Your smile is the nicest thing you can wear. Why not resolve to improve your smile this year?

It’s about more than a smile, of course. Straighter teeth are easier to maintain and less prone to disease, which also leads to healthier gums and mouth, and even better breath. It also affects the function of the mouth, potentially making it easier to speak, chew, and swallow.

The positive effects of a new smile extend to self-esteem. Straighter, whiter teeth mean no more self-consciousness about your smile, or smiling with your mouth closed. And it improves your overall aesthetics, giving you more confidence. Research has shown that people with bright smiles are judged as better looking, more competent, and more honest.

If your smile doesn’t do this for you, perhaps it’s time for a new smile. Here are five tips for making your new smile a reality:

  1. See an orthodontist An orthodontist is a dentist who has continued their education another two to three years to learn about moving teeth, assessing bone structure and bite, and creating that perfect smile. Some dentists do provide orthodontic treatment, but it is not their specialty.                                                                                                   
  2. Make sure you get a customized treatment plan – No two patients are the same. Each patient has his or her own distinct needs and goals. Your skeletal, dental and soft-tissue composition will determine the ideal position of each tooth and its relationship with all other teeth for your overall facial aesthetics. Make sure you have an individualized treatment plan in place before any of the orthodontic work begins.                                                                                                                                                                     
  3. Ask about bracing devices – Bracing comes in many forms these days, from traditional wire braces to clear Invisalign and Clarity clear aligners that don’t involve wires. There are also ceramic braces that are nearly invisible, incognito lingual braces whose brackets are bonded to the back of the teeth, and braces in multiple styles and colors. Talk to your orthodontist about which is the best option for you.                                                                                                                                                                                      
  4. Choose what you need – A bright new smile might require nothing more than having your teeth whitened, or you might need your teeth straightened, your gums treated, your teeth contoured, or something else. Talk to your orthodontist about your particular needs and the extent of treatment each requires.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  5. Don’t go halfway – Just beware of an incomplete solution designed to save money, because you may not be enamored with the results. Limited treatment may be an option if you have one very specific need, but some situations require comprehensive treatment. For example, moving a few teeth to improve your smile can change the alignment of your bite and cause muscle irritation and joint issues. A good orthodontist would recommend comprehensive treatment in that case.

If you’re happy with your new smile you will use it more often. You will feel more confident and comfortable in social and business settings alike. A new smile for a new year can mean a whole new you, one who achieves their goals and enjoys life!