Why are Aesthetic Smile Tweakments Trending?
Aesthetic smile tweakments are now a valid, if not better, alternative to facial procedures for a natural-looking youth boost, says Annabel Jones
The Smile High Club: Why Aesthetic Smile Tweakments are on the Rise
‘Five years ago no one was interested in cosmetic dentistry. Teeth were seen as a health concern, not a way to look better or younger,’ says Dr Rhona Eskander. Rhona and I are on a first-name basis. She has been my ‘smile architect’ ever since I came to her with a gummy smile and yellowing, cracked teeth four years ago, and I trust her like I do my therapist. I’m not being melodramatic.
Ask anyone who’s undertaken a successful smile makeover and they’ll tell you that the internal transformation is as staggering as the external one, especially if wonky teeth have plagued you since childhood. After all, your smile, and how much you flex it, is an indicator of happiness. ‘The motion dictates the emotion,’ says Dr Michael Prager when referring to the negative effects that frowning can have on our emotional wellbeing.
On the contrary, a wide inviting smile breaks barriers in an instant. ‘It’s the universal language,’ says Eskander. And of course, a full mouth of gleaming white teeth is the surest indicator of youth and vitality there is. Wrinkles disappear into the background, skin appears brighter and eyes whiter.
Straightening and Whitening
The entryway smile tweakment is Invisalign, clear, made-to-measure, impermanent moulds that move and straighten teeth without the need for fixed braces, making them popular with those who’ve passed the socially acceptable age to don a pair of train tracks. ‘Patients are prioritising their health and self-care for the first time and having cosmetic dentistry to feel better about themselves,’ says orthodontist
Dr Emma Laing, who prescribes a new whitening pen for use with Invisalign’s clear aligners to ‘freshen up’ fading teeth.
‘Traditional peroxide gels can be messy and cause sensitivity; this has a nail polish-type applicator brush that’s easy to apply, perfect for those looking for a quick, hypernatural effect.’
The appeal of such mini teeth treatments, says cosmetic dentist and facial aesthetic practitioner Dr Krystyna Wilczynski, is that they are non-invasive and low maintenance, which when combined with subtle facial treatments like Profhilo and alternative skin boosters creates the harmony that’s so often lacking in big smile makeovers. ‘Not everyone has the need or budget for veneers, but you can still make a lasting impact with a few small tweaks,’ she insists. Having trained as a dentist, Wilczynski studied aesthetic medicine in New York alongside leading plastic surgeons, giving her a big picture edge.
While it’s common for dentists to offer Botox these days, Wilczynski practises both disciplines at an advanced level. ‘When I assess someone’s smile, I’m not solely focusing on their teeth, I’m assessing their face as a whole,’ she explains, ‘achieving a natural look is about subtly improving skin, teeth and facial contours in synergy, not in isolation.’ Wilczynski’s attention to detail results in imperceptible design tweaks to correct not only crooked teeth but the cant (curve) of the top teeth to the width of the smile, even allowing for space for composite bonding, a non-invasive, non-permanent alternative to veneers.
‘I often design a client’s Invisalign course to work alongside bonding to create a more seamless fit,’ says Krystyna, alluding to the sometimes unnatural look that bonding can give if fixed in a rote way. ‘I apply the bonding tooth by tooth freehand for a
bespoke effect.’ For the uninitiated, composite bonding is colloquially referred to as ‘Shellac for teeth’ and can be a game changer for anyone whose teeth are a little worse for wear.
‘Teeth age just as our skin does; over time the enamel stains and erodes resulting in cracks, chips and yellowing, which can be incredibly confidence draining,’ says Dr Eskander, whose own ‘Chelsea Look’ includes aligning, whitening and bonding as part of one treatment package.
Veneers: The New Frontier
While bonding can chip and stain over time, depending on your bite and whether you grind your teeth, porcelain veneers are still considered the gold standard and can last 15 years or more without staining. Yet, as with all tweakments, there is a veritable difference from one veneer technician to the next. Eskander is one of the few cosmetic dentists who works closely with one hand-picked ceramist, Simon Caxton at Simplee Dental Ceramics, who crafts his veneers in close collaboration with the client and Eskander to create the most lifelike veneers with the least amount of destruction to the underlying teeth.
‘We always aim for minimally invasive veneers. Filing tooth enamel down to tiny fangs puts the patient’s health at risk. The goal is to retain as much natural tooth as possible, which requires a high level of skill says Eskander, whose ultra-thin veneers incorporate discerning details such as varying degrees of tone and translucency with realistic contours that reflect the light. And, when it comes to hue, whiter isn’t always better.
‘Blinding white TicTac teeth can actually highlight maturing skin; the most flattering shade is one that matches the whites of your eyes,’
‘The position of the gums is integral to a proportionate smile; they are the frame to the teeth and can often hold the key to unlocking symmetry and harmony,’ insists Eskander who works alongside renowned periodontist, Dr Mitul Shah. The obvious case for a gum surgeon like Shah is crown lengthening to correct a gummy smile, which can be performed with a laser or minor surgery depending on the case.
Artfully, Shah designs the ideal gum position digitally to replicate the end result to the millimetre, before you’ve even committed.
On the flipside, Shah can surgically restore receding gums with a gum graft, and has been treating pigmentation with a high-tech laser that gently resurfaces the top layer with no downtime.
‘Pigmentation on gums is a common concern with patients of Afro-Caribbean and Asian heritage. The Waterlase laser helps to restore an
even pink colour,’ he says.
At Home Care
In terms of aesthetic smile tweakments at home, Dr Emma Laing suggests investing in a high-tech electric toothbrush such as Oral B’s iO9 Black Onyx Electric Toothbrush (£250, oralb.co.uk) to keep teeth whiter for longer, and avoid harsh toothpastes that erode teeth’s natural enamel – the shiny, protective coat that keeps them looking bright and glossy. Instead use a pro-enamel paste such as Pärla Pro Toothpaste Tabs (£8 per month, parlatoothpastetabs.com), or Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste (£6.67). And, alas, floss twice a day – or else.
‘Interdental brushing with a TePe brush between teeth along with flossing is the smartest way to keep your teeth healthy and stain-free,’ stresses Laing. As for my own aesthetic smile tweakments, on a cost per wear basis I consider the investment as solid as the Chanel 2.55 handbag. After all, good teeth will never go out of fashion.
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