The Winning Pageant Smile

How to get a pageant smile

A beautiful pageant smile is the one feature all titleholders have in common! Indeed, if you survey major pageant winners over the decades, whether the titleholder is a Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Universe or Miss World, it is obvious that titleholders almost always possessed the so-called pageant smile. In fact, other than great pageant hair, a beautiful smile is easily the one feature most closely associated with pageant winners.

But just how important is the so-called pageant smile for winning the crown? A beautiful smile is an extremely important quality in creating a winning pageant image.

“I think a smile is absolutely one of the strongest statements a contestant makes,” says Dr. Jeffrey Garner, an expert in pageant cosmetic dentistry with extensive experience working with contestants. He cites a Psychology Today survey that found that the feature people most wanted to improve was their smile.

Will a bad smile harm a contestant’s chances? “Absolutely,” he says. “I know it’s a good way to kill your chances of winning pageants. Their smile needs to be the best it can be, especially with close-up head shots, one-on-one interview situations, or if they make it to national pageants where cameras are right up on their face.”

But how do you create a winning pageant smile?

“I think a smile is absolutely one of the strongest statements a contestant makes,” — Dr. Jeffrey Garner, expert in creating pageant smiles

Dental Whitening | Tooth Bleaching

Often, yellowed or stained teeth detract from a perfect pageant smile. Thankfully, yellowed teeth can easily be whitened with dental bleaching techniques.

Beautiful pageant smile, Miss USA 2012

Miss USA 2012, Olivia Culpo, shows off a gorgeous pageant smile.

“Everyone wants a nice, white smile,” he says. “Basically there are two ways you can lighten teeth.” One bleaching process is done in-office during repeated visits. “It’s a good system to use if they need their teeth whitened very quickly.” Another tooth-whitening system can be used at home with a custom mouthpiece that holds a bleaching agent. “They put it in and wear it every night while they sleep for about two weeks. That works very well and is one of the simplest ways to get a dazzling white smile.”

Other contestants simply rely upon the whitening strips available in drug stores.

Correcting Yellow, Poorly Shaped, Crooked, Chipped, or Spaced Teeth

The most common dental problems that detract from desired winning pageant smile are yellowed, poorly shaped, crooked, chipped or spaced teeth. “The simplest procedure we do is contouring of their natural teeth,” explains Garner. “We can shape the enamel and contour the teeth so they have a nice, soft, feminine smile.”

“Most contestants who could benefit from orthodontics don’t have the time,” says Garner. “They can’t wait years. They have to have it done now.”

Crooked teeth and spaces can be diminished with cosmetic dental procedures. “Usually gaps are corrected with a bonding procedure or with porcelain laminate veneers. If you had a person with a tiny space between her teeth, if it could be sculpted easily, then bonding might be the choice.”

pageant smile, Miss Universe

Major titleholders almost always possess the famous pageant smile, show here by Oksana Fedorova, Miss Universe 2002.

A big plus, he says, is that “bonding can be done in one office visit.”

A contestant with more complicated dental problems requires a different treatment. “If you had a patient who had multiple spaces, crooked teeth, a protruding tooth, or multiple problems, then porcelain laminate veneers might be the best option. Porcelain veneers require a laboratory procedure so it is a two-visit procedure.”

Many technologies are available for correcting problem smiles. Although prices differ according to the area of the country, cosmetic dental procedures are a considerable investment, ranging from $400 to $1,800 to correct a single tooth.

A Great Smile is More Important Than Ever in Pageants

Since the late 1980s, when high-tech cosmetic dental procedures became widely available, an attractive smile has become increasingly important in competition. Although I know of half-a-dozen women who won national and world titles despite less-than-perfect teeth, it is becoming rare to see top contestants with flawed smiles in today’s competitions.

Make a pretty smile a priority.

Pageant Makeup


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