten after the process.”
When looking at a smile, what are the characteristics other people usually see that contribute to our attractiveness?
“Tooth size and tooth shape, any crookedness or asymmetries, and the amount of gum and tooth that show when you’re smiling, when you’re not smiling, and when you’re speaking. Symmetry is really what makes the smile look beautiful.
If someone has an asymmetric smile that is eye-catching, what we try to do is make the center of the mouth as symmetrical as possible. It then becomes less and less important as you zoom out from the smile and take in all their features. But, if you have one dark front tooth and one light front tooth, for example, something like that will certainly stand out. If the front teeth aren’t perfectly up and down or if you’re showing too much gum, that will stand out as well. If you have small teeth or you don’t show teeth at all, just making some improvements with cosmetic dentistry can correct all these issues and make the wearer look ten times more attractive just by fixing their smile concerns.”
What are some ways you can improve someone’s smile in just one or two visits?
“The interesting thing about the process that we do here is that we can rebuild an entire mouth in as little as two visits. We start by taking digital models using a dental scanner and then have our laboratory create the ideal smile and a three-dimensional model of what the ‘after’ teeth can look like. The next visit we can then prepare your teeth.
If you need veneers or a full-mouth smile makeover, we can do it in as little as three visits. So that’s exciting since many things have become digitized. The process has become so streamlined and we can match exactly what it is that our patients desire.”
What is the most important part of getting a smile makeover right?
“Communication. One of the things about our process that we’ve perfected over the last 30 years is that we interview our patients to get a really good idea of what it is that they’re looking for. Whether it’s shade, shape, or design, we believe it’s important to be on the same page before we ever get started.
Just last week, I did two cases where people had spaces in between their two front teeth, but they wanted to maintain that while still improving their smile. It’s fun to build an imperfectly perfect smile. They wanted to maintain their own individual characteristics that made up their smile, but they also wanted their teeth to be whiter and more perfect while retaining their own identity. That’s fun to do and that comes with proper communication and understanding that the patient interview is so important to visualize and concept what it is that they’re looking for.”
What do you wish more people knew about getting a smile makeover?
“It’s easier, especially with our processes, than people would believe. Most patients, once it’s done say, ‘I wish I did this sooner.’”
What treatment combination typically makes the biggest impact?
“The most common treatments that make the biggest impact are gum lifts and veneers. We also improve smiles by aligning the teeth, adding length to them, and improving brightness and color. There are times when Invisalign, along with teeth whitening, can have tremendous effects and give someone a sparkling, new smile. So, it varies from person to person.
What doesn’t vary is our approach. Some people have a really wide smile. Other people have a really narrow smile and that has to do with lip mobility and fullness and how prominent the teeth are within your smile. Creating the perfect, balanced, symmetrical presentation is important. We take all those things into account, and if you want that really beautiful, natural-looking smile, you have to make sure that the lip line looks great, and that the gum line looks great. If all those three things are harmonious, they flow together. That’s when you get that unbelievably good look and smile.”
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