Cosmetic Design for a “Red Carpet Smile”

As Dr. Hornbrook Sees it:

It’s the beginning of February, and at the end of the month are the Oscars. One of the questions that I’m frequently asked from other doctors, as well as my own patients, is how can I have that quote-unquote “red-carpet” smile. There’s things that we can do, steps that we can take in order, as clinicians, to offer our patients the best smile possible, whether it be for this coming weekend, a hot date, or maybe a wedding, or three or four weeks down the road or even six months down the road, just to have a nicer smile.

Red Carpet Smile Options:

Let’s talk about those options. One is whitening. I mean, certainly the way the whitening materials have developed over the last 20 years, they’re safe. They’re fast. They’re easy. They’re affordable for our patients. If our patients already have a relatively straight, decent-looking smile, they just want a lighter shade, whitening is an awesome option for them. We do a lot of them here in our own practice, so whitening is an option.


The second is orthodontics. A lot of our adult patients, maybe they don’t want veneers, and we’ll talk about that, or maybe whitening is not going to give them the solution they desire. Orthodontics, of all ages, is certainly an option. That could be Invisalign, invisible orthodontics, Six Month Smiles, or traditional orthodontics. With adult orthodontics, just what I call unraveling or just straightening teeth quickly as long as there’s not a functional bite issue, followed by whitening can yield dramatic results in a very short time.

Cosmetic Restorations:

Thirdly are restorations. That could be full-coverage crowns. It could be veneers. It could be bonding. There are steps that we can take, as clinicians, to optimize the results. One is we need to design the smile. We have a video available on our website,, on how to correctly design a smile, but if you go back to even your dental school days and think about how you designed a denture looking at shape of face, looking at skin tone, looking at smile line, length of centrals, if you look at those fundamental principles of smile design and incorporate those denture fundamentals into your fixed cases, whether it be crowns or veneers or even bonding, you’re going to get a better result. So design the smile and design it properly.

Material Options:

Second is understand the materials. Materials are changing so fast, and they all yield different results based on the color of the preparation, the color of the patient’s skin tone, the color of the eyes, the color of the hair. We need to understand our materials. That’s where I think working with a dental lab that truly understands the indications, the contraindications, how to optimize, and certainly the limitations of these different materials is crucial.

Questions to Dr. H:

If you have any question about materials, give us a call at Keating Dental Lab, or you can visit our website at Whether it’s the end of the month to look hot for an Oscar party or whether it’s for the rest of your life to feel better about yourself, our patients deserve the very best we can offer them in giving them that red-carpet smile.

Dr. David Hornbrook

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