Simple procedures that will transform your smile

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A smile is one of the first things we notice about someone, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's also one of the first things celebs spend money on when they make it big. 

Dr. Shannon Hobbs returned to The Social with tips on how to get that million-dollar smile without spending a million dollars. 

What determines the cost of a procedure?

The cost variations can be based on the degree of difficulty with the procedure, the experience of the dental professional, where they're located, the technology and equipment available, etc...

How do you know which procedure is right for you?

You have to determine what it is you want to fix about your smile, what you're willing to go through – do you want a quick fix or a permanent fix (i.e a retainer for four months or braces for two or more years) – and your budget. 

BOTOX
Celeb example: Jennifer Garner
Cost: A few hundred dollars

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  • The before photo shows a gummy smile between tooth and lip
  • In a cosmetic world, you want the lip to fall just where the tooth begins
  • To lower the lip without too much cost or invasion, inject a bit of botox on either side of the nostrils. That will relax the muscles that lift the lip.
  • When you smile, the lip will stay in place and cover the gums.

VENEERS
Celeb example: Hilary Duff
Cost: It's expensive – almost $1,000 per tooth

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  • She used to have very short teeth that had a natural colour to them
  • To improve that shape and colour, she probably got porcelain veneers
  • Porcelain provides a more consistent white and they're made to your specs
  • You can personalize everything about them including shape, size and colour
  • They can also be made perfectly symmetrical
  • They're permanent, as they require the removal of some of your natural enamel to fit properly

If you don't want to remove your enamel, is there a less permanent fix?

BONDING
Celeb example: Cheryl Cole
Cost: A few hundred dollars per tooth – it will be $1,000 to $1,500 to see a transformation

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  • Composite veneers, like the ones Cheryl Cole probably used, are called bonding
  • That would be used to avoid big orthodontic appliances or to simply avoid the cost of porcelain veneers
  • Bonding helps to close the gaps between your teeth without using braces
  • It's just filling material – you basically sculpt it on the teeth to improve the appearance of a discoloured or chipped or misshapen tooth
  • Think of them like a press-on nail. They're completely reversible but also susceptible to falling off
  • It's a good option if you're not 100 per cent convinced you want veneers

WHITENING
Celeb example: George Clooney
Cost: Whitening procedures can run anywhere from $25 to a few hundred dollars

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There are three types of whitening procedures:
  1. Whitening strips, toothpaste, mouthwash: great to see if your teeth will get the results or if you're going to have secondary effects like sensitivity
  2. Custom whitening trays that can be made at the dentist: you buy a gel that goes into the tray, wear them for 20 minutes to an hour once a day for a week and get results. They include a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Chairside whitening: this is where your dentist applies a high concentration of whitening gel that's activated, it pushes the chemical into the tooth so there's also the risk that you may experience sensitivity. 

Dr. Shannon Hobbs recommends building up to the strong whitening procedure because it can cause terrible sensitivity. You have to have a dental exam before this procedure to check for cavities and gum health. If there are any problems, it would feel like you're putting salt in a wound. 

REPLACE MISSING TEETH
Celeb example: Tiger Woods

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There are a lot of options:

Dental implant
  • This is the ideal option if you're healthy, not a smoker, and you don't suffer from diabetes
  • It's making out of titanium and it's biocompatible so your body has a very low risk of rejecting it
  • It costs about $4,000

Flipper
  • This is like a mini denture so it's completely removable
  • You see those most often on shows like Toddlers and Tiaras for the kids with missing teeth

Bridge
  • It's not the most ideal because you have to damage the adjacent teeth in order to give it something to hold on to.
  • It's like a porcelain crown or veneer that's cemented onto the surrounding teeth with an intense material
  • It's also hard to clean

ORTHODONTICS
Celeb example: Miley Cyrus
Cost: Braces can cost between $6,000 - $7,000 or a few hundred for a retainer

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  • Miley's teeth were crowded and overlapping and her bite was really deep
  • You can't correct this with veneers because you need to shfit the position of the tooth in the bone
  • Invisalign is an option – it's a procedure that uses clear aligners that sit on your teeth and move them slowly
  • Miley had lingual braces that sit behind the teeth. The benefit of this is that you can't see them, but they can cause a bit of a speech impediment or general tongue discomfort. 

Orthodontist vs. Dentist: how do you know which one to see?

An orthodontist will be able to fix whatever is thrown at them, but it comes at a price. If your dentist is comfortable doing orthodontic treatments and depending on the severity of the case, you can end up saving hundreds to thousands of dollars with a general dentist. But an orthodontist is a specialist for a reason; they have a lot of experience and will give you an excellent result 
 
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