When there's a wedding on the horizon, many brides (and grooms) want to do more than just their regular routine to maintain those pearly whites. If you're seriously considering cosmetic dental work—like professional teeth whitening or orthodontic aligners—it's important to get a sense of the ins and outs of each procedure and the timeframes they require. To better understand popular pre-wedding dental services, we asked New York City-based prosthodontist Samantha Rawdin to weigh in. Her most important piece of advice: Don't wait. "I see lots of brides and grooms-to-be in my office and the most common mistake is that they wait until the last minute to have any procedures done," says Dr. Rawdin. "Outside of a regular dental cleaning, these treatments really do need to be planned well in advance."
"Whitening tends to be the most requested service, and depending on which type of whitening the patient would like, they need to start anywhere from four to six weeks before the wedding," says Dr. Rawdin. Whether you choose a series of in-office treatments or just one in-office treatment followed by at-home whitening trays, Dr. Rawdin stresses that it's important to start the process many weeks in advance of the wedding for a few reasons. "One, teeth can be sensitive for a few weeks after the whitening process and no one wants zings of pain during the wedding photos!" she says. "Also, teeth become very dehydrated during this process, so they can look a little splotchy at first. It takes about one to two weeks for the color to settle."
Veneers or Bonding
"Patients often ask about how to enhance the esthetic appearance of their teeth before their wedding, but many leave this step to the last minute and don't have enough time to achieve the results they want," says Dr. Rawdin. "The key to good veneers or bonding is proper planning and that can take some time. We also need to make sure that that the patient's teeth and gums are healthy prior to starting any restorative procedure, which may require a few visits." While the procedures themselves aren't long or painful, you want to make sure you have plenty of time to get used to how the veneers or bonding looks and feels, as well as have a buffer for any work that may need to be redone. That's why the pro suggests starting this process at least three or four months before your wedding.
If you're looking for straight teeth ahead of your wedding, plan to start eight to twelve months before the wedding. "This is the procedure that requires the most time," says Dr. Rawdin. If you require mild to moderate straightening, you may just need four or six months with aligners, but the only way to know for sure is to have your dentist assess the health of both your teeth and gums.