Beaming beauty: Local dentists offer advice on smile makeovers and improving your smile throughout the New Year.

At the start of a new year, people tend to reflect as they make resolutions for personal improvements. While some focus on ways to lose weight or improve their style or fitness, many decide to focus on ways to improve their smile. Experts say that people who have a great smile have an increased boost of confidence and positivity, all of which transcend into personal and business relationships.

“Improving one’s smile is absolutely important,” says Dr. Ann Sielicki of Sonoran Dental Design in Scottsdale. “A smile can be the mirror for a lot of people. A smile is really the first impression of each person to the rest of the world. People want to improve their smile so that they can invest in themselves and give off a better outward appearance.”

But for those who are interested in improving their smiles, two factors come into play: cost and time. Sielicki and other Scottsdale dentists say it’s possible to enhance your smile while keeping your budget and time in mind.

1 hour: teeth whitening

For those who are looking for a quick fix to brighten up their smile, there is no better or more affordable way to upgrade your pearly whites than to get them whitened. Dr. Jeffrey Clark of Scottsdale Dental Excellence offers a special type of whitening called Opalescence Boost Bleaching, which is guaranteed to leave your teeth sparkling new.

Perfect for people who are big fans of coffee or tea, Opalescence Boost Bleaching is one of the most advanced whitening services on the market, utilizing a special, chemically activated formula solution that is painted onto the teeth in 15 minutes intervals. Patients can see the color of their teeth improve up to eight shades lighter in one visit.

If one hour is too long to set aside in your schedule, Clark’s practice also started a new program called Mini-Bleaches, where patients have the opportunity to get their teeth quickly whitened via a whitening solution at the end of a teeth-cleaning session. The solution only takes 10 minutes for the application, and patients can see fast results.

An additional incentive to getting your teeth cleaned is that patients can participate in the “Forever White Program” at Clark’s office. The program allows patients to get custom-made splints for their teeth, and if committed to daily cleaning visits, they are given free whitening solutions at the end of each visit. That means you can have a fresh, crisp smile all year round.

Teeth whitening procedures in Clark’s office can run anywhere from “free,” such as with the “Forever White Program,” to approximately $525.

1 day: porcelain veneers

Sometimes, we find more grooves and ridges in our teeth due to normal wear and tear, whether it is due to the food we eat or from grinding our teeth too much. Because of this, the shape of our teeth can change or become smaller. One way to remedy this is to get porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin layers of material that are used for restorative purposes and are generally placed over the front of the teeth. They can either be used to change the way your tooth looks or protect a tooth that may have been badly damaged.

Typically, the process of getting a veneer takes more than one visit, but Sielicki has a special piece of equipment that only requires one visit. The Chair side Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (or CEREC) unit is a dental restoration product that will take a picture of your tooth right away, allowing the dental practitioner to create a 3D model of your new tooth. The information is sent to another machine that will actually create your new tooth using a block of high quality ceramic.

With the use of the CEREC unit, patients can see new and improved smiles within a couple of hours with no need to pay for an extra visit.

Costs for porcelain veneers run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the nature of each case.

1 month: porcelain crowns

There are times when the holidays get the best of us, and unfortunately, we get a cavity from the many delectable treats we’ve eaten. To protect our teeth compromised by decay, Dr. Paul Douglas of Douglas Family Dentistry says that a porcelain crown is the way to go. It can even protect teeth that have had root canals or have been cracked or fractured.

The process of obtaining a crown usually takes two visits — sometimes more — depending on the severity of the case. During the first visit, the tooth is prepped and an impression is taken. Afterward, a temporary crown is placed on top of the tooth that needs attention. After about a week, the permanent porcelain crown is placed after the removal of the temporary crown.

Each visit usually takes about an hour, and the average cost of the procedure is typically $1,000.

1 year: teeth straightening

While teeth whitening, veneers and crowns can most certainly make the biggest difference in the way our smile is perceived, one of the more drastic procedures is teeth straightening.

The most typical way to straighten your teeth is through the use of braces. The only disadvantage to braces is that it brings more unwanted attention to your mouth due to its unsightly appearance. To combat this, Clark suggests Invisalign, an invisible plastic aligner that gradually shifts your teeth in place according to how your dental plan is detailed.

According to Clark, aligners are switched out every two weeks until treatment is completed — usually taking 12 months or less for patients to see their desired results. The best part? Invisalign makes it easy for you to keep your teeth clean, rather than having to adopt new yoga poses just to floss in between your braces.

Prices can range anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000.

For more information about smile makeovers and improving your smile through the year, visit:

Scottsdale Dental Excellence
8765 E. Bell Rd., #201, Scottsdale
(480) 585-1853

Sonoran Dental Design
7500 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd., #204, Scottsdale
(480) 419-9595

Douglas Family Dentistry
10630 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
(480) 948-3680

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013