Health: Smile Therapy
Get great teeth! Noreen Flanagan discovers how
Grin and Wear It
"There are millions of different smiles, but only three main smile patterns," says Dr. Edward Philips of The Studio for Aesthetic Dentistry in Toronto. "You can learn to smile in a certain way, but you have a natural smile based on one of three neuromuscular patterns you're born with."
For example, 67 percent of us sport commissure smiles. This means that the corners of our mouth are pulled up and outward revealing our upper teeth. Commissure smiles are conservative smiles," says Dr. Philips. "We usually assume that the person is traditional, solid and can be counted on." Famous commissure smiles: Cailsta Flockhart, Jennifer Aniston, Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields.
Thirty-one percent of us flash a cuspid smile, which means our smiling muscles first lift up to reveal our canine, or cuspid, teeth. Then, we pull the corners of our mouth upward and outward. "Cuspid smiles are the most mysterious," says Dr. Philips. "You get the sense that they're holding back and that there is more to them than meets the eye." Famous cuspid smiles: Linda Evangelista, Sharon Stone, Drew Bartymore, Elvis Presley Tom Cruise.
Two percent of us, when amused, reveal our complex smile. The muscles that raise and lower our lips contract at the same time, displaying all our upper and lower teeth. "These smiles are audacious, adventurous and off-the-wall," says Dr. Philips. "These are people who aren't afraid to break the rules and let loose. It's a very un-British kind of smile. Could you imagine the Queen having a complex smile? She's definitely very commissure." Famous complex smiles: Julia Roberts, Uma Thurman, Marilyn Monroe.
Can everyone benefit from some cosmetic dentistry? “Even a perfect smile will deteriorate as we get older," says Dr. Philips. "Teeth naturally wear down, our gums recede and our teeth become discoloured with age." Popular procedures:
Bleaching Try take-home whitening kits, which can be purchased from your dentist. Cost: $350-$800. Have teeth instantly whitened with an Argon laser. Cost: $800-si 500. Touch- ups required every 1 -2 years.
Bonding Chipped, uneven or small teeth can be reshaped by bonding acrylic resin to the tooth's surface. Cost: $200-$400 per tooth and it lasts 2-5 years. Applying porcelain veneers, which can last anywhere from 5-20 years, are more durable and natural-looking. Cost: $500- $1,000 per tooth. (Tooth tattoos - painted porcelain veneers such as a happy face- are also growing in popularity.)
Smile contouring Crooked or asymmetrical teeth can be reshaped using a diamond drill. Cost: approximately $600 per hour.
Gingivectimy If you show more than 3 mm of your gums when you smile, or if your gum line is uneven, you may be a candidate to have the soft gum tissue reshaped and removed using a laser. Cost: approximately $500 for 4-8 teeth.
When Aida Rosales flashed her smile at the Eaton's Elite Model Look '98 in Toronto last spring, she came away with a $10,000 educational scholarship from Colgate. Winner of the Colgate Sensation Whitening Smile Search, Rosales' smile conveyed "the confidence and intelligence of today's youth," says Philip Durocher, director of marketing for Colgate-Palmolive Canada Inc. Here's cosmetic dentist Edward Philips' analysis: Aida's bottom lip-line follows her teeth perfectly and her two front teeth have the perfect "golden" proportion, which means the width of those teeth are exactly 1.6 times their height."