It could be the smallest of niggles: one wonky incisor ruining an otherwise military line up of gnashers, or that dead tooth that’s been dull and lifeless since it was right-hooked by a hockey stick, but many of us are still on the quest for the perfect, Hollywood smile.
Braces are an option, but they're a pretty dramatic move (not to mention investment) unless a serious shift is needed. And if discolouration is your issue there are whitening kits galore available, but they’ll never match up to an experts touch. But what are the options for just a tweak to tidy things up?
Cosmetic dentistry is where you want to start. It’s where things get detailed, personalised and - drumroll please - affordable! 'The common misconception is that perfecting your teeth is very invasive and expensive” says cosmetic dentist Dr Rhona Eskander, 'you don’t have to have your teeth cut down or veneered to achieve it'.
So, rather than spending your life savings on and two years in irritating braces, try one of these tooth tweakments on for size...
Ideal if you’ve got teeth that are slightly misshapen (chipped or fang-like), overcrowded or a little gappy. You know like that one little guy that’s decided he wants to overlap all of the others? Yeah, that one.
'Bonding can improve the smile in a very conservative way', says Dr Nina Bal, Cosmetic Dental Surgeon and Facial Aesthetics Doctor, 'without going through braces, veneers or crowns'. Colour-matched resin is placed on top of the natural tooth (it’s recommended whitening is done first, so all the teeth end up a preferable shade of white), and fixed on to mask chips and fill gaps.
If you’re considering braces to pull in a couple of wonky teeth, this could be the answer to your worries. The process is pain free, can be done on just one troublesome tooth or across many, and you’re in and out in one sitting.
Composite bonding from £400 per tooth with Dr Nina BOOK HERE
If you’ve got that one tooth that’s died a death and turned a miserable shade of grey, internal bleaching can save the day. 'Firstly a root canal needs to be performed on it (to fix the cause), then peroxide based materials are inserted to whiten the tooth from the inside out', says Dr Rhona. The process might be more invasive that traditional whitening, but results are longer lasting and more effective for this problem.
Treatment from £350 per tooth with Dr Rhona BOOK HERE
Receding gums can be caused by over brushing (often on one side more than the other, depending on if you’re left or right handed), brushing incorrectly, or gum disease. As the gums recede, much more of your tooth and the root is exposed, making it not only sensitive but also sometimes very lopsided and unsightly. To replace the departed gum and bring the line back to where it was, a graft can pull tissue from somewhere else in the mouth (usually the hard palate) and transferred and stitched into the area of recession.
If you have the opposite problem of a ‘gummy smile’ (where your grin is more gum than tooth) dentists can use a laser-based technique to gently and safely lift the gum, exposing more of your pearly whites.
Gum grafting from £400, laser from £500
You can brush and floss and avoid coffee and use those weird strips all you like, but sometimes to get those teeth seriously sparkling only a trip to the dentist will do.
There are some routes to a whiter smile that mean a little patience (take-home moulds for example), but if time isn’t on your side treatments such as Airflow sparkle and polish - an advanced teeth hygiene procedure that uses high-speed bicarbonate powder to remove stains, plaque and tartar and polish them - can be done in one session, with instant results. You can be in and out, dirty-yellow to bright-white, within the hour.