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Smile makeovers – life changing, life enhancing and a showcase for your skills

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  Posted by: The Probe      8th February 2021

Cosmetic dentistry can change lives. If a patient leaves the practice looking like a better version of themselves, they will feel like a better version of themselves, too. Facing the world with a beautiful smile that makes them happy will boost their mental health and wellbeing. Self-confidence, self-esteem and all relationships can be completely transformed, and this is the true power of a smile makeover.

Life seen through a screen

If you have had more enquires about smile makeovers, this should not come as a surprise, considering the amount of time we now spend looking at ourselves on a screen. A patient might tell you how, during every Zoom meeting, they are constantly distracted by something that really bothers them about their smile and affects their level of participation. When it comes to selfies, the number of retouching apps available indicates how important it is for people to look good in them; a survey found that 45% of adolescent girls admitted used a retouching app or filter to improve their appearance in photos for posting on social media.[i]

In fact, the modern patient who has decided to invest in cosmetic dentistry is more likely to show you a selfie and point out what they’d like improving, rather than a celebrity smile that they want you to emulate. They are often clear about what they don’t want, too. For most, the key is that the result looks natural, as well as beautiful, so people ask them, “You look amazing! But what is different about you?”. Obtrusive treatment that does not “fit” the face is not what the modern patient aspires to.

Smile makeovers are a growing area and a showcase for the wide range of skills, expertise and knowledge that dentists have. A smile makeover combines technical expertise with artistry; successful, enduring treatment happens when the dentist has allied aesthetic expectations with solutions for any functional concerns.

Planning and communication, the foundation of success

A good outcome relies on good planning and this is why smile design is an essential part of a patient’s journey. When their journey begins with you both focusing on the destination, you can decide the best way to get there.

But that’s not the only benefit of smile simulations. They make treatment predictable and can start enlightening conversations; people are often unaware of how simply and ethically a life-changing result can be achieved and how much the latest techniques have made possible. Whether the treatment plan will involve just one, or a combination of minimally invasive procedures, a smile makeover now means a naturally enhanced appearance, delivered efficiently with limited prep and removal of healthy tooth structure.

A simulation of their new smile will limit the risk of patient dissatisfaction. With smile design, you can encourage positive communication and deeper engagements, adding value to their overall experience. You can discuss how, although the goal is aesthetic improvement, the teeth still need to perform important functions for years to come, so you must factor in things like any tooth wear detected on occlusal surfaces. Effective communication before treatment has begun allows you to gain consent from an informed patient who shares your vision and becomes an empowered partner in a successful outcome. Happy patients grow practices and spread positive word of mouth; the fear of a complaint is a significant cause of professional stress in dentistry, so do all you can to manage expectations and avoid a compliant or worse.

A bespoke smile makeover that encompasses the aesthetic and the functional will be thoroughly planned, with all options considered. A great cosmetic dentist will know that if the desired solution can be achieved with just whitening, this is what should be recommended. Equally, you might discuss how several more complex treatments will be required to create the smile of their dreams. A great cosmetic dentist will look at each case and only offer what is appropriate and correct. Smile simulation as part of each patient’s journey underlines how the “perfect” smile is one that is individual and unique.

To elevate your cosmetic practice, and learn more about smile design, consider joining the BACD, an inclusive community of professionals committed to maintaining and raising standards of clinical excellence in this area. BACD dentists pride themselves on offering safe and ethical smile makeovers that are beautiful, functional and long-lasting. Via the BACD website, members can also access quality learning, including an insightful webinar on smile design, presented by Dr Sam Jethwa.

We should never underestimate the emotional impact of a successful smile makeover. Smile design allows us to work with our patients and choose the right path in order to reach the desired end result. It can help you avoid dissatisfaction and find solutions that balance functional with aesthetic concerns, using your mechanical and artistic skills to a create smiles that change lives.


For further enquiries about the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry,


Author: Paul Abrahams President British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD)


[i] Girl Guides: Enhanced photos need labels on social media. BBC News online, 2 September 2020. Link: (accessed November 2020). Offers UK Dental Practice Owners The Chance To Sell Their Practices For A Premium Price. We Are One Of The UKs Leading Company's In The Sector.

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