SheKnows got the smile scoop from Dr. Catrise Austin, celebrity cosmetic and general dentist, owner of VIP Smiles in New York, and author of 5 Steps to the Hollywood A-List Smile. She took some time out of her busy schedule to share her top tips about how to get your best, brightest, red-carpet-worthy smile.
The first thing Austin advises is to take a look in the mirror and assess your current smile. She suggests asking yourself the following questions:
"These questions and your answers can help guide your dentist in recommending the best treatment for your smile, and design a plan with timelines for having your smile picture-perfect," the dentist says. Depending on your smile needs, a smile makeover can take a few hours or a few months, so Austin recommends doing the mirror test as soon as possible.
Once you've determined your smile needs, find the right dentist who can deliver the smile you want. If you don't have a cosmetic dentist that you're happy with, find one. Many dentists offer consultations, which allow you to discuss your needs one-on-one. At this time you can ask to see before-and-after photographs of actual patients, find out the pros and cons of recommended treatments, and discuss costs and timelines of completion. Austin does warn that there are tons of cosmetic dentists out there who have not been properly trained, so she suggests that you do your homework or ask for a referral.
Teeth-whitening is the No.1 requested cosmetic dentistry procedure on the market today, Austin says, adding that whitening is safe for your teeth provided that you use a brand recommended by your dentist. "When combined with a professional teeth cleaning by your dental team, whitening is one of the quickest ways to enhance your smile," she says. Your dentist can clean and whiten your teeth in just one hour with an advanced whitening formula like Zoom or Opalescence, or you can whiten in the comfort of your own home with at at-home whitening kit. Austin recommends Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips, which can remove up to 13 years of set-in stains in just three to seven days.
If you have more advanced smile needs – such as filling large gaps, making teeth appear straighter, hiding missing teeth, masking discolorations – and you're short on time or money, Austin recommends the Snap on Smile, a custom-made, natural-looking, tooth-colored appliance that slips over your natural teeth to instantly give you the perfect smile at a fraction of the cost of porcelain veneers, which can cost thousands of dollars. Other procedures to talk to your dentist about when dealing with the issues mentioned above include clear removable braces, bonding, bridges or implants.
Studies show that poor oral health can not only cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and tooth loss, but is also linked to other serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and preterm or low-birthweight babies in pregnant women, explains Austin. Follow this routine at home to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
A recent study revealed that those with a beautiful smile are perceived as more successful, intelligent, interesting, wealthy, attractive and popular with the opposite sex, which makes sense. One of the first things that people notice about you is your smile. "It's your greeting card, your business card, your resume and your facial mood-ring all in one," Austin says. "A strong, confident smile implies much more than personal hygiene; it truly shows accomplishment, happiness, radiance and strength."
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