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Full Mouth Reconstruction Vs Complete Smile Makeover

By May 17, 2022 August 15th, 2023 No Comments
a young woman with beautiful smile

When it comes to choosing the best plan for you and your oral health, it’s important to understand the difference in different types of procedures. Different procedures have different names. That’s because they really are different! For example, full mouth restoration is really not the same as a smile makeover.

These two processes might use a lot of the same tools or terminology, but full mouth reconstruction is typically necessary for health and functionality while a complete smile makeover is typically based on cosmetic preferences and things that you want to change about your smile.

Take a look at this complete guide to full mouth reconstruction vs. complete smile makeover for more details.

Full Mouth Reconstruction

A full mouth reconstruction might also be called a full mouth restoration. This type of procedure is considered to be for health and functionality of your mouth. In most cases, it requires restorative treatment to several different parts of your mouth or perhaps even all of your teeth.

If you have a high number of damaged teeth, missing teeth, or extensive oral issues that affect functionality, then this might apply to you. The restoration process will certainly improve your smile but the general details behind the process are based on health and functionality. This is the primary difference between reconstruction and a smile makeover.

a person visiting the dentist

Parts of a Reconstruction

There are several different parts and pieces that come into play for a full mouth reconstruction. You should know that the entire process is tailored to your needs and the goals for your oral health.

What you might need for reconstruction will be specific to the treatment plan that you and your provider come up with.

Here are some of the pieces of a reconstruction that might be considered.


If there are teeth that need to be removed for the reconstruction process, this will require extraction. If a root canal or another process will not solve the problem, an extraction removes the tooth.

Root Canals

If a tooth or the root attached to the tooth is infected, a root canal may be required. This will remove all of the infection and contamination so that the tooth can be considered healthy. In most cases, you may still need a crown or additional element for the tooth.

Crowns, Bridges, and Veneers

Crowns, bridges, and veneers are all slightly different, but they do similar things. These tools are used to either cover teeth that are no longer in good shape or to completely replace a missing tooth. They make a correction when one is needed and will improve the look and functionality of your smile.

Implants or Dentures

In some cases, a full mouth reconstruction may lead to the need for extensive replacement of the teeth. When several teeth have to be extracted or replaced, the ideal solution is to use dental implants to replace those teeth. This is a semi-permanent solution that is implanted into your jawbone using a titanium post. It helps maintain the strength and bone density.

Dentures or partial dentures might be an alternative solution as well. These are common for replacing missing teeth, particularly if you might not be a candidate for implants.

dental tools and teeth models on the blue background

The Process for Reconstruction

Every process will look just slightly different. When it comes to reconstruction, the process is tailored to your needs so the approach and treatment plan will be customized for you. Here is a basic look at how the process might work.

  1. Consultation with provider to discuss goals, needs, etc.
  2. Full exam with x-rays, impressions, and any other necessary records.
  3. Creation of a treatment plan and designing the outcome of your reconstruction.
  4. Treatment begins as planned.

Complete Smile Makeover

Where a reconstruction is all about building back your smile for functionality and health purposes, a smile makeover is all about making over your smile to achieve changes that you desire. While some parts of the process might be for functionality, they are typically not medically necessary for functionality.

You will find that this is the primary difference. Several of the same treatment options might be included in the makeover process but the intent behind the process is different. Remember that reconstruction is for health and functionality while smile makeover is for cosmetic and aesthetic preferences.

Parts of a Complete Smile Makeover

Just like we looked at the various things that might be used in a reconstruction, let’s do the same for a makeover. Remember that this treatment will be customized to your needs and goals. However, these are common choices for the process.

Teeth Whitening                 

One of the simplest ways to get a smile makeover is to whiten your teeth. If one of the issues is that you simply want a brighter smile, teeth whitening can help significantly. This process can be achieved in different ways. Laser whitening treatments are one of the most popular and there are even at-home laser kits out there. Other options include gel, bleaching, trays, toothpaste, rinse, and more.

Teeth Bonding

If you have teeth that are affecting your smile, a fix that might be an option is teeth bonding. Bonding essentially uses a composite material to lengthen teeth, re-shape teeth, or even to fill in gaps with teeth. This is often an inexpensive fix to imperfections in a tooth. It can also be used for cracked or damaged teeth in some cases.

Veneers and Crowns

Veneers are used like a shell, or even just a layer, over your teeth. They are placed over the tooth you have in place to improve the look of it. They can be used for discoloration, chips, and other similar issues. Crowns serve a similar purpose, but these porcelain pieces are thick and sturdy and placed over the entire tooth.

Dentures or Implants

If your smile makeover has teeth that need to be extracted completely to complete, you will also need a solution to replace those teeth. Dentures and implants are often the most common solution. In some cases, a dental bridge might be appropriate instead.

Dentures are removable replacements. You can have partial or full dentures. Dental implants are slightly newer, but they are the top choice now for replacing teeth. They can be fairly expensive. Implants are semi-permanent because they are implanted into the jawbone using a titanium post.


Finally, one piece of your smile makeover might be alignment. This is typically achieved through the use of aligners or braces. These tools can help to straighten teeth and bring them into alignment. You can fill gaps, make teeth more proportionate in length, and potentially even treat an overbite or correct an underbite as well.

aligners in the blue box

The Process for a Smile Makeover

The process for a smile makeover might look very similar to that of reconstruction. The primary difference is that you are simply looking to improve the aesthetics of your smile. Here is an overview of how the process might work.

  1. Schedule a consultation to meet with a dental provider. Let them know what your goals are. This is your chance to ask questions, get to know the provider, and determine if this is the right fit.
  2. Planning and Prep work happens next. There will likely be need for x-rays, 3D images, implants, and examinations. This allows the provider to have a clear picture of what they are working with so they can plan accordingly.
  3. The planning process begins. You and your provider can come up with a treatment plan to help you achieve the look that you are after. This is where you tell the provider if you want something different or have additional questions about the plan.
  4. Treatment begins!

Treatment could potentially take some time to achieve, depending on the plan. Aligners and braces can take 2-3 years to complete and then if you have additional needs in the process, you will need to understand it all takes time.

A smile makeover doesn’t happen overnight, but each little thing works together as part of the process to bring you that beautiful smile that you are looking for. Remember that your smile makeover plan will be customized to you so that the planning and treatment can effectively help you achieve your goals for a better smile.

Final Thoughts

While dental restoration and smile makeovers have some similarities between them, they are used for two different purposes. A smile makeover is often just because you want your smile to be better. Very rarely is the makeover for functionality or health purposes, although it could be.

A full mouth reconstruction is geared more towards health and functionality. The goal is to reconstruct your mouth to ensure that you have the functionality you should and can use your mouth as it was designed to be used.

In both types of treatment, your plans are customized and tailored to your specific needs. There are several different tools that can be put to use to achieve the desired end result. In the end, it’s all about making sure you have the smile and functionality that you deserve.

Ready for a confident, healthy smile?

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