Along with a perfect wedding, many brides also want a perfect smile. When making appointments this summer for dress alterations, floral arrangements, and reception details, schedule a dental visit too, suggests the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education.
"Schedule a thorough check-up and cleaning at least a year before the wedding," says Paula S. Jones, DDS, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. "If you're unhappy with your smile, your dentist will have enough time to perfect your teeth by the wedding."
Several options exist to correct the shape, color, alignment and look of teeth. New and improved smiles don't happen overnight; timing needs to be considered. Veneers and bleaching can take up to two weeks to two month and braces can take from one to two years.
Have procedures completed at least two months in advance, in case problems need to be corrected, and so the mouth has time to adjust to cosmetic changes, advises Dr. Jones.
In addition to cosmetic appearance, consider breath. "What could be worse than saying ‘I do‘ with dragon breath," says Dr. Jones. Try a piece of sugarless gum, breath mint or chewing a piece of parsley.
Is your smile camera ready? Take perfect wedding photos:
The way the head is held changes appearance of front teeth. Teeth are shadowed most of the time by the lips. When you lean your head down, your upper teeth generally appear longer than they really. If your head is tilted back, your upper teeth appear shorter.
Do not request from your dentist upper teeth that are "perfectly straight-across." They can look worn and give an older appearance in photos.
If you have a metal filling or crown, alert the photographer. They can photograph teeth from a different angle that will not reveal them. If not, negatives can often be touched up so that metal does not show.
Cosmetic Procedures - Are your teeth a candidate?
Dentist Supervised Bleaching (power, laser, at-home) - Safely lightens the color of teeth due to darkening from age, coffee, tea or smoking. (1-2 months)
Dentist determines if patient is a candidate for bleaching
Options include power, laser, or at home bleaching
Patient needs to be custom fitted for mouthguard for at home procedures
Results can last from 1-5 years
Braces - Correct crooked, crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position and disorders of the jaw joints. (18-20 months)
The more complicated spacing or problem the longer period of treatment
A retainer must be worn following braces.
Bridges - Replaces one or more natural missing teeth by cementing a false tooth (a pontic) fused between two crowns onto the surrounding teeth. (2-4 weeks)
Dentist has to take an impression of the teeth.
It might take longer than 4 weeks for the dentist to match the natural shade of teeth.
Composite Resin (White Filling) Amalgam (Silver Filling - Both restore decayed areas. Amalgam is the "traditional" silver filling, and a composite resin can look identical to actual teeth. (2-3 weeks)
Depending on location and size of cavity, a composite resin will take at least a half hour longer.
Crowns - Covers or "caps" broken, cracked, badly shaped, or severely discolored teeth to restore it's normal shape and size. (2-3 months)
Impression of tooth needs to be taken.
Veneers - Used to mask discoloration and to improve the smile (4-5 months)
Three appointments are needed: diagnosis, preparation, bonding
Tooth surface is reduced slightly
Ultra thin shells of ceramic material are bonded to front teeth
Bonding - Used for slightly discolored teeth and those in need of reshaping (one-three office visits)
Procedure same as veneers, but a composite resin is used instead of porcelain