You have to admit, teeth are the first things you notice about a person when you meet them—and research supports that. Several recent studies suggest that great smiles were found to make strangers, and particularly women, more attractive. But what’s the secret to big pearly whites? And how does the average Jane get the perfect smile without spending a million bucks? Nowadays, a girl has options. But keep in mind there are levels to having a big beautiful smile—from affordable, over-the-counter solutions to in-office procedures.
First, there is gum health. According to the American Dental Association, you should brush at least twice a day, floss and see your local dentist at least two times a year. As with everything, your foundation is important. And, the foundation to a beautiful smile is healthy gums. Of course, diet and lifestyle heavily factor into your dental health, so things like smoking and high-sugar diets could impact your smile, too.
Next, you must figure out what you don’t like about your smile. Is it the color? Do you have gaps? Do your teeth need to be realigned?
Some fixes are simple. There are in-home and in-office options that can lighten your teeth. For example, Crest has 3D White Strips for less than $70, and SmileDirectClub offers a mail-order kit at around the same price point. You can also go the professional route; most dentists’ offices offer the service. Keep in mind there are pros and cons with each. If you opt for the do-it-herself method, it’s cheaper, usually under $100, and you have the convenience of doing it when you are ready. If you want a professional to do it, it can be completed in a few hours, and doctors can adjust the treatment to address your teeth’s sensitivity. But it comes at a cost; expect the price to be at least triple for the in-office procedure.
What about gaps and realignment? By now, everyone has heard of braces and Invisalign, the clear mouth mold, which can help align teeth. These more traditional options carry their own costs. An orthodontist has to assess your teeth and develop a plan to realign them. Whether you get braces or Invisalign depends on your preference. Some people prefer to go into an office and have traditional braces because they know they would lose their Invisalign.
Others know they can accept the responsibility of keeping up with the Invisalign option. Are you looking for more involved dental help? Though they are the most expensive option—about $2,000 more than braces—veneers are not usually covered by insurance. To get veneers, dentists usually grind down teeth to cap them with tooth-like prosthetics. More people are opting for the convenience of veneers. In just a few hours, you can have perfect alignment and pearly whites. Cosmetic dentist Mario Montoya is known for his no-shave veneers (in which he doesn’t have to grind down existing teeth). He’s the dentist responsible for the smiles of notable celebrities and “everyday people” who he has helped get the perfect smile at an affordable price point.