At one point or another, you’ve probably heard that scientists say it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. We say…those scientists clearly have too much time on their hands, shouldn’t they be curing cancer or something? That would really be something to smile about.
We also say that, jokes and clichés aside, your smile is one of your best assets. A smile conveys friendliness, trustworthiness, attractiveness, charisma – all things it never hurts to have more of in your life. So with that in mind, here are 5 ways to get the stellar smile you’ve always wanted.
Good teeth come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they’re straight. An A-list smile starts with proper oral alignment – which, thanks to the many blessings of modern technology, no longer means headgear from the set of Silence of the Lambs. You have several options:
Braces: Let’s hear it for old-school orthodontics. Braces are a time-honoured treatment if you’re looking to straighten up your smile. Choose between:
Traditional: Traditional braces are the most inexpensive option. Orthodontic work isn’t known for being budget friendly, but sticking with classic braces minimizes the cost as much as possible. The only catch is that they’re the most visible form of correction.
Clarity Advanced: Clarity braces take traditional braces one step further. They’re made of a fine-grained ceramic material that blends with the natural colour of your teeth, and their ultra-small translucent brackets are both less noticeable and more comfortable.
Incognito: For an even more discreet transformation, try Incognito braces. Incognito braces are the only fully customised treatment that sits behind your teeth. They’re more expensive than the previous options, but the trade-off is total invisibility.
Invisalign: Invisalign is one of the most popular options for adult patients because it’s practically invisible. The Invisalign aligner is a lightweight, clear plastic casing that is moulded to fit over your teeth. It’s replaced regularly with new aligners that bring your teeth closer and closer to your perfect smile, and can easily be taken in and out for meals or special occasions. Invisalign requires more patience to achieve the results you want, but it also gives you greater flexibility.
The straightest teeth in the world won’t close a business deal – or seal any other kind of deal – if they’re the colour of cheddar cheese. (It’s gross just thinking about it, isn’t it?) A white smile is a must if you want to impress. Again, there are several options that can fit any budget.
Whitening Toothpastes: This one’s a no-brainer. Head down to your local shop, pick up whitening toothpaste from the brand of your choice, and brush. Special chemicals and abrasives in the toothpaste whiten teeth by removing surface stains over the course of 2 to 6 weeks. When used after a professional lightening treatment, whitening toothpaste can help maintain results.
In-Office Whitening: A professional whitening treatment is the most dramatic way to attain a brilliant set of pearly whites. In-office whitening is a safe, non-invasive dental procedure that lifts deep-set stains from your tooth enamel. A prescription formula whitening gel is applied to your teeth, then activated by a UV lamp for 15 minutes. The application may be repeated 2-3 times. In less than an hour, you can leave the office with teeth 12 shades whiter.
Bleaching: Bleaching forms hydrogen peroxide from the reaction between carbamide peroxide and water. Many methods are available, including bleaching pens, gels, strips and laser bleaching. Whereas whitening typically restores teeth to their natural colour, bleaching can whiten beyond the natural colour.
Whitening Kits: Take-home kits don’t provide instant results, but they can still remove heavy stains from your teeth over the course of 2 weeks. Whitening kits include a mouth tray (custom-fitted, if the kit is provided by a dentist) or strips that allow for easy application of a whitening gel. Refresh your smile every few months as the whitening effects wear off.
Chipped & Broken Teeth
The enamel that covers your teeth may be some of the hardest tissue in the body, but it isn’t foolproof. Chow down on the wrong thing or take a drunken punch to the face and you could find yourself with a chipped, broken or fractured tooth (and a seriously bruised ego). See a dentist as soon as possible to set your smile to rights.
Filling & Bonding: Minor oral injuries can be solved with a dental filling or bonding. Bonding uses a tooth-coloured composite resin that is shaped to look like a natural tooth and adhered to the damaged area with ultraviolet light. It’s ideal for small chips, especially to the more visible front teeth.
Crowning & Capping: In more serious situations, a dental cap or crown may be required. A crown, or tooth-shaped cap, is used when a large piece of tooth breaks off or a significant amount of decay is present. Crowns can be made from several different materials, each of which has its pros and cons. Choose the one that best suits your specific needs.
Your teeth aren’t the only essential element of a magnetic smile. Your lips need some serious TLC, too. Luckily, getting better-looking lips doesn’t require any fancy treatments or tools (unless you want it to).
Care Products: The first and most vital component of a lip care routine is hydration. Drink water. Lots of it. And try to avoid licking your lips. Together, those two simple things will go a long way towards keeping your pucker pretty. For chapped lips, pick up a lip balm and exfoliate when necessary. Both products can be purchased on the cheap, but you can also opt for pricier luxury versions if that’s more your speed. If chapping is really proving to be a problem, invest in a humidifier to replace moisture in dry indoor air and keep your lips hydrated. And finally, remember to protect your lips from sunburn like you would any other skin on your body. Invest in a moisturizer or balm with SPF and wear it regularly.
Practice That Smile
Practice makes perfect and yes, even your smile could benefit from a few rehearsals. You know those fake smiles you see from used car salesmen and losers on reality TV competitions? Don’t do that. You want a smile that lights up a room, not a smile that looks physically painful.
A real smile involves both the mouth and the eyes. It’s where your crow’s feet come from, but a charismatic smile is worth the sacrifice of a little skin around your eyes. Let those eyes crinkle, show off that top row of teeth (especially now that you’ve got them looking so good) and get that grin wide.
Now that’s a handsome smile, champ.