Have you ever wondered how celebrities get their gorgeous, camera-ready smiles? Cosmetic dentists to the stars weigh in on what makes these sexy celebrity smiles stand out. Hollywood stars have long been our fashion muses, but we no longer look to them only for the latest clothing trends — we size up their million-dollar smiles too. As more celebrities seek the help of cosmetic dentists to perfect their gorgeous smiles, such treatments as teeth whitening, Invisalign invisible braces, and porcelain veneers are gaining popularity among the rest of us too. These days anyone with $20 can transform dull, coffee-stained teeth into bleached pearly whites with over-the-counter products. And if you’re willing to make a more significant investment (some of these pricey treatments can set you back thousands of dollars), you too can have a Hollywood-worthy smile that gleams like Hilary Swank’s or Hugh Jackman’s. But as Marc Lowenberg, DDS, of Lowenberg & Lituchy in New York City, points out: “There is no such thing as one perfect smile.” Great smiles are admired for an array of different characteristics. Find out what makes these celebs’ smiles so sexy — either naturally or with a bit of dental enhancement.
Photography: Instagram | Author: Jen Laskey | Medically Review: Nicole Holland, DDS, MS
When a cosmetic dentist is tasked with overhauling a person’s smile, there are many important elements to evaluate. “You have to design a smile that is perfect for the individual. You must consider the shape of the person’s face — the complexion, hair and eye color, and even the personality,” says Lowenberg. Connelly adds that if you don’t take every aspect of a person — including her personality — into account, you can end up with the wrong look.
Hilary Duff learned that lesson after she chipped her tooth on a microphone and got her first set of veneers in 2005, says Connelly. The early veneers were simply too big for the size and shape of her head, and she took some heat in the tabloids because of it. “But she got a second set of veneers [in 2008] that corrected the problem,” says Connelly. Both the length of her incisors and her smile width were significantly reduced to create to a more natural shape and size for Duff’s smile and face. “And her smile is great now,” says Connelly.
Teeth whitening has become a major cultural obsession, but one of the concerns that people often have about bleaching their teeth is overdoing the whiteness and creating a garish, megawatt smile. For example, Golub-Evans says that patient Hugh Jackman expressed his concern that whitening his teeth might detract from the rugged look he’s known for. With a professional treatment, the level of whiteness is something that can be controlled by a skilled dentist.
“For Jackman, we monitored the process carefully with lower dosages to ensure that his natural teeth were light but still looked real,” says Golub-Evans. People who are bleaching their teeth with over-the-counter whitening products can gradually monitor their own levels of whiteness, since these products have a lower concentration of whitening ingredients than dental office products. The OTC products do work; they just take longer to achieve the same intensity of whiteness as professional products.
Lowenberg says that Klum’s super white smile, square-shaped teeth, and the step between her two front teeth and her next teeth give “a certain kind of sex appeal” to her gorgeous smile — no doubt helping the supermodel, actress, and television show host grace the covers of Sports Illustrated and top fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and Marie Claire.
Jeff Golub-Evans, DDS, of the New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry and one of the premier smile design artists in the country, designed Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi's smile almost 20 years ago. Dr. Golub-Evans says that most celebrities desire smiles that echo their celebrity “character.” Some may be looking to perpetuate a sexy, athletic, romantic or sophisticated image. Lakshmi accomplished this by having Golub-Evans manipulate the shape and position of her teeth.
“I originally used small increments of bonding material to create a big, bold, white supermodel smile that accentuated Lakshmi’s high cheekbones and the oval shape of her face,” says Golub-Evans. He adds that while the materials have changed over the years and Lakshmi’s smile has been upgraded to reflect those changes, it’s always in keeping with the same, original smile that makes her beautiful.
Many people set off for the cosmetic dentist’s office in pursuit of perfect teeth, but as the professionals will point out, perfectly symmetric teeth don’t work on everybody, especially if the facial features that counterbalance the smile are not perfectly even to begin with. Lowenberg indicates that another patient, Matthew McConaughey, is a good example of this.
“McConaughey has perfectly imperfect teeth with a broad smile that exhibits irregularities in tooth position and size, but somehow, all together, it works on his face.” He has a very strong, masculine smile that Lowenberg says can be attributed to the proportion of each individual tooth as well as the overall prominence of his teeth.
This Pretty Woman was born with a beautiful smile that has helped make her famous, but she also improved her trademark toothy grin with veneers, according to Thomas Connelly, DDS, New York City-based cosmetic dentist and weekly contributor to the Huffington Post. After she made it big, Roberts enhanced her already-beautiful grin with veneers that have straightened, elongated, and evened out her teeth. “The veneers took a great smile and made it flawless,” says Connelly.
Veneers are among the most expensive cosmetic dental procedures (prices vary, but they can easily set you back $1,000 to $2,500 per tooth), but if your dentist has determined that you are a candidate and you can afford to invest in your smile, these thin porcelain shells are a strategic choice, since they can correct many imperfections and so closely mimic natural teeth.
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank sometimes gets a bad rap for having oversized teeth that look like pieces of Chiclets gum. “Yes, they are big,” says Connelly. “But I think they look great.” Connelly adds that Swank is lucky to have a set of teeth that are naturally just about perfect in shape.
He attributes Swank’s stunning smile to genetics — and a little whitening. “I can’t think of a Hollywood starlet that doesn’t get her teeth at least whitened,” says Connelly. While Swank probably sprung for professional bleaching, there are many over-the-counter products that can also do the trick. “I typically recommend a more professional product like the GO SMiLE brand of toothpastes and whiteners,” says Connelly. “But going to the local drugstore and buying ‘whatever’ whitening strips is better than nothing.” Dr. Lituchy recommends Crest Whitestrips for those looking for a reliable drugstore option.
The scorned-wife-turned-lawyer character Julianna Margulies plays on The Good Wife doesn’t always have a lot to smile about, but that doesn’t keep Margulies off the top celebrity smiles lists. “She was born with the all-American smile,” says Dr. Lowenberg, who along with his dental practice partner Gregg Lituchy, DDS, has been transforming celebrity smiles, including Margulies’, since the cosmetic dentistry revolution took off in the 1980s.
Lowenberg and Lituchy, along with their associate Brian Kantor, DDS, have helped design the smiles of stars like Amanda Peet, Chris Rock, and many others. “Margulies’ smile is not only sexy and healthy-looking, but also very engaging,” says Lowenberg. “She has a wide arch and all of her upper teeth are perfectly and naturally aligned. Additionally, the shape of each tooth is rounded, as opposed to being squared off, which gives a softer, more youthful look.”
Golub-Evans regards model, actress, and Tom Brady baby mama Moynahan as a “natural beauty” and says that she could never be convinced in their consultations to do anything as invasive to her smile as replacing her natural teeth with porcelain veneers. Golub-Evans says that by “moving her own natural teeth [with orthodontic work] — followed by selective reshaping of a few,” Moynahan achieved one of the top celebrity smiles.