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Smile Savers

Forget the “it” handbag and the bling; there’s no better accessory for your look than a bright, beautiful smile. Check out some new developments and tips to improve yours


Beautiful white teeth and a brilliant smile are as much a part of good grooming as make-up and hair. And thanks to developments in dentistry and dental products, you don’t need to be born with a perfect set of pearly whites to make your smile one of your best assets.

Our July/August 2012 issues featured Top Dentists in Fairfield County which reveal many new products and procedures that offer help.

For example, Philips, which makes a variety of professional and at-home dental hygiene and cosmetic systems, such as the ubiquitous Sonicare automatic toothbrush, offers a high-speed whitening system called Zoom. For patients who want immediate results, a single session in the dentist chair promises a discernibly brighter smile with just a one-hour treatment.

For adults and children who need some straightening, alternatives to the traditional metal braces exist that are less invasive and more aesthetically comfortable for many patients. A system called Invisalign accomplishes straightening by a custom made series of aligners that do the work of metal braces without the familiar metal smile that has prevented people from seeking treatment. 

“For the right case,” says Dr. Gerald Cohen, a Greenwich dentist with a broad range of treatments for improving smiles, “this system can be incredibly effective. Depending on the degree of straightening needed, treatments can last from a few months to two years, using as few as 6 or as many as 48 different aligners. 

“Of course, for cases that are better treated with traditional orthodontics, we refer patients out to these specialists,” says Cohen.

For both of these systems, check out the links below, and contact your own dentist for more information. Cohen also talked about some new developments in dental restoration materials.

“One of the most interesting new materials is a glass ceramic called e.max, which has exceptional beauty and strength. It can be used for crowns and veneers, allows for exact color matching, and also makes it possible for dentists to not use any metal for these restorations. As the materials get better, and this one is definitely an advance, we can help our patients achieve the brighter smiles they’re looking for.”

As far as do-it-yourself products and techniques, the first rule, emphasized by all dental professionals, is twice-daily (or more) brushing and flossing.

“An electric toothbrush, with a built-in timer, will encourage good hygiene practice,” says Cohen, noting that the timer makes it easy to brush for the recommended two minutes at every brushing.

For flossing, Philips has recently come out with a new automated product, called the Air Floss, which replaces the old standby waxed string with a hand-held device that shoots microbursts of water between teeth.  However, those with a tightly spaced set of choppers will insist that there’s nothing like an old-fashioned, twice-daily flossing for good dental health.

Don’t forget breath. Says Cohen, “Brush your tongue. It’s just a few more seconds in your routine, but definitely adds to a sweet smile. Your tongue, if you’ll excuse the analogy, is like a shag carpet, and you need to keep it clean.”And, to add one more tip from the make-up counter: consider your lipstick color.

Dark reds and shades with a bit of blue in them will make teeth look whiter; avoid lipstick shades in the orange family, as they will underscore any yellow tones in your teeth.

Feeling inspired to brighten your smile? Visit our complete list of Fairfield County's Top Dentistis »

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