Whatever you think of the latest batch of Hollywood pretty boys, you’ve got to hand it to them: They all seem irresistible to women and they all have perfectly straight teeth. In fact, it’s no coincidence. FemaleFirst.co.uk says that a good smile is the one thing that makes a man irresistible. Great dental work might not be the only key to a woman’s heart, but let’s face it: Even if you’re a movie star, one of the first things any woman notices about a man is his smile. So if you’re a guy with a set of crooked choppers, and you don’t want to spend the next couple of years with a mouthful of metal, maybe you should be chewing over your options with a cosmetic dentist — and getting the situation straightened out in just a couple of visits.
“In an ideal world, crooked teeth can be treated in two sessions using porcelain veneers,” says Dr. David Frey, a Beverly Hills–based cosmetic dentist with more than 20 years of experience.
Veneers are thin but durable porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They’re resistant to stains, so if you drink a lot of coffee or tea, they also save you from discolorations. They last 10 to 20 years before needing replacement. And the installation procedure is relatively painless.
But before any transformation of your oral eyesores takes place, Frey says he — or any good oral surgeon — has to make sure your teeth are in good health, and that any routine dental treatments are taken care of.
“Once you have been cleared for this type of procedure, we can usually do the work in two visits that last anywhere from three to six hours each,” says Frey.
In Frey’s office, patients start their treatment by helping to design their smile. They choose a template they like from a catalogue, and from that Frey makes a wax mockup that the patient can put in their mouth — something he calls a trial smile. “The patient can actually wear their final smile before we go any further,” he says. “And if they’re not satisfied, we can make alterations to it.”
When the patient finally gets the green light for the cosmetic procedure to begin, Frey reshapes and contours the existing teeth into alignment. This provides a backboard for the porcelain veneers to create a straight and uniform look. “It’s an area of dentistry where science meets art,” he says. “You’ll get different results from every dentist. It really depends on their skill and experience, so you should be confident in whom you choose to do the work.”
How to Find the Right Cosmetic Dentist
Frey recommends doing some detailed research before deciding on a cosmetic dentist. “Start with looking at various doctor’s websites and the before and after pictures of actual patients,” he advises. “Have consultations with more than one doctor and ask to speak to patients they’ve treated.” You should also check that the doctor has invested in the latest technology, participates in continuing education and training and will be available to talk to you directly if you have any problems. “Most importantly, look for a doctor who will focus on you,” says Frey. “The majority of dentists are not set up to do cosmetic procedures and move from room to room while they perform routine work. In my office, I see only one patient at a time. I block out several hours to give a single patient all my attention.”
The Bottom Line
Get some estimates before committing to anything. Because patients and treatments vary so much, Frey declined to give us an idea of the fees he charges, but you can be confident this type of dental work is not inexpensive. (Many sites cite between $250 and $2,500 per tooth, depending on materials.)
So how long will your new teeth last? “Nothing manmade can last forever,” says Frey. “This technology has only been around for 35 years and it’s still evolving. You should go in with the idea that you will have to replace veneers, but they can last for many years. In the meantime, you’re going to love your smile, and that’s priceless.”
By Tim Jarvis for Style + Tech For Men
Tim Jarvis is a freelance health, technology and entertainment writer who contributes to O, The Oprah Magazine and the men’s grooming and lifestyle site Men’s Life Today. He is also currently working on a book about the mysteries of quantum mechanics. Tim’s articles have previously appeared on Style and Tech for Men.