From celebrities to people getting ready for mere family photos, most people decide they have an urgent need to brighten their teeth at some point in their life. Despite dentists’ best efforts in advertising, it would seem celebrities have cornered the market in boosting whitening appeal.
Before the Grin
Don’t be fooled into thinking celebrity beauty comes naturally — many celebrities have had extensive work done on their teeth and the original teeth were quite horrid. Here are a few examples and some information you might not know about.
In his teen years, Tom battled what many youths have to deal with even today: a set of uneven, downright ugly teeth. After extensive remodeling and cosmetic adjustments, Cruise has a grin that sets the ladies swooning. According to rumor, Cruise might possibly have a birth defect of the brain called holoprosencephaly, which affects the facial features and is hereditary. Let’s hope Cruise doesn’t pass his pre-beauty looks on to his children someday.
Growing up, Zac Efron was the normal, cute teenager with one exception: a huge gap in his front teeth. He was allegedly teased for this gap so it’s no surprise he invested a fortune in dental work. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Zac relates a story of sibling roughhousing that ended with his brother’s boot in Zac’s face and the resulting loss of two front teeth. Surprisingly, despite the roundhouse kick, he is still on good terms with his brother.
Prior to her dental cosmetology miracle, Celine Dion had quite a reputable pair of vampiric fangs. In fact, a Quebec humor magazine reportedly nicknamed her “Canine Dion.” At the age of 18, Celine watched Michael Jackson perform on TV and informed her manager Angélil that she wanted to be that famous. His response was for her to take about 18 months off to repair her image. Celine did just that and now her sparkling smile is nearly as famous as her voice.
Top 10 Smiles
Despite extensive work on Celine’s teeth, she missed the top 10 smiles list for 2008. Teeth Whitening Reviews recently examined the smiles of 5,000 celebrities and voted on the top 10. Listed in order of highest to lowest:
- Jessica Alba
- Bridget Moynahan
- Gisele Bundchen
- Scarlett Johansson
- Rebekah Gayheart
- Kate Beckinsale
- Katherine Heigl
- Jennifer Garner
- Julia Roberts
- Megan Fox
Factors used to determine the rating included lips, cheekbones, symmetry, wear and tear, shape of the teeth, incisors, and gum line.
White Like a Celebrity
We all know teeth whitening can be expensive, but what exactly does it cost to get those pearly whites?
There are four common methods for teeth whitening: store-bought strips, in-home tray kits, dental bleaching, and laser whitening.
- Store-bought strips are by far the cheapest option, but not surprisingly, they are also least effective. Often touted as sloppy and hard to keep in place, the strips are general acclaimed as a waste of money. Nonetheless, for about $15 to $20, you can achieve a slightly whiter look.
- In-home tray kits are decently effective and still relatively low-cost. One brand in particular, Plus White 5 Minute Bleach Whitening gel, gives you several shades of improvement for less than $10. The gel can be purchased with or without the trays included. Name brand kits can run as many as $30 to $50 with similar results. Caution is advised for people who are overly enthusiastic about gels; too much exposure can cause sensitivity.
- Dental bleaching costs close to what it is actually worth, especially considering the fact that some companies offer coverage of whitening in the dental plan for their employees (review your benefits package to ensure coverage). The typical dental bleaching procedure costs about $500 but can be as many as several hundred more. The most permanent and effective means of achieving the celebrity smile is laser whitening. Although the level of whitening is greater than anything over the counter, it comes at a high price. One quote put the cost of laser whitening at $500 to $1,000 depending on the severity of your discoloration and what products are used during the procedure.
- Clip-on solution: Marc Liechtung, a dentist at Manhattan Dental Arts, invented a solution to attaining teeth that exactly replicates specific celebrity looks. For a mere $1,200 to $1,600, you can have a mold cast of your teeth on Monday and your clip-on ready by Friday. Liechtung claims that this invention was not for the purpose of copying celeb looks, rather to offer those with low financial means a way to replace their smiles. People who have lost all their teeth but can’t afford $20,000 of reconstructive work now have a clip-on solution. However, for the die-hard Angelina Jolie or Jessica Simpson fans, an exact match set of teeth is now available at a relatively affordable price.
Reminders and Myths
Before you invest money in teeth whitening only to be disappointed with the results, consider the following tips:
- Not all teeth whiten the same. Depending on what each person eats or drinks, their age, and their teeth type in general, the whitening results will differ.
- Teeth whitening procedures do not have permanent results, most require daily or weekly maintenance.
- Results are not instant. Some gels or white strips don’t offer noticeable results until weeks later. Be patient with products that don’t list “instant results.”
- Most “whitening” toothpastes do NOT whiten teeth. Beyond removing surface level stains over time, toothpastes that advertise whitening have little or no visible effect.
- Sensitivity means the gel is working. If you are experiencing sensitivity with the use of whitening gels, stop using them immediately until the pain has subsided. Consult your dentist if the problem persists.
- Whether you want to have a smile that closely resembles your favorite celebrity or you just want your embarrassing stains to disappear, there are many options available for effective teeth whitening.