13 Unexpected Things You Can Do to Get a Perfect Smile
Eyes may be the windows to your soul, but your smile can make or break a first impression.
Candy that cleans your teeth sounds too good to be true, but that’s exactly what Zolli candy was designed to do. After you eat, the acid in your mouth can break down tooth enamel and energize cavity-causing bacteria. Zollipops, Zolli Drops, and Zaffi Taffy are candies that raise the pH in your mouth to neutralize the acid, helping to protect against tooth decay and cavities. The all-natural candy line was invented by “kidpreneur” Alina Morse, the youngest person to ever be featured on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Check out the foods that are worse for your teeth than candy.
Laugh lines filler
Nasolabial folds, also known as smile or laugh lines, are those vertical lines that extend from the side of your nose and curve around your mouth. “Many patients feel that these lines make them look tired or older, and they tend to look deeper when you smile,” says Lara Devgan, MD, a New York City plastic surgeon. To soften these lines, she suggests an injectable treatment like Sculptra Aesthetic, which is FDA-approved to stimulate collagen production and gradually restore volume to the area. Sculptra treatments may require up to four sessions, but the results can last several years.
“Improving the skin around the lips helps with the overall smile by presenting the lips on a nice canvas,” says David Shafer, MD, a New York City plastic surgeon. “Imagine a beautiful painting hung on a dirty wall versus on a crisp clean wall.” To smooth skin’s texture, stimulate collagen, and even out pigmentation, Dr. Shafer recommends laser treatments such as Picoway Resolve by Syneron-Candela, which only take about about 15 minutes perform.
If you’re interested in changing the shape, color, or position of one or all of your teeth, Steven Freeman, a dentist in St. Augustine, FL, recommends porcelain veneers. “Veneers are simply thin pieces of porcelain bonded to the surface of your teeth,” he explains. “Old veneers required significant tooth removal, but today we can do it with little or no tooth removal.” Well-maintained veneers should last 10 to 15 years, but they’re a significant investment; each tooth can cost $1,000 to $2,500—or more! Don’t miss the secrets your dentist won’t tell you.
Brushing with black paste to brighten your teeth might seem counterintuitive, but activated charcoal is a natural way to whiten teeth about one shade lighter. Hello Activated Charcoal Epic Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste combines the cleansing benefits of charcoal, the breath-freshening flavor of mint, and the cavity prevention of fluoride. “The mild abrasives in their formulation help polish the teeth to provide a whiter look, while the addition of fluoride keeps the enamel healthy and sensitivity free,” says Lawrence Fung, founder of Silicon Beach Dental in Los Angeles. Even drugstore stalwart, Colgate, recently introduced a Colgate Essential Toothpaste with Charcoal that removes stains and impurities while freshening your breath. Find out the 13 secrets your smile may be revealing.
Apple cider vinegar
“This natural antibiotic contains acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics, and enzymes to whiten teeth, kill bad bacteria, and promote the growth of good bacteria,” says Shahrooz Yazdani, a dentist in Ontario. For optimal teeth-whitening results, he recommends rubbing apple cider vinegar on your teeth for one minute every day for a month. Be sure to brush your teeth or swish with water or a hydrogen peroxide rinse afterward. A brighter smile is just one of the many benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Got a gummy smile? Gingivoplasty is a simple surgical procedure to reshape the gumline and remove excess gingival tissue. Performed with a scalpel, a laser, or an electrosurgery machine, this periodontal treatment allows you to show more teeth and less gums when you laugh or smile, explains Lata Sedalia Stefano, a dentist in Sandusky, Ohio. The price varies depending on the number of teeth and amount of gum tissue involved, but the smile-improving results won’t change.
It’s not just gum tissue that can be contoured. Enameloplasty is an option if you have teeth that are slightly rotated or irregularly shaped, says Stefano. The easy cosmetic contouring procedure involves removing small amounts of enamel using a dental handpiece to reshape or shorten a tooth. (Don’t worry, there aren’t any nerves in your enamel, so this noninvasive procedure won’t hurt!) Check out these science-backed reasons you should be smiling more.
Looking for a less permanent way to improve a gummy smile? Botox can help minimize the appearance of gum tissue and only lasts three to four months, says dentist Daria Hamrah, of Nova Surgical in McLean, VA. By injecting Botox into the muscle that lifts the upper lip, he explains, it becomes weakened and restricts the upper lip from exposing too much gums when you smile.
On-demand dental advice
Not sure what you should do to perfect your smile? Toothpic, a dental app for iOS and Android, can answer your questions, provide homecare advice, and recommend next steps without the inconvenience of stepping foot in a dentist’s office. Simply snap a series of photos of your mouth and a fully-licensed dentist in the United States will review your case and respond within a day. If you end up needing an in-office visit to address your concern, you can also use Toothpic to find vetted dentists in your area.
Because no two people are alike, “byte fixes your teeth by looking at the bigger picture—your face,” says John Marashi, celebrity cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles. The at-home teeth straightening solution creates custom invisible aligners using a proprietary process developed by Marashi. Called Smile Science, the process considers each client’s unique facial features when creating a plan. You make impressions of your mouth at home, send them to byte’s team of dental experts. They review them with an interactive 3D digital model to determine how to best move your teeth to complement the proportions and symmetry of your unique face.
Even the busiest among us can find time to brighten their smile with Mobile White, an on-the-go whitening system that plugs into your smartphone. Designed by Bill Dorfman, DDS, a cosmetic dentist who also created Zoom Whitening, this travel-friendly kit uses an LED light tray with a USB cord and timer button, so you can whiten your teeth literally anywhere you take your phone. Learn about the other teeth-whitening products dentists recommend.
Invisalign clear aligners can change your smile by fixing a number dental concerns, including crowding or spacing, overbite, underbite, and crossbites. While the treatment has been around for a while, there has been consistent innovation every year for the past decade, says David Galler, senior vice president of orthodontics at Aspen Dental Management, Inc. Galler is particularly excited about the launch of iTero Element 2, a digital scanner that allows dentists to better visualize what’s happening in a patient’s mouth and educate the patient on treatment options.
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- Lara Devgan, MD, plastic surgeon, New York City.
- David Shafer, MD, plastic surgeon, New York City.
- Steven Freeman, dentist, St. Augustine, FL.
- Lawrence Fung, dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental, Los Angeles.
- Shahrooz Yazdani, dentist in Ontario.
- Lata Sedalia Stefano, dentist, Sandusky, Ohio.
- Daria Hamrah, Nova Surgical, McLean, VA.
- John Marashi, celebrity cosmetic dentist, Los Angeles.
- David Galler, senior vice president of orthodontics, Aspen Dental Management, Inc.