Yoko Ono once said “Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.” It’s terrific advice, but if you don’t like your smile, the big difference isn’t going to be positive yet. Which is why sometimes the first big difference we need to make is to change our smile.
Okay let’s back up a bit. There is nothing wrong with my smile. I actually have a nice smile. (PS : Thank you Dad for ‘investing’ in braces for me when I was in middle school)
Here’s me before my Hollywood Smile makeover. Do you notice the assymetry ? The right side has shorter teeth than the left.
And also this (note the gummy smile) :
Do you see how the left and right is slightly asymmetrical? Its also … gumy especially if I laugh or smile too wide. Which is why if you look at various photos of me on my Instagram, you can see that before this smile makeover, I hardly smiled. Now, if I was not in front of the camera a lot, this would just irritate me slightly but it’s something I can live with. But unfortunately I live in Hollywood and my face is in front of the camera a lot and so I wanted to get it fixed. But the thought of spending $15,000 - $20,000 ( this is how much it would cost in LA on average, if I were to do it with one of the top smile doctors here) on my teeth for 6 tiny little porcelain bits gave me pause.
Luckily I am a global citizen and known for a fact that where my parents live ( in Malaysia) getting my smile improved with a top doctor would cost around 25% of what it would in LA.
Enter Dr.Kamsiah of Kam Clinic. Dr.Kam (as she likes to call herself) graduated in 1987 and had been practicing dentistry since 1987, that's 29 years. She’s one of the top cosmetic dentists in Malaysia and is so skilled that other dentists fly in to train with her.
So on one sleepy morning ( she laughed when I declared 10 am is ‘early’) I sat down with her and went over my Hollywood Smile makeover
Here’s how the process works :
Initial Consultation - The doctor looks at you and asses your face features and takes lot of photos of your face and your current smile. She also asks what your goals are for the smile. For me it was a whiter, but not blinding white even though there is that option, but just a natural white more even and feminine smile. A mold is taken of your current smile situation.
According to Dr. Kam Digital Smile Design helps her to :
Improve Esthetic Planning and Smile Design
Improve communication between she and her laboratory, which is involved in the case from the very beginning
Improve communication with the patient, (like me) increasing participation in the design process of their own smile, motivating and educating them about the benefits of the treatment and increasing their case acceptance.
Second Consultation - Dr.Kam installs a ‘fake mock up’ e.g basically a slip-on cast of what your actual smile would look like. She explains the reasoning behind it, including why your teeth are their new length/shape. You can take it off right then and there if you like it but you can also wear it longer to really see if you like this new teeth that you are going to have for the rest of your life. I decided to wear it for 24 hours, all throughout my photoshoot the next day.
Dr.Kam also encouraged me to take selfies of myself and stare at the photos for hours. Okay she didn’t but that was what I did. I basically took a million photos of myself and using FaceTune , adjusted/edited the smile on the best one of the lot - I made my smile whiter/not so white/longer/shorter etc. Note that before I did this I somewhat knew what I was doing as I have read up quite a lot on ‘what is a beautiful and feminine smile'. This article describes it best.
So I texted Dr.Kam the edited photo and she said she’ll take a look. Oh, I forgot to mention, the fake/slip-on teeth broke while I was having tea after my photoshoot. No one noticed.
3rd consultation - Dr. Kam put stuff over my teeth and then reshaped my teeth and gums. She then took another mold and told me she’s sending it to the lab so they can now create my custom veneers. My teeth felt slightly rough but nothing I can’t live with and my gums felt slightly bruised from the gum reshaping. I looked in the mirror and saw slightly swollen and slightly bloody gums and my teeth (now covered with the resin) looked just slightly odd. Nothing anyone else would notice, only me which was fine as I knew this was not the final result & I went home excited.
Or scientifically ( According to RealSelf.com):
Your dentist will remove roughly half a millimeter of enamel from any teeth getting veneers, which is the thickness of the porcelain that’ll be added to the surface of your teeth. Once this portion is complete, your dentist will make a model or impression of the teeth being treated and send it off to a dental lab for the creation of the veneers.
4th and Final consultation - Sleepy, but excited with the prospect of a beautiful smile - I headed to her clinic in Taman Tun Dr.Ismail. The journalist crew from the Utusan Melayu (a national daily newspaper) was actually invited to film the whole thing as we wanted to show how a Hollywood smile can be done in Malaysia, and done well.
For me - documenting and blogging about this process is important as I’ve seen many horrible smile jobs. Having veneers on your face is not just a matter of technical know how and a qualification - it’s also an art… and while I was in the dentist chair, folks were taking photos, filmed and laughed a lot. And then finally it’s done.
So to recap - I went from a nice smile to a brilliant smile.
Basically we analyzed my smile and features, put in 6 very customized porcelain veneers and reshaped my gums.
And of course, thank you Dr.Kam!
Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare professional. Your reliance on any information or content provided in this article is solely at your own risk. You should always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare professional for any questions you have about your own medical condition.