Is there something you want to change about your smile?

Everyday life tends to expose teeth to some gnarly wear and tear. You might find your teeth and gums affected by trauma like sporting accidents or taking a spill in the tub. Sometimes your smile changes because of medical conditions or ageing. And, of course, tooth decay and gum disease are the most notorious culprits in wearing down the ol’ pearly whites.

Fit boxer smiling

Regardless of the underlying cause, your dentist can advise ways to change both the look and function of your smile. Here are six common treatments that can change the look of your smile – many of them can even improve your oral health.

1. Crowns

Dental crowns can change your smile by repairing or strengthening damaged or discoloured teeth. They’re fitted over existing tooth structures, helping to restore the tooth’s natural appearance and function. Crowns may also be placed following a root canal treatment or to support a dental bridge.

Crowns are generally made from porcelain or ceramic that's colour-matched to the rest of your teeth for a natural-looking finish. They can also be made from metal with an outer layer of porcelain, or metal alloys.

It normally takes two visits to your dentist to get a crown fitted, not counting any other treatments that may be needed such as a root canal. If your dentist offers same-day crowns, these can be manufactured at the dental clinic and may be placed during a single appointment.

2. Implants*

This is a big one because an implant essentially replaces an entire tooth. Replacing a missing tooth can impact a lot, including your ability to speak and chew, the look of your smile, and your overall health.

So what is a dental implant, exactly? It’s a titanium post placed into your jaw, acting as an artificial tooth root that supports a crown. It offers a more fixed solution compared to something like dentures.

Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. They may not be suitable for you if you have an oral health condition such as gum disease or medical conditions such as diabetes. Smoking can also cause complications with implants and affect recovery times.

3. Bridges

Like implants, bridges can be a way to replace missing teeth. Bridges are basically false teeth attached between two crowns. The teeth on either side of your gap need to be prepped for the crowns, with the bridge cemented into place between them.

While these tend to be less permanent than implants, bridges can be a good option if the teeth near your gap have fillings or will need crowns anyway. If you’re looking to change your smile by replacing missing teeth, a dentist can help you understand whether you should go with bridges, implants or another option.

Want to change your smile? Get in touch with your nearest Bupa Dental clinic.

4. Veneers

Dental veneers are thin restorations added to the front of teeth. A dentist might recommend them if you’re looking to correct small gaps, chips or cracks, discolouration or slightly crooked teeth. Porcelain veneers are custom-made to fit over the teeth, while composite resin veneers are built up in the mouth.

Veneers can be an alternative to teeth whitening or if you also want to change the shape of your teeth. Your dentist can select the veneer material in a colour that matches your natural teeth or in a lighter shade.

While they can be an answer for minor crookedness, your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment instead if you have more serious alignment issues.

5. Orthodontics

You probably knew lots of kids in high school who had braces, but did you know that plenty of adults get orthodontic treatment too? Correcting crooked teeth and misaligned jaws can make it easier to clean your teeth and can have a number of roll-on effects. Plus, visibly straighter teeth can have a big impact on your smile’s appearance.

Braces and aligners move your teeth and jaw into desired positions over time, with regular adjustments being made by your dentist or orthodontist over the course of your treatment. Clear aligners can be a solution for adults who want to change their smile without altering their lifestyle or getting noticeable metal braces.

Your dentist or orthodontist will set the length of your treatment based on how much your teeth and jaw need to move and the type of braces or aligners you choose. Some treatments may be completed in a few months, while others can take a year or more.

6. Whitening

While teeth whitening doesn’t have the same functional or health benefits as other treatments, it’s still one of the most popular services. Teeth whitening treatments use bleaching gels that help to lift stains and remove discolouration from the surface of your teeth. You can receive the treatment in a dental clinic, or your dentist can prepare a take-home kit for you to use over a period of time.

Take-home kits usually include a whitening gel and a tray that should be placed over your teeth for the specified time. Depending on how much whitening you want, you should see results after one to two weeks.

Your dentist will examine your mouth during your appointment and tell you whether whitening would be right for you. Bleaching isn’t effective on all types of discolouration, and your discolouration might be caused by a more serious underlying issue that needs to be treated first. That’s why it’s important to talk to a dentist even if you intend to use an over-the-counter treatment.

Looking to change your smile? Talk to us

Not sure where to start or what you need? Just chat with a dental professional about your concerns. At Bupa Dental, we can walk you through options that are tailored to your individual needs.

Get in touch with your nearest clinic.

* Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.