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Of course, what exactly comprises the perfect smile is open to some debate. Some would say that all smiles are perfect, and that we shouldn’t try to conform to some societal standard of beauty that involves a great deal of upkeep and work. Generally, though, a perfect smile consists of two main things: whiteness and tooth alignment. Whiteness can be handled to some extent at home, while tooth alignment requires seeing a professional.
Tooth alignment is a tricky thing, made up of many different factors, but is crucial to having a truly perfect smile. There are some basic principles to a perfect smile that a specialist will try to match to make your smile really shine. For one thing, teeth need to incline in towards the center teeth just slightly, in what is technically referred to as a mesial inclination. For another, the line of the upper teeth should roughly match the line of the lower lip. Proportions are also very important in a perfect smile, with the width and length of the central teeth being most crucial, but the relationship between the sizes of all six front teeth also playing in to how a smile appears.
In the past, the only real option to realign teeth was to have fairly intrusive, very visually apparent braces installed. These could remain on for years, to slowly bring the teeth into the desired alignment. Now, however, an alternative exists in Invisalign®, a set of clear dental adjusters that have become incredibly popular. Tens of thousands of dentists and orthodontists are now set up to install and handle Invisalign® systems, making them quite easy to get in.
Invisalign® actually makes it much easier for normal people to get closer to a perfect smile, because they are in many ways easier to handle, and don’t have the stigma associated with traditional metal braces in adults. They are a removable alignment system, which means food can be eaten normally without the fuss of normal braces, and they can be regularly cleaned. The teeth are more slowly adjusted than with metal braces, but gradually they are straightened, with the patient switching to a new set of adjusters every few weeks. It should be noted, however, that Invisalign® is significantly more expensive than traditional metal systems.
Teeth whitening is another large part of getting a perfect smile, and in recent years it has becoming very popular. Dentists can do a much stronger tooth whitening regimen than can be done at home, applying a high-concentration bleaching gel and using lasers to speed up the process. A wide range of at-home kits are also on the market, with differing costs and varying levels of bleaching agent. These include strips of different strengths, as well as at-home inserts much like those used in a dentist’s office.
Veneers are another option to creating the perfect smile, and many cosmetic dentists use them instead of whitening. They are thin porcelain covers for the teeth, and when used on every teeth can make a totally perfect smile. Of course, the cost of a full cosmetic upgrade of the mouth, including veneers and cosmetic surgery on the gums can cost in the neighborhood of $100,000 US Dollars (USD). However, Invisalign® can cost around $10,000 USD for a normal mouth, and mixed with regular tooth whitening this can lead to a close-to perfect smile.