A smile you would like improved?
Studies have shown that an attractive smile is an important factor in building self-esteem.(1, 2) In addition, a healthy smile promotes a positive self-image and increases confidence. Unfortunately, some people feel self-conscious about their teeth, to the point that they refuse to smile for photos.
If you are unhappy with your smile, you may want to speak to your dentist about possible solutions. On this page, we describe the most common complaints people have about their smile, and list some of the available options to help treat them.
Teeth can become discoloured for a number of reasons, including tobacco, different foods and drinks, medications, genetics, ageing, and poor oral hygiene. If your teeth are discoloured to the point that if affects your self-esteem, you may want to consider whitening options:
- Porcelain veneers thin covers that are placed over the front of your existing teeth to change their shape and provide a whiter appearance.
- In-home whitening gels are used with a special mould of your teeth, once a day for up to two weeks.
- In-office whitening, conducted by a dentist, produces the whitening results in one session.
You can read more details about teeth whitening on our pages “Broken tooth or filling?” and “Discoloured, chipped, worn or crooked teeth?”
There are a number of options to treat chipped teeth, including:
- Porcelain veneers, as mentioned earlier, can change the shape of the front of your teeth, hiding any chips.
- Porcelain crowns are similar to veneers, but they cover the whole tooth instead of just the front.
- Composite bonding, is like a filling, but instead of going into a cavity inside your tooth they are used to re-build chips on the outside of your teeth.
- Depending on the severity of the chips, your teeth may need to be replaced with a prosthetic or implant.
You can read more details about broken or chipped teeth on our pages “Broken tooth or filling?” and “Discoloured, chipped, worn or crooked teeth?”.
Crooked smile or gaps between teeth
It is perfectly normal to have gaps between your teeth, but if gaps are causing you self-esteem issues you may want to consider finding a solution:
- Porcelain veneers, as mentioned earlier, can also be used to fill-in any gaps between your teeth.
- Composite bonding: Composite bonding involves filling in the gaps with a material that sticks to your existing teeth, similar to a filling.
- Dental Braces: Braces can reposition teeth in your jaw, correcting crooked or overly spaced teeth.
- Dental implants: Dental implants can help fill large gaps, usually due to missing teeth.
- Surgery: If the gaps between your teeth are due to an abnormal frenulum, you may consider having it surgically removed by a procedure called a frenectomy.
You can read more details on when and how you can fix gaps between your teeth on our page “An Unsightly Gap?”
If you are unhappy about your smile for any reason, your dentist can help you choose a customised solution that is sure to get you smiling again!
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- Van der Geld P, Oosterveld P, Van Heck G, Kuijpers-Jagtman AM. Smile attractiveness. Self-perception and influence on personality. The Angle orthodontist. 2007;77(5):759-65.
- Malkinson S, Waldrop TC, Gunsolley JC, Lanning SK, Sabatini R. The effect of esthetic crown lengthening on perceptions of a patient’s attractiveness, friendliness, trustworthiness, intelligence, and self-confidence. Journal of periodontology. 2013;84(8):1126-33.