Few of us would dispute that most people would prefer to look a little younger. Teeth that are discolored; and worn, misshapen or chipped teeth reveal the effects of time. Facial features, like wrinkles, unsightly lines, sagging skin, discolorations and other imperfections also show us that Mother Nature might be a little more honest than we would all like. Fortunately, modern dentistry and plastic and oral surgery can literally reverse these telltale signs of facial aging with a surprising variety of treatment options. There are minor and more advanced procedures tailored to fit both expectations and most budgets. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that there is plenty of appearance enhancing options available for less than $500.
The most common cosmetic dental procedures are also the least expensive. Tooth whitening and tooth shaping can create excellent results quickly, painlessly and inexpensively. Tooth whitening systems use 10 to 15 percent carbamine peroxide gels to oxidize stains. The patient is fitted with soft trays, and then is instructed to place a thin ribbon of the gel into the tray and wear while sleeping. Most whitening occurs in one or two weeks. Tooth shaping involves removing a small amount--generally one or two millimeters of enamel--and can shorten long teeth, round off pointed teeth and help create a pleasing smile that gently follows the contour of the lower lip.
Minor plastic surgical procedures have the advantage of creating significant improvement with little or no down time. These procedures include facial peels, microdermabrasion, and Botox®, collagen or fat injections, according to Dr. Scott Chapin, a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Microdermabrasion is helpful for treating fine facial wrinkles, superficial age spots, sun-damaged skin and clogged pores. This non-surgical procedure involves using a stream of crystals directed towards the skin, resurfacing the superficial layers. Chemical peels can be just as effective for removing the outer layer of skin, reducing fine lines and improving sun-damaged areas. Dr. Chapin suggests that these procedures be repeated every few months for optimal results.
Botox injections can be given to erase deep facial lines caused by underlying facial muscles. For example, "crow's feet" wrinkles, as well as deep forehead lines, can be removed or softened with this procedure that takes only about 15 minutes. Botox injections will yield effective results that last between four and six months. Dr. Chapin also recommends collagen or fat injections to remove deep lines of the face, or around the lips, eyes and cheek creases. When injected beneath the skin, these fillers plump up wrinkled and sunken areas of the face.