What you need to know about pre-wedding cosmetic dentistry

If you’re considering a smile makeover before the big day, there’s a host of options that’ll have you flashing your pearly whites in no time

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There’s so much more to dentistry than the standard six-monthly check-up and scale and polish. If your big day is on the horizon and you’re already practising poses for the wedding photos, you may be considering a cosmetic upgrade to your gnashers if your teeth have been niggling at your confidence.

Possibly your teeth could be brightened up a shade or two? Perhaps you’ve decided that now is the time to go for more dramatic procedures, and explore the world of veneers and dental implants?

Remember when we first saw the sparkling new chompers of a certain Cheryl Cole (as she was then)? It was quite a transformation from the wonky grin of her Girls Aloud days. Since then, it has become pretty much impossible to turn on the TV without someone’s blindingly white teeth dazzling you. That’s partly down to the fact that it is now a lot easier for everyone, not just pop royalty, to get a brighter smile.

Your own dentist can create a safe-to-use home-whitening kit that’s bespoke to you. “The process can be carried out at the practice, with Zoom Power Whitening, or at home,” says Dr Elaine Halley of Cherrybank Dental Spa, which has branches in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth. “If you opt for the whitening to be done at home, the dentist will make bespoke plastic covers for your teeth. You put the whitening gel into these covers, which you then wear each day, usually for half an hour to an hour.”

Before and after shots of a patient at Cherrybank Dental Spa who underwent professional whitening for staining to her teeth as well as treatment to improve the shape and overall appearance of her smile (cherrybankdentalspa.com)

Before and after shots of a patient at Cherrybank Dental Spa who underwent professional whitening for staining to her teeth as well as treatment to improve the shape and overall appearance of her smile

Don’t be tempted to dabble in your own teeth-whitening methods or buy some dodgy kit off the internet. Lacklustre results are the best you could hope for; you also run the risk of burnt gums. A properly trained professional dentist will control the strength of the whitening gel to prevent damage to your teeth and gums, at the same time ensuring it is potent enough for your specific needs. “And we can provide different formulations of gel, depending on how sensitive your teeth are,” explains Dr Halley.

Whitening gives good results fairly quickly, according to Dr Agnieszka Milbauer of Your Perfect Smile Dental Clinic in Aviemore and Grantown-on-Spey. “It will require two to three weeks, but you could opt for power whitening if you’re in rush,” she explains. For the best results, have your teeth whitened after a trip to the hygienist. “It is worth seeing a hygienist in advance to remove any superficial stains, making the treatment more effective,” says Dr Halley.

Remember those romantic moments in high school? So many teens have braces that it’s no big deal – but could you be bothered with the hassle once you’ve left puberty behind? Would invisible braces sound more appealing? These really do exist, and with them you could have a straighter smile in a matter of months.

There are many options to realign teeth, from invisible braces like Invisalign to clear fixed braces. As you’d expect, treatment depends on how much straightening is required. Invisalign is a system that uses a series of nearly invisible, removable aligners that are custom-made for your teeth.

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You replace each aligner every two weeks with a slightly adjusted shape, allowing your teeth to move little by little, week by week, gradually settling into a final position that’s been worked out by computer. If you want to straighten your teeth, begin the process well in advance of your wedding. “We’d recom­mend you start at least nine months to a year ahead of the big day,” advises Dr Halley.

If all the general wedding prep is encouraging you to make even more drastic changes to your smile, there are several options you might want to consider. Dental implants are one way of replacing any missing or badly damaged teeth, while dental veneers could help you get closer to a Hollywood smile. And it usually takes less time than you think, with a completion date of around six weeks. “Veneers can be used to create really white, bright teeth and a natural healthy smile,” says Dr Halley. “The process of deciding if they are the right option for you should start with digital smile design.”

You may have questions about which treatment is best for you (and which you can afford when your wedding budget is being stretched in all directions!). Don’t forget that a good brushing can still do wonders for your smile. “The value of a good clean and diamond polish from a hygienist should never be underestimated,” says Dr Halley. “It can help to remove stubborn stains and bring back the sparkle.” Ready? Say cheese!