Photo: Alex Beauchesne
I can't tell you who she is, because it would embarrass her, but I can tell you that one morning not long ago, a colleague came to work with six stitches in her forehead and—way worse—a front tooth chipped nearly in half. She'd had one hell of a fall (and big, beautiful, straight, white teeth). Her long bangs would cover her forehead till it healed, but the tooth! She called a dentist, described her problem, and arranged to see her the next day. Forty-five minutes after she left for her appointment, she was back at the office. The dentist had applied a composite of glass-reinforced plastic to the broken tooth, sculpting it to match the tooth's original shape (in a process called composite bonding). Her smile was perfect. I mean symmetrically, blindingly perfect.

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, whitening is still the most requested cosmetic dental service (more on that later), but advances in dentistry have made all kinds of smile improvements possible. There are porcelain veneers that fit over the surface of the teeth, Invisalign braces that straighten with a clear plastic guard that snaps over the teeth, and dental implants that replace lost teeth with titanium posts that lock into the jawbone. If you're thinking your smile could use an upgrade, we have options for you.

Keep Reading: 7 ways to make over your smile


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