With all the recent advancements in cosmetic dentistry, some adults are seeking out the once-dreaded dentist’s chair to get their teeth whitened, straightened and brightened.
For the most part, there’s no tooth fairy to pick up the bill. Yet, some whose parents couldn’t afford braces when they were younger are spending the money and taking the trouble to wear them. They even have the option of wearing newer white braces that aren’t as noticeable as the traditional metal wires.
All in all, improving your smile has become less painful and time-consuming. Just ask Dr. Ed Philips, whose office credo is: "Will that be fluoride or a Cappuccino?"
Philips, a dental surgeon in Toronto for 20 years, has just opened an ultra-modern "studio for aesthetic dentistry" near the Ontario legislature, complete with a cappuccino maker, stereo and VCR.
Instead of dealing with fillings and cleanings, his new practice is limited strictly to the business of smiles.
Like every dentist, Philips sees his share of patients who for years have covered their mouths when they laugh or smile because of teeth that are horribly crooked, misshapen or stained.
In fact, problem teeth have held some of his patients back from going for a promotion, public speaking or just meeting new people because of the fear of rejection or ridicule.
"One CEO came in to get some work done because whenever he smiled he looked mean and nasty and it was really affecting his image at work, but he was actually the nicest man," said Philips, whose clients are mostly professionals and people in the entertainment industry.
The CEO acquired a softer smile after a few visits to Philips’s office, where his sharp teeth were filed down and covered with a natural-looking white porcelain veneer, fused on to teeth to improve both color and shape.
Mark Breslin, founder of the Yuk Thk’s comedy chain, used to smile with his mouth closed because of teeth he described as chipped, thin, uneven and badly discolored.
"Of all people, I should be able to smile," he said.
He found a lot has changed since he was a kid enduring "pure torture" while getting fillings at his family dentist.
"I’m very, very happy I got it done," he said after five long dental sessions. He paid $10,000 to cover his upper teeth with porcelain veneer and to get laser whitening for the bottom.
The price range for smile improvement runs between $200 and $5,000.