INSTRUCTORS:

DR. SOL WEISS, DMD; The Art of Dentistry, Toronto
DR. JACK SLOME, BDS, The Accolade Dental Centre in Toronto

COURSE OUTLINE:

A beautiful smile is the ultimate accessory. Here 's how to maintain what you have, and take steps towards achieving the smile you 've always dreamed of having.

ORAL CARE

When it comes to oral care, brushing twice daily and flossing every day is the only place to start. Brushing and flossing gets rid of built-up plaque and tarter on and in between teeth, which, if left untreated, can lead to painful cavities and tooth decay. A minimum of two visits per year to the dentist is also recommended for a professional cleaning, as well as to keep on top of pending problems. Achieving and maintaining a healthy smile is not only a self-esteem booster (and helps keep our breath fresh!) but research is now proving that a healthy smile is imperative to our overall physical well-being. "There 's a proven relationship between heart disease and gum disease, " says Dr. Sol Weiss, DMD, of Toronto 's Art of Dentistry. "If you want to be able to have proper physical health and heart health, you have to make sure your gums are OK It 's huge. "

WHITENING TREATMENTS

There are three ways to go about whitening your teeth: you can do it in-office, purchase a teeth-whitening tray from the dentist and do it at home or buy over-the-counter whitening strips. "Over-the-counter white strips are the least expensive. However ,they 're not as effective as getting your teeth whitened in-office or through the home kits, " says Dr. Jack Slome, BDS, of The Accolade Dental Centre in Toronto. At-home kits cost approximately $399, while in-office procedures cost approximately $499. If you choose to have whitening performed in-office, Dr. Slome recommends a procedure every three to six months. "But it depends on how your teeth are discoloured and what you eat, " he says. "The more yellow they are, the more likely they 'll whiten. Yellow teeth are easier to whiten than grey teeth just because of the way the whitening agent works. "

STRAIGHTENING UP

Those with crooked teeth who don 't want adolescent-esque metal braces can secretly straighten their smile with Invisalign. The virtually invisible plastic aligner trays go over your teeth and gradually shift your teeth into place. There are no metal brackets or tighteners and you simply pop in a new aligner every two weeks until your treatment is complete. Veneers are an option for broken or jagged teeth. At Slome 's office, patients can have their veneers designed and milled right on the spot, thanks to the new Cerec Technology. You 'll need to stick around the dental office for at least a few hours, depending on how many veneers you 're getting, but you 'll walk out with the desired result rather than a mould. These veneers cost approximately $1,500 to $2,500 per tooth.

GUMS AWAY

People with gummy smiles also have several smile-altering options. "Sometimes with gummy smiles, the gums need to be reshaped, " says Dr. Slome. "We can reshape gums in two ways — via laser or surgery. " Slome says reshaping the gums via laser is a less invasive option; in fact, it doesn 't even require a stitch afterward. Surgery is more invasive as it involves cutting the gums back and even removing some bone if needed. Surgery is also more expensive (it can cost up to $2,000) , while laser costs about $600 to $800. For an even less invasive option, Dr. Weiss suggests Botox to reduce the appearance of gummy smiles. The Botox goes under the lip by the nose, which inhibits the lip 's movement. Although people can still smile, the smile just won 't move up as high, thus covering the gums. The procedure takes just 15 minutes, lasts four to nine months and costs approximately $100.

SNAP ON SMILE

Snap-On Smile is a non-invasive, temporary option to correct crooked teeth. The high-tech dental resin simply snaps on top of your real teeth. You can wear this while you eat or sleep and it can last up to two years, depending on how frequently you wear it. The product comes with a cleaning kit, complete with cleaning crystals and instructions on how to properly care for your Snap-On Smile. However Dr. Weiss advises you clean it twice a day if you 're wearing it all day and eating with it on. There are no side-effects related to the product, but it 's important to remember to brush and floss your real teeth while wearing your Snap-On Smile to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Attaining this perfect smile will cost between $1,500 and $2,500. "I do a lot of cosmetic full mouth reconstructions, and this helps people get used to their changing smile, while saving up the money for veneers, " says Weiss. "It 's one of the things meant to help people — to give them a chance to feel better about themselves. So, why not? "