In Mexico, bad teeth are known as "dentes ingles", reflecting just how global our reputation for bad teeth really is.
Cosmetic dentist specialists believe that everyone has the right to a Hollywood smile. And why not? After all, who wants to play for the yellow team?
Cigarettes, red wine and coffee can play havoc on your teeth, and that's where cosmetic dentists step in. We Brits spend more money in the cosmetic industry than the nations much loved teabags, with research from the British Dental Health Foundation showing almost one in two people would now consider having treatment purely for cosmetic reasons; even the PM is sporting a new smile.
In the past a tube of stripy toothpaste and the odd trip to the dentist was enough, but the days when we relied upon the NHS to care for our teeth were washed down the plughole long ago. Today popular treatments offered by a cosmetic dentist generally include "tooth bleaching", or simple teeth whitening, enamel shaping, bonding and tooth veneers.
The boom in cosmetic dentistry is part of a general general acceptance of plastic surgery on this side of the Atlantic with a market increase of 50% in 2004 alone. And with today's junk food addicts showing no sign of cutting down on haribo it looks like the cosmetic dentist is to become a fixture of the future. A pricey one at that. Tooth whitening can cost between 300 and 1300 pounds! But you get what you pay for.
Going to the dentist for many is a test of nerves. You expect clinical rooms and eerie silence combined with an old dentist with bad breath despite his love of all things fluoride. At a modern cosmetic dentist clinic however, clients are treated to relaxed contemporary environments more familiar with up market hair salons than the traditional dentist practice.
A new smile is like a new handbag these days and you can even pop out and get one in your lunch-break. A cosmetic dentist can fill gaps, fix protruding, chipped, worn teeth, zap yellow and see no more of that gummy smile.