Does your Smile "Spark Joy"?
Anyone else here totally obsessed with Marie Kondo's "Spark Joy" concepts?
We've 'Kondo-ed' the drawers at front desk (Urm, it's important to note that we did not throw away all of the doctor's things :D, but we did file away all of our supplies so you can see them from the top, all at a glance!) We've got a home for everything (e.g. snacks, shoe covers, paper towels, etc) and while many things are there for practical purposes, to be honest, most of it really does spark joy because we LOVE what we do.
We got into this profession because we enjoy helping people achieve the smile they want - and so we ask: Does your smile spark joy? Each time you look at your reflection in the mirror, is there something you always pick out about your smile that you want to change?
Well, here's our list of 5 things you can do to improve your smile:
1) Before we get into the aesthetics, the number one priority is always establishing a healthy and solid foundation first.
Yes, we get it: it's not what you want to hear - but it doesn't make any sense to make a smile look pretty if it doesn't function - right? You wouldn't invest in a house that looks gorgeous on the outside, but inside is filled with faulty wiring, plumbing problems and questionable foundation - nope, you would prioritize the bare necessities first and then work on how it looks.
It's the same with your smile - put out the 'fires' first - the urgent situations that need professional care ASAP. Then work on the long-term plan: are there any more minor issues that you should fix (before they turn into 'fires'!) - have those addressed. And only once you're in a stable place, you should consider improving how it looks.
So, prioritize the health of your smile first and foremost:
Establish healthy home care (Brushing, flossing and all that jazz) - focusing on the teeth and gums. Check out our previous blog posts for more tips.
Maintain regular cleaning and check up appointments with your hygienist. If you need to cancel an appointment, make sure to book one in its place when you make the cancellation call. We've heard time and time again with the people who don't do this - when they finally remember to book, a few months have already passed and what would've been spotted as a 'small problem' had the time to develop into a larger issue.
If your dental team spots any issues - like cavities, broken teeth, teeth grinding/clenching, etc, don't delay treatment. Often times, the issues can get worse over time if no action is taken, so it's a good idea to be proactive about it and address it asap. As an example, if a wisdom tooth is growing out sideways (or 'impacted') - if you just leave it, it can continue to grow, regardless of how much space it has. If there is not enough space, this can result in boring a hole into this last tooth or pushing into this last tooth, applying force and throwing the teeth out of alignment.
2) Replace Missing Teeth
If you're missing a tooth (especially in the front!), you may be extra self-conscious about smiling broadly and confidently. Sizing, colour, spacing, tooth shapes and whatnot really all become secondary if/when you lose a tooth, so it's a good idea to consider replacing it as soon as you can.
We've got options that look, feel and function like your own natural teeth (e.g. implants). We also have cost-effective solutions if you're missing more than one tooth (e.g. bridges, dentures, etc). Book yourself in for an examination so doctors can take a look and offer up some choices that will work for you.
3) Aligning Teeth
Getting your teeth straightened can have a two-fold effect. Many people report feeling more confident in their smile when their teeth are aligned. Having straight teeth will also make it easier to brush, floss and maintain - so they'll ultimately become healthier as well!
The number one complaint we get after finishing a course of braces is, "I wish I had done this sooner". And it's mostly the adults well into their 20s and 30s (and even 50s!) who say this - because they lived with crooked teeth for a longer period of time.
So, if your smile doesn't 'spark joy' because it is crooked or has wider gaps and spacing issues, choose traditional braces or choose Invisalign® braces to get them straightened.
While it might seem like a costlier investment, our office offers convenient and affordable monthly payment options to fit many family budgets. More and more insurance companies are also starting to cover orthodontic treatment - for children as well as adults - so let us know if you need help submitting an estimate.
3B) Wear Retainers
After finishing your orthodontic treatment, you want to prevent your teeth from shifting back. So, either get fixed wire retainers or get removable retention trays to wear regularly.
With wire retainers, you don't have to 'remember to wear them' because the dentist will have attached them to the backs of your teeth. You will have to pay attention if it gets dislodged, broken or becomes loose - and get the dentist to fix it in any one of these cases.
If you choose removable clear retainer trays, you do have to remember to wear them often enough so that your teeth don't move back to where they were. Depending on your case, the doctor might recommend you wear them every day, at all times except for eating for the first year after finishing braces. Then after the first year, you may switch to wearing them only at night when you sleep. Off the bat (after braces removal), you might be recommended to just wear retainers during sleep. It will depend on how mobile your teeth are, so you'd check with your dentist/orthodontist who took care of your braces.
An easy way to improve the look of your smile is to get it whitened. With frequent consumption of staining liquids like coffee or tea or smoking, the yellowing or browning of teeth can make your smile look 'older' and make it spark less joy.
Come in for a take-home kit or choose the in-office whitening to improve the aesthetics of your smile. You can compare the two systems here.
5) Veneers/Crown Restorative procedures/Full-Smile Reconstruction
A veneer is similar to the idea of 'covering up' the smile you have with a nicer looking smile, but our ALFIE difference involves a comprehensive approach to your aesthetic smile (that's why we recommend a Complete Oral Exam as your first introduction to our office - so we can get a thorough look at your entire mouth and treat on the basis of your entire mouth!)
In essence, our commitment to you is that we're not going to 'slap on a pretty veneer' over unhealthy teeth, but there are instances where a veneer would be fitting. For example, if someone came to us with mottled coloured teeth - but it was otherwise in good condition and was healthy, then placing a veneer could be an option.
If the teeth was in poorer condition, then crowns and/or other restorative procedures could be a solution.
If your dentition was severely damaged or in bad shape, then a full mouth reconstruction may be in order. Since everything is dependant on the smile that shows up in our office, our team will likely need the examination and then doctor will discuss your personal customized treatment.
6) Practice Smiling
'Practice makes perfect' - as they say, and it's actually no different with your smile. If you've spent the last X number of years trying to hide that gap or hide that missing tooth or shying away from smiling because of crooked teeth, etc, you will not be used to smiling broadly and confidently - and this habit often lasts even after you'd improved it. So...even if it feels a little silly, practice smiling at yourself in the mirror. We've got a couple of tips for you here.
And there you have it. Sparking Joy doesn't have to end at your closet - try and infuse the concept into other areas of your life.