March 21, 2013 05:00 ET

Make the Most of Your Smile

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Mar 21, 2013) - (Family Features) A great smile is something a lot of people want. In fact, a recent survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) found that more people would pay to fix the quality of their teeth than pay for weight loss help.

"A nice healthy smile can be as simple as having your teeth professionally cleaned or whitened or achieved with cosmetic dentistry," said Dr. George Tysowsky who is the Vice President of Technology at Ivoclar Vivadent and Clinical Assistant Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine. "The nice thing about upgrading your smile is that it's totally scalable in cost and effect. A great way for patients to start the process is to have a consultation with their dentist."

If you're thinking about improving your smile, here's what you need to know about your options:

Teeth Whitening - When you get your teeth whitened at the dentist, a bleaching agent is applied to your teeth and, sometimes, a laser is used to enhance the whitening agent. You can do it yourself with at-home bleaching kits that use peroxide to whiten teeth. You may experience increased sensitivity or gum irritation. You can also use whitening toothpastes, which have mild abrasives to remove surface stains.

Professional Cleanings - Regular cleanings from your dental hygienist are an important part of good oral health care; and they will keep your smile bright and healthy. Cleanings can help prevent gum disease, which is one of the major causes of bone loss, if left untreated. When you have dental cleanings, you're also checked for signs of oral cancer.

Restorations - Some teeth need more than a simple cleaning or brightening. Dr. Tysowsky says that one of the products your dentist might recommend is IPS e.max. "This is a dental treatment that can help improve smiles anywhere from fixing discolored or stained teeth, to correcting crooked, chipped, or decayed teeth and much more." The IPS e.max system consists entirely of metal-free materials that closely resemble the appearance of natural teeth. "Because e.max all-ceramic crowns are created from a special material called lithium disilicate, your dentist has greater ability to match your original tooth's color, consistency and physical characteristics," said Dr. Tysowsky. "It is the leading all-ceramic restoration used today; a perfect replacement to the traditional metal-based structure utilized in the past." Learn more about it at

"I think the hardest part is admitting that you're not completely satisfied with your smile," said Dr. Tysowsky. "Your smile is your signature. It tells people that you are an outgoing, confident person worth getting to know. So I recommend taking the first step and setting up an appointment with your dentist."

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