A Minute With: Dr. Laurence Rifkin

Counting some of the most famous faces in the world as his clientele, Beverly Hills, CA, cosmetic dentist, Laurence Rifkin, DDS, is known for his ability to apply his artistic skill as a sculptor to his work creating beautiful smiles. Whether he’s helping a client achieve a red carpet–ready smile, serving as the go-to dentist for the cast of Vanderpump Rules or utilizing the most cutting-edge technology in dentistry, Dr. Rifkin is a true architect of the smile in every sense. Here, he takes a minute to talk with us about what it takes to get a sparkling Hollywood smile.

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NewBeauty: Which celebrities do you think have the most enviable smile?
Dr. Rifkin: I think Chrissy Teigen, Julia Roberts, Christie Brinkley and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have some of the most beautiful smiles out there. They each have a full, broad and bright smile that brings balance and proportion to their face. Halle Berry is another one that comes to mind; it’s all about having a natural, proportionate look that complements your lips and face.

NB: What are the latest treatments or procedures that your celebrity clients are requesting the most?
Dr. Rifkin: My celebrity and non-celebrity patients are requesting teeth whitening, veneers and ceramic inlays to replace metallic fillings of amalgam or gold. They prefer to have less-invasive procedures performed using a microscope for precision and minimal tooth preparation. 

NB: What are some of the things that happen to your smile as you age?
Dr. Rifkin: As we age, our teeth lose enamel. The enamel is worn away due to acid from bacteria, eating, and even by brushing. This thinner enamel is less smooth and shows more of the yellowy dentin beneath, so it’s not as bright as a youthful smile. The gum tissue begins to show signs of recession and spaces develop between one’s teeth.

NB: What are the attributes of a youthful smile?
Dr. Rifkin: Teeth should be unworn in the length, gum tissue should be pink and healthy and without signs of recession, and the lips should appear fuller and not thinned out. Porcelain veneers can help give your smile the smooth, lustrous surface your natural teeth may no longer have and can also be used to reshape them to restore their youthful height. People tend to smile more broadly when they’re proud of their smile, revealing more teeth and a more youthful look.

NB: What is the biggest mistake you see people making with their teeth?
Dr. Rifkin: From an aesthetic standpoint, teeth that look artificially too large, too thick or too opaque white is an aesthetic mistake. Many patients can benefit from whiter, larger and a wider arch of teeth, but the dentist and laboratory technician must work with the patient to achieve the patient’s goals and perceptions to create a beautiful but believable smile that can still be fuller and whiter.

NB: What are some ways to easily and quickly get a brighter smile?
Dr. Rifkin: Patients can instantly get a brighter smile by having their teeth professionally cleaned and receiving an in-office teeth-whitening treatment.

NB: What at-home dental tools or devices are must-haves that everyone should own?
Dr. Rifkin: A toothbrush and dental floss of course, but if you want to keep your teeth as clean as possible, a narrow-head electronic toothbrush to easily access hard-to-reach areas and a water flosser to remove additional plaque and debris from between the teeth.

NB: What is your best piece of advice for someone who is on the fence about going to see a cosmetic dentist?
Dr. Rifkin: Never be afraid to obtain one or more opinions as to what might make an improvement in one’s smile. A cosmetic dentist with integrity will not attempt to push or sell treatment to you. Knowledge is power; ask to see before-and-after photos of patients who have received treatment, and if possible, speak with patients who have had cosmetic procedures. Their personal experiences may answer most of your questions. Remember, cosmetic dentistry is an option, but an option that can be a life changer.