A few weeks ago, I happened to catch the movie “300″ which tells about how civilization as we know it was salvaged when the ancient Spartans held back a Persian onslaught.
While many in the audience took note of the fact that every male actor looked as if he had spent thousands of hours in an ancient gym, I couldn’t help chuckling over the fact that every actor and actress in this ancient setting happened to have a sparkling, “Hollywood” smile—perfect rows of blinding white teeth. Guess they had pretty good cosmetic dentists in ancient Greece!
But, let’s face it, wouldn’t you rather look at a nice, bright smile than gaze into the abyss of tooth decay and rotting gums? And, if you are a public speaker, or someone who plans on being on television a lot, you can bet that people looking at you will zero right in on that smile of yours. Next to your eyes, studies have shown that people focus most often on a person’s teeth.
So, what to do if you have a smile that is less “Hollywood” and more, say, Minsk?
A trip to your friendly cosmetic dentist may be in order. But, what exactly do you want and how much is it going to cost you?
If you already have pretty good teeth –shape, spacing, etc..–and it is just whitening you want, there are several relatively cheap procedures you can have done. Laser, bleaching to name a few. The whole process costs a fraction of what crowns or porcelain veneers would set you back. Usually, several hundred dollars.
Here’s what dentists often do not tell you:
There is some controversy about whether Laser whitening has a negative effect on the pulp, or nerve, inside your tooth. Long term implications, according to various accounts, are uncertain at best. As for bleaching, many people end up with sensitive teeth or irritated gums. Usually, these are temporary…but not always and any dentist who fails to tell you this is a dentist to avoid at all costs.
Also, make sure your dentist gives you a realistic sense of what can be done..usually you can only whiten teeth a couple of shades brighter than what you currently have.
If that is not good enough for you, or, if you have other problems with your teeth, dentists will tell you to consider either veneers or full porcelain crowns.
What dentists often do not tell you is that both require drilling down some of the enamel of the tooth (a very small amount for veneers which are like shells covering the front of your tooth; much more to prepare a tooth to be fully encased in a crown) and that can lead to teeth so sensitive afterwards that you may end up needing a root canal to remove the injured and painful pulp or nerve inside the tooth…more money,of course.
Veneers and crowns will set you back thousands of dollars depending upon how many teeth you have done.
What dentists often do not tell you is that you often need to replace them after 10 years or so because the bonding agents used to affix the veneer or crown to your natural teeth start to wear off.
Almost any cosmetic dentist you go to will tell you amusing stories about patients who come in and want teeth as white as a nurse’s uniform–and, most dentists will try to dissuade a patient from doing this. Humans simply do not normally have bright white teeth. And, we’ve all seen public speakers and actors whose teeth are so blinding that you tune out whatever it is that person is saying and just stare at their teeth! This is not the desired effect!
Bottom line: If you are planning to do lots of public speaking, or be on television, there is no doubt that it will help to have a winning smile. But, do yourself a favor and make sure you question your dentist carefully and do your own research to know beforehand what you are getting yourself into and how much it may end up costing you.
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