When Alexandra Butsko became engaged in September, she called her parents, her friends — and her dentist.
She wanted to have the perfect smile for the pictures on her wedding day, but for that she needed braces. Since her teenage years, Butsko has felt hesitant to show her teeth.
“I never smiled,” said the 25-year-old hairdresser from Suffern, N.Y. When her fiancé proposed to her, “the first thing that came to mind was, ‘Omigod, how am I going to smile at my wedding?’ ”
She is determined to fix her overbite, crowding teeth and poor smile line before getting married next spring. She had metal braces applied to her lower teeth and ceramic braces placed on her upper front teeth.
Now she’s looking forward to warmly greeting guests and smiling freely in all her wedding day photos.
Before, “if someone took pictures — and I smiled — I’m like, ‘delete them!’ ” said Butsko, who admitted that cameras make her nervous.
Brides and grooms who feel insecure about their smiles no longer have to hide their excitement behind closed lips. Instead, they can choose from various treatments and products to get the smile they’ve always wanted, just in time for their big day.
Options to achieve brighter, straighter, more radiant smiles include braces, aligners, whitening applications, toothpastes and in-office appointments.
“You definitely want to start planning as soon as you get engaged,” said Dr. Victoria Veytsman, a cosmetic dentist with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, who notes that timetables vary depending on the objective. “I would give yourself as much leeway time as possible.”
Since 2016, Diamond Braces, an East Coast orthodontic provider, has serviced more than 1,200 brides and grooms, including Butsko.
While she opted for traditional braces, most engaged individuals opt for Invisalign, a series of clear, plastic removable aligners. Invisalign shifts teeth over time. First, a computer digitally scans a patient’s teeth to create three-dimensional models.
“Once we have that software model representation of what your teeth are going to look like, Invisalign creates a plastic tray for each step,” said Dr. David Galler, senior vice president of orthodontics at Aspen Dental Management, a dental practice with 750 locations nationwide. The guiding appliances are worn 22 hours each day and removed when eating and drinking.
Depending on the patient’s needs, aligners are substituted every one to two weeks.
Typically, in-office visits are scheduled monthly to monitor progress.
Most corrections, Galler said, are completed within five to seven months, but timelines vary, and therefore, patients with wedding-specific needs should allot seven to 10 months.
Whether going with Invisalign or traditional braces, most patients budget about $4,000 for the process. There are less expensive options.
The aligner therapy company SmileDirectClub, which estimates that 30,000 of its customers a year are future grooms and brides, has shops across the United States, including four in the Twin Cities area. It also sells impression kits online that are mailed to consumers and used at home. Dentists and orthodontists review the molds.
It takes six months, on average, to straighten teeth and costs $1,850. Upon treatment completion, retainer sets retail for $99.
A brighter smile
SmileDirectClub is also in the teeth-whitening business. Its foaming gel pens, containing enamel-safe whitening agents, are designed for use twice a day, five minutes at a time, after brushing. Four packs cost $29, eight packs $49.
Apa Beauty, founded by New York City dentist Dr. Michael Apa, offers a two-step at-home treatment known as the Apa White Duo, for $150. Purchased online, the kit includes one white pen and 10 white films, both containing carbamide peroxide. The 90-minute daily treatment shows results in five days, Apa said.
For avid after-meal and twice-daily brushers, Hello Activated Charcoal Epic Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste, which costs $5.99, is sold at Target, Walmart, CVS and Amazon. A lighter tooth shade can be obtained in two weeks, but desired results can vary depending on how dark the starting shade is, said Dr. Lawrence Fung, a cosmetic dentist and founder of Silicon Beach Dental in Los Angeles. He said pairing this regimen with professional in-office whitening can expedite desired outcomes.
In Jupiter, Fla., Dr. Bruce Lein, a doctor of dental surgery, uses Philips Zoom, a professional whitening treatment, at his practice. Lein, who treats about two dozen brides each year, suggested that appointments take place a month before the wedding and that patients avoid curry, Scotch, blueberries, bourbon and soda afterward. Zoom uses LED light and three bleach applications, one every 15 to 20 minutes. The price tag is $650, which includes trays for bleaching each night for one week and then four times a year following.
Brides and grooms often come in together for whitening treatments, but couples aren’t the only ones looking to enhance smiles before the wedding. Lein regularly treats parents of the soon-to-be-married couples, as well as their entire wedding parties. While Invisalign and whitening are prescribed most often, treatment requests vary per person.