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Planning Your Wedding Day Smile – Smile Makeover

One tradition that has become universal in many cultures is photographing the event for the express purpose of recording forever the magic of a wedding day. Whether bride or groom, you’ll want to look your best and in the midst of all the preparations and the stress involved, you’ll want to consider planning to look your best as far ahead of time as possible.

Anything related to appearance and health, whether oral or general, might just require more time and planning than you think. Whether it be shedding a few extra pounds, quitting smoking or other life style changes, try to see them in the broader context of a long term health strategy. Make sure the changes you want to undergo to enhance yourself for the day, go into making your marriage a more healthy and fruitful long term venture in which you as a couple invest in yourselves and in each other. Envision how you see yourself and take the steps necessary to achieve realistic objectives.


Your general dentist is a good place to start to consider the best overall approach to smile enhancement and healthy teeth. If you don’t have one, find someone you are comfortable with. You can call specialists in your area and ask who they would recommend for cosmetic dentistry or speak to your friends and discuss their experiences. If you have a dentist, he can inform you of the variety of treatments, therapies and procedures to enhance your smile. Very often form follows function “if something looks right it probably is right, so if you’re going to change one or more elements of your smile it needs to be planned. Part of planning is figuring out what needs to be changed, and part of that is assessing or diagnosing how you are now,” the starting point for change. Another thing to remember is that the bigger the change you want to make the longer it’s likely to take.

Let’s look at some of the most innovative and effective techniques available to make your wedding day pictures eternally memorable and the timing considerations involved.


You can’t get more basic than this! Get your teeth professionally cleaned for removal of unwanted stains and to freshen your breath so that all is spic and span for your wedding day spotlight pictures. Keep it that way with daily effective bacterial plaque control. Make sure you schedule an appointment with your dentist or dental hygienist well ahead of time so you’re guaranteed an appointment for a dental cleaning.

  • Length of Procedure — usually 45 to 60 minute appointments
  • Number of Visits — 1 or more cleanings depending on how much stain and tartar there is and how long since your last cleaning
  • Anesthesia — may need surface (topical) or local anesthesia (injection) if your teeth are sensitive or if a deeper cleaning is needed
  • Duration of Results — you should have cleanings every 3 to 6 months depending on your individual situation
  • Recovery time — none
  • Risks — none


Whiter, brighter, lighter….. If you like everything about your teeth except the color, whitening by bleaching may be the solution for you. A professional “in-office” dental procedure offers the advantage of being quicker and more predictable, while an “at-home” kit may brighten your smile by several shades, but requires more time. Both are safe, effective and reasonable!

  • Length of Procedure — usually 60 minutes in-office while at-home whitening requires 30 min/day for several weeks until shade is achieved (2 weeks min.)
  • Number of Visits — 1 or 2 depending on amount of whitening needed
  • Anesthesia — none
  • Duration of Results — depending on your individual situation regarding variables such as diet, tobacco use, wine consumption, and original tooth color
  • Recovery time — none
  • Risks — infrequent thermal sensitivity lasting 1 to 4 days


Oh James! Before you truly “bond” with your spouse to be, make sure those little chips on your front teeth or broken discolored old fillings are replaced with the latest tooth colored bonding materials. This procedure provides life-like restoration of teeth with “high tech” materials that bond and become part of the teeth themselves while retaining the same light transmitting properties of tooth enamel. You’ll never know that they’re not yours. This is a same day procedure, but make sure you schedule a dental exam so that your dentist can tell you how much time is needed for a bonding appointment.

  • Length of Procedure — depending on the size of surface area that needs to be repaired, expect 45 to 60 minutes per tooth.
  • Number of Visits — one visit
  • Anesthesia — usually unnecessary but local anesthesia is available on request
  • Duration of Results — varies depending on your diet
  • Recovery time — none
  • Risks — bonding could be damaged during the chewing of hard foods


By definition, a veneer is “a thin outer covering, a deceptively attractive outer show.” If necessary let them work for your wedding day smile. This is a great and effective way to change the shape and color of darkened or otherwise unsightly teeth and not for just an hour or a day, but always. Veneers require reducing the outer enamel shell of the teeth and replacing them with glass — like porcelain recreating nature’s artistry and giving you exactly the look and color you desire. Allow at least three months for the veneers to be tested in the temporary stage, so that the finals are just right.

  • Length of Procedure — depends on the number of teeth needing veneers
  • Number of Visits — two to four visits including the examination
  • Anesthesia — topical anesthesia or local anesthesia but may not be needed
  • Duration of Results — can last 10 to 15 years with proper dental maintenance
  • Recovery time — none
  • Risks — in rare situations, temporary thermal sensitivity


A crown or “cap” is generally required when a tooth has been ravaged by decay and is best “restored” by placing a crown. A crown can also be used for cosmetic purposes improving both color and shape. For missing teeth, a bridge may be a little less expensive and possibly more expedient than implants. A bridge includes two abutments (or pillars) to which a false tooth (pontic) is attached. Crown and bridgework looks and functions quite naturally.

  • Length of Procedure — 1 to 3 hours depending on the number of teeth involved
  • Number of Visits — multiple visits, however plan for 1 to 4 months to be safe
  • Anesthesia — usually local anesthetics
  • Duration of Results — can last on average 10 to 20 years depending on periodontal health and proper maintenance
  • Recovery time — minimal
  • Risks — slight thermal sensitivity (up to a few weeks)


Has dentistry really outdone nature? Natural looking and functional stand alone tooth replacement systems consist of an implant — a root replacement which permanently joins to the bone and to which a crown is attached. Just like the teeth you see in your mouth, but unlike natural teeth, they won’t decay or develop gum disease. Dental implants take planning and time (3 to 12 months) to provide permanent tooth replacements.

  • Length of Procedure — 1 to 3 hours depending on the number of implants placed. Crown(s) on implants are separate appointments (at least 3)
  • Number of Visits — multiple visits including post operative checks
  • Anesthesia — usually only local anesthetic
  • Duration of Results — implants can last your lifetime
  • Recovery time — 1 to 3 days requiring minor non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, analgesic medication (Ibuprofen) and antibiotics
  • Risks — are few but include anything from infection to failure and more. Discuss with your dentist all of the risks, benefits and alternatives that are necessary as with any surgical procedure.