Cosmetic Dentistry

A complete guide to choosing cosmetic dentistry in Richmond and the Vancouver area.

How important is your smile?

It might surprise you to know that researchers from Penn State University, USA, have found that people form instant opinions about you based on your smile. Your smile can make you seem likeable and polite, and can even be a sign of your trustworthiness and competence!

It’s not just people’s perceptions of you that are affected by your smile; internal chemical responses can be provoked by your smile. Charles Darwin’s facial feedback response theory suggests that just the very act of smiling can improve our mood. Ron Gutman explains this theory in his TED talk ‘The Hidden Power of The Smile’ - chemically, just one smile can give the brain as much stimulation as eating two thousand chocolate bars!

That may not be good news for those of us who lack confidence in our smiles. What if you have got used to not smiling fully and even trying to hide your teeth when you smile? That’s the reality for a lot of us who have dental concerns - the act of smiling can actually cause us stress. Posing for photos or getting through that important work meeting can become a huge challenge about trying not to show your teeth.

What would you like your smile to say about you, and what are you worried it says about you now? What can be done to make the changes you would like to see in your smile?

An image of space with blue and purple stars.

Research and smile science

There is a wealth of research about how smiling is a potent form of non-verbal communication. Helwig et al* conducted a study in 2017 which explored the dynamic properties of a smile deemed to be successful. They found a successful smile is about “an intricate balance of mouth angle, smile extent, and dental show”. How attractive your smile is to others is about how it looks.

A different study** looked at this in more depth - exploring whether a smile makeover could change how intelligent and successful someone appears. This research found that “teeth alone can have an impact on overall attractiveness and perceptions of personality attributes. One's smile clearly plays a significant role in the perception that others have of our appearance and our personality.”

It’s not just about how your smile affects those around you - smiling actually has a big effect on you too! In an inspiring TED Talk, The Power of A Smile, Ron Gutman explains how smiling actually works to stimulate your brain. A single smile can stimulate your brain to the same level as eating 2000 bars of chocolate… or getting $28,000 in cash! You can also reduce your stress levels by smiling as it enhances hormones like cortisol, dopamine and adrenaline in your body.

What is your smile telling the world right now?

A new smile with straight, aligned teeth is not only attractive, but healthy. Teeth in the correct position with ideal shapes function well during chewing. This in turn allows you to chew healthy food comfortably. We can often try to place less weight on others’ opinions of us - but it’s important to know that your smile has an impact, particularly when it comes to meeting people for the first time. So, what is your smile telling the world right now? Is it the message you want to send out?

Issues with dental and oral health

A smile with gaps between the teeth

Crooked teeth in your smile

Uneven tooth size

Issues with tooth colour

What would you like your smile to say about you?

The good news is that your smile can say whatever you would like it to say. If you dislike aspects of your smile, or have a lack of confidence because of your smile, start by deciding on your smile restoration focus. Ask yourself - what would you like your smile to say about you? We would never want to make anyone feel self-conscious about their smile but we think it’s important to know that your smile is an important part of your non-verbal communication. Small treatments such as veneers or other cosmetic options can make a huge difference to your overall self-confidence and your oral and dental health, and can open up new opportunities for you in every aspect of your life.

A young woman smiling to show off her beautiful new smile after her cosmetic dentistry treatment with Digital Smile Design.

What are your cosmetic dentistry options?

Cosmetic dentistry has become a popular choice for those wanting to make small but significant changes to their smile in Richmond and Vancouver. There can be some misunderstanding around the term cosmetic dentistry and what it actually means - isn’t all dentistry cosmetic? It is true that many of the procedures used in cosmetic dentistry can also protect and preserve your natural teeth or replace missing teeth. There are some important differences between cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry, and the materials that are used in cosmetic dentistry.

Until recently, visiting the dentist was about purely preserving your natural teeth, treating common concerns such as infection and decay. While they are durable and effective, some of the materials used – such as amalgam fillings – were not attractive and have now mostly been replaced. For example, with biocompatible tooth-coloured composite resin fillings and porcelain restorations to strive for a natural-looking outcome. Veneers are frequently used to create a more 'cosmetic' but minimally invasive smile design, closely mimicking the natural translucency of real teeth.

Digital Smile Design is a service provided by some cosmetic and restorative dentists to plan more complicated smile makeovers. It ensures every single detail is carefully analyzed so that we can plan the most appropriate treatment.

Five ways cosmetic dentistry could improve the appearance of your smile

The shape and size of your teeth can make a huge difference to your facial appearance. Here are five reasons why and how that is the case.

  • Tooth Shape
  • Tooth Size
  • Tooth Position
  • Tooth shade
  • Gum health
An icon of a tooth being reshaped.

Teeth that are appropriately shaped will provide the support needed for your facial features, including the facial muscles in your cheeks and lips. A cosmetic dentist will analyze the shape of your entire face to decide the appropriate tooth shape. If your face is round or heart-shaped, longer, narrower and pointier teeth might not be an appropriate look for you! Your dentist can choose teeth shapes to compliment your facial shape, enhancing your natural beauty.

Five things you need to consider when deciding on cosmetic dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry can help to improve the appearance of your smile and even have a positive impact on your dental health, but here are five other factors you need to consider when choosing a smile makeover.

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Maintenance
  • Convenience
  • Your choice
An icon of a clock.

Smile makeovers requiring complex treatments can take a longer amount of time. It is important to think about how long you’re prepared to spend improving your smile and if you have a special event coming up, to speak to your dentist about timescales.

What cosmetic dental treatments are available at Ironwood Dental?

Get a whiter, brighter smile with teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is perhaps the first treatment we think of when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. You can brighten and restore your smile simply and effectively with in-chair treatment or take-home whitening options in Richmond. Your dentist will talk you through the results you would like to achieve and whether it will be effective for your smile.

Replace missing teeth with dental implants

Whether you have one or several missing teeth, the function and look of your smile can be affected. Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option - titanium or zirconia roots can be placed in the bone with specially made and custom bridges or teeth placed on top for a durable, long-lasting tooth replacement option.

Repair your teeth with cosmetic bonding

If you have teeth that have lost some of their length or have chipped or cracked, cosmetic bonding can be used to repair them and rebuild any areas of wear. This can be a simple and effective way to quickly restore your smile.

Dental restorations - porcelain crowns and bridges

Porcelain crowns and bridges can be used, depending on the extent of the damage and the health of the tooth, to repair damaged teeth. Specially designed prosthetics can be made and fitted for a natural-looking smile.

Restore your smile with porcelain veneers

If you have lots of discolouration or chipped and cracked teeth, dental veneers are a great alternative to teeth whitening to restore your smile. We place thin porcelain veneers on the front of your teeth to restore your white, bright smile and can also address dental concerns over the size and shape of your teeth.

Depending on your existing smile and what you would like to see we may be able to place veneers with zero or minimal tooth removal.

Replace old fillings with tooth-coloured fillings

Amalgam fillings can be replaced with tooth-coloured fillings to give a natural aesthetic whilst providing effective protection and functionality for the tooth.

Cosmetic Dentistry - Get Answers to your Questions

Can I get a smile like a celebrity?

It’s easy to see celebrity smiles and feel like you could never achieve a smile like that, especially if you have fallen out of love with your own smile. We work with you to achieve the smile you would like to have - we take elements of the celebrity smiles that you love but use Digital Smile Design to create a custom-made smile for your unique features, achieving the smile restoration you truly desire.

Whitening vs veneers: Which is best?

The answer is simple - it depends on your unique smile and dental concerns. Teeth whitening, whether done in-chair or at-home, is ideal for teeth with discolouration due to common staining. If the discolouration of your smile is because of chipped or cracked teeth, porcelain veneers may be a more effective option for your whiter smile.

Book a consultation now

Take the first step towards your new smile - book a consultation with one of our dentists today. There will be plenty of time to discuss your dental concerns and to ask any questions you have about your treatment options.



*Dynamic properties of successful smiles
Nathaniel E. Helwig, PLOS ONE

** Can a new smile make you look more
intelligent and successful?
Beall, A. Dent Clin North Am. 2007