How to whiten, straighten and improve your teeth before your wedding

Photo by Luis Quintero

By Ed Carroll

The wedding is not only one of the most important days in a couple’s lives, but it’s also one of the most well-documented. Photos and often videos are taken, capturing nearly every minute of the event with all eyes on the couple – and their smiles. 

Before they tie the knot, the couple may consider their teeth and consult with their dentists and orthodontists to help prepare their smiles for the cameras. Dr. Paul Mikhli from Beachwood Dental, Dr. Zachary Lawrence from Lawrence Family Orthodontics in Lyndhurst, and Dr. Stephan Parker and Dr. Mindy Streem from Parker & Streem Orthodontics in Mayfield Village shared their thoughts on smile-enhancing treatments and procedures couples should say “I do” to ahead of their big day.


Lawrence said it’s not uncommon for engaged couples to do some self-reflection ahead of their wedding and think of ways to invest in and present themselves the way they want others to see. 

“It’s really an exciting opportunity when we can have that impact on patients’ lives,” Lawrence says. “Typically, we’re seeing a lot of patients coming in requesting aligners to straighten their teeth as well as bleaching to whiten their teeth. So, it’s very exciting for us to have that kind of impact on people and to be able to provide what they’re looking for.”

He says ideally, patients would come in 12 to 18 months ahead of the wedding to provide enough time for treatments such as the ClearCorrect invisible aligner, which lets Lawrence Family Orthodontics create custom alignments without needing to go through an outside company.


Parker and Streem say if patients give them enough time, they can do incredible work straightening teeth and smiles. They offer Invisalign aligners and their practice is in the top 1% of providers for the procedure in the country, they said.

“(Those getting married) want a beautiful smile for their special day,” Parker says. “We get … their teeth straightened in a fairly short period of time. Oftentimes someone comes in with six months – or as little as two months, but that’s pushing it – and we make their teeth look either fully straight or so improved, it’s night and day.”


Mikhli says while there is a lot of cosmetic work he can do to improve teeth and smiles, orthodontics ultimately takes time, usually at least six months to a year. He said step one if you’re getting married should be to schedule a regular dental visit, but there are other treatments he offers that can enhance someone’s smile. 

He says teeth whitening is commonly sought by those who are getting married.

“Other things that we can do are bonding and manicuring teeth, which is basically using filling material that matches the teeth and really fixing any minor things – like a chipped tooth here, we can manicure, flatten that out, and really enhance the smile for a relatively inexpensive cost, and get things to look a lot more harmonious,” Mikhli says. “I think that’s the big thing when I look at aesthetics is harmony, to make sure that the teeth look symmetrical and that they’re in harmony with the other teeth and also the smile.”

Mikhli says another option his office can provide is veneers, which are thin coverings that look natural and go over the teeth. Ideally, he says patients could get veneers at least two months ahead of the wedding.


Parker and Streem explain they work closely with a patient’s dentist if it’s determined they need bonding or veneers, particularly for patients who may have a life event such as a wedding coming up. They both say if time is winding down ahead of the wedding, purchasing over-the-counter whitening strips can help, particularly with discolored teeth, but ultimately orthodontics should be performed by professionals.

“As far as moving the teeth, there’s nothing I could recommend to improve alignment that doesn’t involve professionals,” Parker says. “Moving teeth is a much more complex thing than doing-it-yourself orthodontics. We see the problems that arise when people try to do that. It’s just not a good thing.”

Lawrence reminds couples that orthodontics are an investment in themselves, especially ahead of large life events like weddings. 

“It’s a self-investment, you’re trying to better yourself,” he says. “Research has shown people who have straight teeth are viewed by their peers as more intelligent and more likely to succeed. So, when the spotlight’s on you, you want to make sure you’re putting the best foot forward and it’s important to make that investment in yourself.”

Mikhli says it’s not a bad idea to inform your family dentist of the wedding and to let the wedding party know to contact that dentist in the event of an emergency, particularly for out-of-town wedding party members. But ultimately, the couple shouldn’t change up their normal dental hygiene habits ahead of their wedding.

“My biggest piece of advice is, don’t do anything different before the wedding,” he says. “If it’s been working for you up until that point, keep on that same thing. Don’t say, ‘Oh I’m going to start flossing vigorously,’ a week before the wedding or something like that. Who knows what damage you could do?”

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