The rise of wedding 'smile prep' and exactly when to start, according to a cosmetic dentist.

The Dental Room
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In the lead-up to one of the most important days of your life, you could be forgiven for wanting absolutely every detail to be bang-on perfect. 

For most of us, a wedding is the biggest event we’ll ever plan, and the memories will, hopefully, last a lifetime. Pictures of your first married kiss might greet you as you open the front door, and eventually, albums of the whole day could be poured over fondly by grandkids. 

With so much to plan, the overwhelm is real, so let’s knock one thing off that endless list right now... 

What is a wedding-perfect smile?

It's no surprise that a perfect, sparkling smile is rising to the top of the wish list for both brides and grooms in the lead-up to the big day. What is surprising is that according to Dr Shawn Rama, leading cosmetic dentist and founder of Melbourne’s The Dental Room, ‘perfect’ means something very different to what it used to. “The way beauty is perceived is changing for the better,” says Dr Shawn, “people no longer want that big perfect set of Hollywood white teeth, and we’re championing that change towards a more natural kind of smile.”

What kind of smile prep is out there?

While natural-looking veneers are on the rise, there are many smile-enhancing interventions that can suit almost any budget. 

To start with, Dr Shawn says a professional clean is an absolute must. “Just as a baseline, I would recommend that in the week before the wedding,” he says. “I can also recommend the option of having a professional clean with a whitening treatment done back-to-back to remove any plaque and tartar so that the bleach can work more effectively on the teeth."

The Dental Room offers both at-home or in-clinic teeth whitening options – just be sure to eat low-pigment foods for at least 48 hours post-whitening, as the teeth are more porous and open to staining during that immediate period.


Another popular treatment for those looking to correct crooked teeth is Invisalign, an alternative to braces, where clear trays are used to correct and straighten your bite. Treatment time will vary from person to person, but it can require anywhere from six months to two years, so this is one you’ll want to jump onto sooner than later.

When should I start my wedding smile prep?

Dr Shawn says the first thing to do is get in for a consultation as early as possible. “Get yourself to the dentist chair so you're not scrambling right before the wedding day,” he says, “depending on what you'd like to achieve, whether that's veneers, teeth alignment, or teeth whitening, it's important to just get the process started early.”

Dr Shawn Rama's client, Brooke Hogan, with her smile makeover. Image: Instagram/@brookehogan


Anyone who has planned a wedding will tell you how quickly the time slips through your fingers, so the sooner you can discuss your options, the more relaxed you’ll be. Dr Shawn says, “As a general rule, I tell my clients to sit for a consult with us at least six months before the big day. Of course, we have been known to work on quicker turnarounds, sometimes within as little as a week,” he says, of the times they have jumped into action fixing mistakes or addressing last-minute disasters, “but ideally, coming in at least six months out will allow you to make a comprehensive plan."

So, what are veneers and how do they work?

Porcelain veneers are wafer-thin shells placed permanently over your natural teeth to create a natural-looking smile.

Importantly, not all veneers are created equally. The most common misconception Dr Shawn encounters is clients worrying their veneers will end up like bulky, eerily straight tic tacs. “The work we do at The Dental Room is very natural.”


Even these days, Dr Shawn says that a lot of veneers are still machine-made, which can explain why they may look big, and thick and perhaps not specifically crafted to a person’s unique face and mouth shape. “We actually handmake our veneers right here on site,” he says. 

Dr Shawn is one half of a dental dream team, having worked alongside third-generation ceramist Chloe Park for the past ten years. Chloe takes on the artistic side of things, creating completely bespoke and individualised veneers that are hand-layered with at least five different shades of porcelain. “They’re artistically created to form a level of depth, translucence and quality that is similar to natural teeth,” says Dr Shawn. 

Dr Shawn Rama and Chloe Park. Image: The Dental Room.


Over a series of appointments, Dr Shawn and Chloe work closely with clients using face-mapping techniques to completely redesign their smiles. “We really pride ourselves on creating teeth that are harmonious with the rest of the face. So, it's a much more holistic approach.” And despite being meticulously handcrafted, once the initial planning stage is done, The Dental Room maintains a pretty impressive one-week turnaround. 

Is there any downtime?

According to Dr Shawn, once the anaesthetic wears off, you’ll likely have little to no discomfort. “No more than you would after a routine filling," and most clients go about their regular activities the following day.

How long do they last?

“The bottom line is, veneers are not a set-and-forget treatment,” says Dr Shawn, “you still need to look after them just like you would with your normal teeth.” On average you can expect them to last 15 years without needing replacement, but Dr Shawn has seen his work last as long as 30 years with the right care.


What kind of costs are we looking at?

“Our sets of handcrafted porcelain veneers can range anywhere from two-to-three thousand dollars per tooth,” says Dr Shawn, who understands that weddings don’t come cheap with people likely to be juggling multiple costs in the lead-up to the big day. “We offer interest-free payment plan options so that we can support people in making it accessible for their budget,” he says. Obviously, this is not a small investment, but Dr Shawn does see it as exactly that, an investment, one that you’ll appreciate every time you open your mouth, so by the powers of girl maths, it’s essentially cost-neutral, right? 

So why is smile prep for life milestones so important to people?

“Most people don't realise this association, but I think our teeth are really linked to our emotional wellbeing,” says Dr Shawn. “I don't think we truly understand how big of an insecurity it can be – our smile is an extension of our personality and there are many studies that have shown that a vast majority of people believe good teeth are one of the most attractive traits a person can have.” 

Explore the bespoke and personalised approach to porcelain veneers with Melbourne clinic, The Dental Room. Learn more about Dr Shawn Rama's work here.

Dr Shawn Rama is a cosmetic dentist and founder of The Dental Room, with comments supplied on behalf of The Dental Room.

Always seek advice from a qualified health care practitioner.

Feature Image: Instagram/@the_dental_room/@abbeyzahn

The Dental Room
The Dental Room is a boutique cosmetic dental clinic based in Melbourne. What sets us apart is the environment we create around delivering the best possible naturally inspired smile. From unprecedented access to leading cosmetic dentist Dr Shawn Rama and in-house ceramist Ms Chloe Park to the exquisite attention you receive at each step, the care, quality and level of customisation we offer our clients is truly one-of a-kind. Call us on (03) 9857 3988 to book a cosmetic consultation.