One of our most noticeable features is our smile, and how we feel about our smile can have a direct impact on our wellbeing. "There's no reason people should have to put up with smiles they're unhappy with," says Dr. Robert Bradley of First Choice Dental. "If they don't like the shape, alignment, angulation or color of their teeth, or the look of their existing fillings, today we can make corrections conservatively and at reasonable cost."
If your teeth are rotated, overlapping, crooked, darkened, yellowed or chipped— whatever the issue, there's a procedure for it. Advances in technology allow today's dentists to create natural-looking smiles, and if it's been a while since you examined your options, now is the perfect time.
"The porcelain materials, bonding systems and aesthetics of today's veneers are as good as they've ever been," says Bradley, noting that traditional crowns could show dark lines at the gum line but today's crowns and veneers appear nearly seamless. "I don't know if people know how easy they are, how nice we can make them look."
While whitening, repairing or straightening teeth receive a lot of attention, surgery on the gums can be an equally dramatic fix. As people age the gum line actually recedes, producing teeth that seem asymmetrical and a smile that appears "gummier"—a look typically associated with older faces. Surgery to repair or reshape the gums, known as Gingivoplasty, is a common procedure to address these issues.
"When people look at smiles, they look for symmetry and they look at how the lengths and width of teeth match each other," says Dr. Scott Kirkpatrick of Door Creek Dental. "Your eye knows something's not right but you may not pick up exactly what it is. Repositioning gum tissue before the teeth are restored yields a great cosmetic result, and a dramatically younger appearance."
Kirkpatrick also cautions against overly aggressive brushing, a common phenomenon that leads to premature aging via gum recession along the front and canine teeth. He says patients in their forties typically start to see this wear.
Anderson & Shapiro Eye Care Center is known for its top-notch medical care, from state-of-the-art bladeless LASIK surgery to groundbreaking implantable collamer lenses for near-sightedness and premium intraocular lenses to correct the need for bifocals and reading glasses. Anderson & Shapiro were the first in the Madison area to offer LASIK, and have performed over 30,000 refractive eye procedures, including on VIPs like their own family members. For nearly any age and any profession, Anderson & Shapiro offers an appropriate elective procedure to address your vision needs.
There's just one catch.
"Once patients are seeing better, it's very common for them now to notice the fine wrinkles and other imperfections they may have," says Dr. Nicole Anderson Weiss. "That's why we have our full spectrum of services."
Those services include Botox injections, dermal fillers, Latisse for eyelash growthand the very popular Blephoraplasty—surgical procedures to remove excess skin from the upper eyelids.
"Leave your eyes to us," says Dr. Michael Shapiro, "both for seeing better and looking better."
At Parfitt Facial Cosmetic Surgery Center, the face is the sole focus. Dr. Richard Parfitt specializes in the head, neck and face exclusively, providing face lifts, rhinoplasty, eyelid rejuvenation, Botox and fillers, and utilizing Elastic Reality computer imaging to more effectively give patients a visual of each potential procedure. This helps Parfitt preserve the unique look of each of his patients—something he is widely recognized for, and of particular importance when maintaining ethnic character. In other words, you'll still look like you after surgery.
"Imaging reassures patients the decision they're making is a good one," says Parfitt. "When it's done right, people can't tell you've had work. They know you look better, but they assume it's something more common like weight loss, new hair or new makeup."
So just how common is plastic surgery in the Madison area? According to Parfitt, his schedule is as full as it can possibly be.
"Without a doubt," says Parfitt, "any adult over the age of forty with a yearly income of over $40,000 has run across somebody in their social circles during the past month who's had some elective cosmetic surgery."
Dr. Kevin Robertson also focuses solely on the face, providing surgical services such as browlifts, eyelid blepharoplasty, facelifts, chin and cheek augmentations, facial reconstruction and more, and nonsurgical services like Botox, fillers, peels, vascular lesions and hair reduction. With Robertson Plastic Surgery and RENEW Skin Health and Laser Center, Robertson harnessed his prior experience as a University Hospital surgeon to create top-level medical care in a small, private, boutique-like setting. What patients notice first, he says, is the unusual amount of time he spends with them.
"I sit down for maybe an hour with every procedure, every consult, and talk about surgical and non-surgical options across the board," says Robertson. "When patients leave here they're really well educated and have a really solid base to make their own decision."
Through RENEW, Robertson's patients have in-house access to a group of skincare experts as well, and in the rare event that extra medical attention is required—as every procedure has its risks—they feel secure knowing they're in the hands of a surgeon.
"We have a full palette of ways to meet people's needs," says Robertson.
A large number of elective and cosmetic procedures exist thanks to our friend the sun and its often unfriendly effects.
"About half of what we consider our aging changes are really sun-related damage," says oculoplastic and facial surgeon Dr. John Rose of Dean Clinic's Aesthetic Surgery Center in Middleton. "We use the term photoaging because it really is half natural aging and half sun."
When it comes to freckling and pigmented splotching specifically, Rose says chemical peels are the mainstay solution, though they involve a bit of downtime—seven to ten days. Intense Pulse Light therapy (IPL) is far less invasive and requires little to no downtime, but may not be as effective in the longterm.
In terms of skin elasticity, Rose says the use of radiofrequency energy has been a significant advancement. The Ellman Surgitron heats the skin and tighten the collagen beneath, without damaging surface skin as peels do. There's little downtime, it's pain free and it's especially effective for tightening lower eyelids.
It's just as summer is winding down that we really start to notice the effects of sun damage and aging, according to Kim Schuchardt of Lasting Skin Solutions. Maybe you suddenly notice brown spots your face, or perhaps you were the one in the photos from the holiday barbecue stretching your neck to eliminate "turkey waddle." From freckles and age spots to spider veins, rough skin or fine wrinkles, the sun will eventually work its unfortunate magic.
"The right non-surgical procedure for you depends on your skin's elasticity, the amount of sun damage, the thickness of your skin and your inherited bone structure," says Schuchardt.
For sun damage such as pigmentation, vascularity or winkles, Schuchardt says laser treatments are very effective. It may be as simple as reducing pores with superficial laser peel or reversing pigmentation with IPL. Deeper wrinkles may need laser resurfacing.
As for that neck waddle, augmenting the jaw bone with soft tissue fillers can extend the jaw line and chin, thereby lifting the neck without surgery.
This practice of using fillers to create a lift (as opposed to cut and pull) is at the core of non-surgical procedures today, including many performed by Anne Hill of Radiance Skin Therapy and Laser Center.
"A lot of my clients who come in say they feel like their face is falling," says Hill. "The upper face loses bone and tissue volume as we age, particularly in the cheek area."
Hill performs what she refers to as Cheek Augmentations, in which injectable dermal filler is used to create cheekbones, thereby lifting the lower part of the face, especially those ‘marionette' lines that run between the outer edges of our noses down to the corners of our mouths. Hill says there is relatively little pain and almost no down time.
"In all the years now that I've been doing this, I've never seen something that can make such a change for somebody," says Hill. "It can make them feel so much better just by putting some volume in the upper part of the face and cheekbone."
Whether surgical or non-surgical, extensive or minimal, the Madison area is clearly brimming with cosmetic and elective procedure options, and technology will continue to advance. What will not change is the need to ascertain what's right for you and you only, and the best experts will help you do just that.
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