You’ve already got your white dress, but do you have the smile to match? We count down your route to a gorgeous grin…
6 months to go
What’s standing between you and a perfect W-day smile? If it involves a trip to the dentist, get an early start. According to a survey by Behind the Smile, 46% of adults are considering some kind of cosmetic dentistry in their quest to save their smile. So if you’re fixated on fixing crooked, gappy or gummy teeth, your first stop is the hygienist followed by a chat with your dentist about what to do next.
Let’s talk veneers. Your wedding scrapbook may feature an array of dazzlingly perfect ‘Hollywood smiles’ and chances are they’re veneers. Behind the Smile has seen a definite drop in requests for veneers. Maybe because your own teeth have to be filed down before the porcelain shells are fitted. Or it might be because if they’re not done properly, they’ll look fake (which is okay for Rylan but maybe not the look you want for your wedding day). So if veneers are out, what’s the alternative?
Could it be… braces? Gwen Stefani, Emma Roberts and Emma Stone are just three famous faces who’ve opted for braces to give them a gorgeous grin. Don’t think that fixed metal train-track braces will flatter your pre-wedding fun? Go for lingual (where they’re fixed behind your teeth) or clear aligners (which are removable). Unfortunately, neither come cheap. You’re looking at around £3-4K for Invisalign (the best known brand of clear braces), and £3K for a course of lingual braces.
4 months to go
Smile – would you say your teeth were more murky grey than pearly white? Unamazingly, our teeth become darker as we age. So, a spot of pre-wedding tooth brightening will leave you looking younger, too! Again, don’t expect an All-American dazzle. EU guidelines have changed, and so have the strengths of treatment gels used (we’re talking 6% Hydrogen Peroxide compared to an original 35%) and exactly who can carry out the procedure (registered/qualified dentists rather than beauty therapists). This has made it a more lengthy procedure but a safer and less painful one, too. As a guide to how bright you can go, Dr Peta Leigh of Elleven Dental (ellevendental.com) says, ‘Look at the colour of the sclera (the whites) of your eyes’. She recommends your first round of whitening with four months to go and a quick top-up the week before the big day. Elleven Dental’s ‘in-chair’ treatment uses thermal diffusion technology as well as PrevDent to rebuild enamel on top of completely pain-free whitening. At The Ware Centre of Dental Excellence (WCODE; wcode.co.uk), the in-clinic treatment is combined with an at-home regime. Best done out of sight of your intended, a 45-minute session looking like Wallace (not Gromit) with your teeth bared and painted in whitening gel will keep your Peggy Sues at their brightest.
3 months to go
Your lips have a central role to play on your wedding day. Chances are they’re thinner than they look in your teenage holiday snaps. That’s because they get their shape from collagen and as we pile on the years our body produces less of it. We’ve taken to applying Filorga’s Lip-Structure, £38, in our quest for a fatter lip. Double-ended, one houses a filler-balm to smooth and plump, while the other has a serum to reshape the peri-oral (just above the top lip) area. So far, so happy.
Another route to consider is semi-permanent make-up. Once feared, it’s quickly gaining popularity with b2bs looking to subtly achieve the illusion of fuller, more defined lips. Inks are out. Any reputable permanent make-up artist will use pharmaceutical grade hypoallergenic pigments these days, the result being a soft, pretty flush of colour as opposed to the harsh Linda Evangelista-style lipline. Over two sessions about six weeks apart, elite permanent make-up artist Joanne Lee (joannelee.me.uk) custom blends the perfect lip hue for each client. ‘All brides want to look and feel amazing,’ she says. ‘By having their lips micropigmented, they’re effectively turning back time to a more youthful look of plump lips.’
1 month to go
If you’re still set on veneers, now’s the time to have them – and drop about £600 of your budget per tooth. Still, in as little as two appointments over two weeks you’ll have a total smile makeover.
If it’s a gap you want filled, you’ve a few options as Dr Jeremy Hill of WCODE explains. ‘A removable denture that clasps onto the neighbouring teeth; a resin bonded bridge where a false tooth is stuck to the sides of the neighbouring teeth; a conventional bridge where the enamel and some of the dentine from the neighbouring teeth is removed to enable crowns to be fitted; or an implant that screws into the bone of the cheek.’ You’re best off talking to your dentist about which is best for you – and your savings. As a guide, a removable denture could set you back £1500, while an implant could reach a jaw-dropping £2500.
Heard of the expression, ‘long in the tooth?’ It’s probably not because your gums are too long but because your lips lift in the centre when you smile. It’s easily remedied with Botox – as long as you go to a practitioner who’s expert at doing Botox treatments around the mouth, your smile will look the same (just less gummy). Botox can also be an effective way of lifting the corners of a sagging mouth and softening smoker’s lines. Apparently, if you grind your teeth you’re upping your chances of wrinkles, too. If Botox is on your to-do list, check into a reputable practitioner (contact WCODE for more information) and in case of bruising, have it done about a month before.
1 week to go
Now’s the time to crack open your home whitening kit for nightly teeth-brightening top-ups. Don’t then undo your good work by hitting the red wine to calm any pre-wedding nerves. Steer clear of anything deeply pigmented. ‘If it will stain a white cotton T-shirt, it’ll probably stain your teeth,’ warns Dr Hill. With the most photographed day of your life looming, why not spend a few minutes perfecting your selfie face? Most people don’t have perfect symmetry to their smiles so one pose will be more flattering than others. So that’s why Jen-An always strikes the same angled-to-the-right-chin-slightly-down pose.
1 day to go
Lipstick will cling to dry skin, so slough your electric toothbrush gently across your lips to exfoliate them, and then smother them with balm and get an early night.
Your smile transformation is almost complete – all that’s left now is a coat of lipstick. If Poppy King, founder of Lipstick Queen, was your bridal make-up artist she’d select, ‘a rose-coloured shade with a slight blue undertone on top of an invisible liner to prevent feathering’. As for texture, she’d advise you go matte and add a sweep of gloss on top to reflect light. That way, even when the gloss is long gone (or been transferred onto your new husband’s pucker) you’ll still be left with a pretty stain. ‘Dab a touch of your lipstick onto the apples of your cheeks,’ she adds. ‘It’s an old Hollywood trick that really makes your whole look pop.’
Every time you top up your lipstick during the day, pop your finger in your mouth, close your lips around it then pull it out, along with any excess colour that may otherwise have ended up on your teeth (aka the kiss of death!). Then ‘discreetly’ lick the rim of your glass before you sip to stop unsightly marks.