October 2014 -

Can I Afford a Beautiful Smile?

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You go to the dentist on a regular basis for checkups and x-rays; you get your teeth cleaned twice a year, and besides an occasional cavity your teeth are in good shape. So why aren’t you completely satisfied? Your smile is not quite as bright or straight as you would like it and you’ve been thinking of what your teeth would look like with a smile makeover, then you start imagining what it would cost and your thoughts dissipate.

Afford Quality DentalMore and more dentists are now in the “Full Smile Makeover” business and that’s great news for you. As more and more dentists enter the field of cosmetic dentistry, competition has driven the cost down and the quality up.  So let’s dive into what a Smile Makeover can do for you?

For starters, a new smile not only makes you feel better, but it also makes others feel good about you. The impact on your social and professional encounters would be greatly enhanced. Whether it’s a date or a job interview, a great smile says a lot about a person. It screams out that you care about your personal appearance and it also translates into your trustworthiness, professionalism, and financial success. Who says a smile isn’t worth a thousand words?

Where do you begin? Here is a checklist to help you sort things out:

  • Get your mind right! Think of your makeover as an investment into your health, professional, and social life. Once you complete your makeover, you and your dentist should come up with a game plan to preserve and maintain your investment (hopefully for the rest of your life).
  • Find the right doctor! You want a COSMETIC dentist NOT a general dentist. Think about it, when you need heart surgery; does your regular doctor do it? Check the credentials of your cosmetic dentist because anyone can label themselves a “cosmetic dentist” and not be truly qualified for the job.
  • Get a second opinion: Don’t settle for the first person you meet but don’t confuse yourself with too many opinions. Do your research on the Dentist prior to making your appointment.
  • Be realistic and manage your expectations. If you have old photos of how your smile used to look and you want to duplicate it, show them to your dentist. It’s also a good idea to bring cut out pictures from magazines or other sources to illustrate to your dentist what you are looking for. Use these tools as a guideline of what you want and let the dentist determine how close he or she can come to your expectations.


The key to a successful cosmetic case is to involve YOU, the patient in the process. Ask for a WAX UP. This is a trial run that allows the patient essentially to “try on” the smile before making a final decision. How does a Wax Up work? Easy, once you and the dentist decide to work together, impressions of your teeth are taken and they are sent off to the lab. There, they will create the ideal smile or follow the prescription the dentist and you agreed on. The dentist will then present you with the WAXUP. If you like the smile design, you will then move to the next phase. The dentist prepares the teeth and places provisional restorations on them. This step is a “test run” so you can see, wear, and feel your new smile outside of the dental office before you make a definitive decision. Generally the doctor wants you to wear the provisionals for 1-2 weeks. Once you decide that this is the smile you’ve always wanted, the doctor then asks the lab to fabricate the final restorations and bring you back to fit and bond the restorations in place.

Once you’ve completed treatment, it is important NOT to skip regular check-ups and cleaning appointments, as this is when the dentist can check to make sure your investment is intact. If there is a problem developing, the doctor can usually catch it early (with x-rays and probing) and fix it before it becomes a big problem.


Full Mouth Make Over’s vary in price. Some factors that determine cost are:

  • How many teeth are involved in the Make Over?
  • Does your Make Over require other specialists such as a Periodontist, Oral Surgeon, or Orthodontist?
  • Missing teeth- will implants be necessary? Will you need surgery to remove teeth?
  • Periodontal disease- will you need extensive gum treatment or surgeries?

When doing an initial consultation, doctors can offer a vague pricing structure based on a visual exam or what you’re asking for. A good financial coordinator will be clear at presenting you with different payment options. Generally, if it’s more than 10 teeth involved, think of it as if you were preparing to purchase a car. The more teeth involved, the more expensive the car. This will help you put things into perspective and give you realistic expectations and avoid a “Sticker Shock” when the fees are presented to you.


I hope this helps with your search for SMILE MAKE OVER options.