Everybody wants a beautiful smile and for good reason. A great smile can have an amazing effect on your social life. According to a survey conducted by a popular dating site, both men and women rank teeth at the top of the list of things that make an impression when considering a potential date. For both sexes, teeth rank well above things like what type of car you drive or what kind of clothes you wear. If your teeth are not in great shape, then a smile makeover might be just what you need to give you an edge in the dating scene. Take a look at what you need to do to obtain the perfect smile.

Decide What Your Ideal Smile Looks Like

No two mouths are exactly alike, which means that no two smile makeovers are exactly alike. A smile makeover isn't any one procedure; it's a combination of procedures that will best improve your smile. In order to decide which procedures you need, you first have to decide what you want your smile to look like.

If you wanted your hair cut in a particular way, you might bring your hair stylist a magazine clipping of a celebrity wearing the hairstyle that you want, so that they can see exactly what you're going for. You can do the same thing with your cosmetic dentist – bring in pictures of smiles that appeal to you and show your dentist what you want.

If you're not sure what kind of smile you're looking for, don't worry. Cosmetic dentists can use several techniques to give you an idea of what effect different procedures may have on your teeth. Your dentist may use digital photo manipulation software to manipulate a picture of your smile to show you what you'd look like after a particular procedure. Or they may apply temporary bonding to your teeth to create a "trial smile", allowing you to look in the mirror and see the changes in your teeth.

Learn the Details

Once you've decided what you want your smile to look like and what procedures will make it happen, you need to learn the details of those procedures. Your dentist will fill you in on the basics, but it's important to ask lots of questions to make sure nothing gets skipped over.

For example, if you decide that veneers are the right choice to cover flawed or uneven teeth, you may not know there are several risks including heightened tooth sensitivity, uncomfortable fit that affects the way you bite and chew, or even allergic reaction. Ask your dentist to explain how you'll proceed if you experience one of these problems.

You also need to know how best to take care of your smile makeover once its complete. For example, if tooth whitening is a part of your smile makeover, you should know that you'll probably need touch-ups every so often in order to maintain the level of whitening you chose. Knowing ahead of time how to maintain your smile makeover can help you decide if those procedures are really right for you.

Figure Out How to Pay

Deciding how to pay for a smile makeover can be the biggest hurdle for many patients. Cosmetic procedures are expensive. Veneers can cost more than $,1000 per tooth. Dental crowns start at around $600 per crown. If you're having gum surgery, extractions, or other major reconstructive work, you may also need to figure in the cost of taking time off work to recover.

There are several ways to make smile makeovers affordable, however. Don't count your dental insurance out completely — while most dental insurance will not cover cosmetic treatments, procedures like crowns, realignment, or extractions may be medically necessary for comfort or proper bite as well as cosmetic preferences, and therefore they are eligible for insurance coverage. Joining a dental discount program can help make purely cosmetic procedures like veneers and tooth whitening more affordable. When you pay for a membership in a dental discount program, you receive a discount on a variety of services from participating dentists in your area.

You may also want to consider financing. Dentists know their services are expensive, and they often offer payment plans that will allow you to get the work you need done now, and pay it off over time with affordable monthly payments. Ask your cosmetic dentist if financing is an option for you.

The truth is, you can't put a price on a great smile. It will improve your self-confidence and make you more attractive to others. This can help you in your dating life, but it can also improve your life in other ways as well — you may find that you're more popular generally or that your new smile gives your professional life a boost. It's worth putting in the time to research, prepare for, and pay for a smile makeover. For additional info on cosmetic dentistry procedures, contact a dentist in your area who specializes in such improvements.