Is it Time for a New You?
From "Did She?" to Dramatic, Options Abound
January, 2007 - Issue #27
It's the beginning of a new year and many of us will be taking a good, hard look at ourselves in the mirror and think... "Jeez, I need a makeover!"

Whether it's droopy eyelids or saggy breasts, one too many wrinkles or a dull, unattractive smile, there are plenty affordable options for those looking for a quick pick me up and a little self-confidence boost.

More than 10 million Americans opted for some type of cosmetic surgery last year. Lasers, microdermabrasion, Botox, veneers and implants are just some of the procedures that are now done safely without breaking the bank or requiring too much down time.

"Life happens," said Stacy Kepplinger, senior aesthetic consultant for Dr. David Raskin, a local dermatologist. "A person can do as much or as little as they want with cosmetic improvement and make some changes."

When it comes to making you look better and feeling more confident, sometimes the first stop can be your local dentist. If you think all they do is drill and fill cavities, welcome to the 21st century! Many dentists today are looking to give their patients that perfect smile and have expanded their practice to include Botox and dental implants.

"There are plenty AFFORDABLE OPTIONS for those looking for a quick pick me up and a little SELF-CONFIDENCE boost."
But, fear not, sometimes it can be as simple as a teeth whitening to give you the added self-confidence without taking a bite out of your bank account.

As we age, our teeth take a beating, but there are ways to make that first impression you give a dazzling one. "People now understand the importance of a smile," said Dr. Joel Miller. "A person's smile tells a lot about them."

Bleach whitening and porcelain veneers are the two most common procedures performed at Dr. Miller's office. While these procedures are considered cosmetic and not normally covered under most dental insurance plans, Miller said advancements in dental health makes these options affordable and quick.

"A clean, white smile makes people feel better and less self-conscience," Dr. Miller said. "Bleaching and veneers give you a fast and natural smile."

Veneers and porcelain fillings can run up to $1,000 a tooth and can last for years if properly cared for. Bleaching will cost a patient about $400 for the whole mouth.

For those who are loosing teeth due to age, gum disease, breakage and wear, many dentists are now recommending dental implants as an alternative to old-fashion dentures. Implants, once considered too costly and time consuming, is now the treatment of choice for many patients. With just one or two visits and a couple of months in between for healing, implant patients are sporting wide smiles and enjoying the ability to eat just about anything. The average costs for implants: $2,000 a tooth.

If it's just a little straightening, you can now have braces without looking like a junior high school student. Invisalign Braces are clear aligners that are custom-fitted to your mouth. The aligners gradually reposition your teeth and can be removed when you eat, brush and floss. Results are often achieved within six months to a year.

"It's a big buzz," said Dr. Dell Goodrick. "There are some limitations to Invisalign, but the success all hinges on patient compliance. Besides getting a prettier smile, straightening your teeth makes them simpler to clean and changes your profile."

Knowledge is power and Goodrick advises his patients to visit at least three orthodontists to make an informed decision on what treatment would be right for them.

"We actually had a patient come in from Maui who found us on the web and we did her smile," Goodrick said. "The best compliment my patients get is when someone notices a change but isn't quite sure what has been done."

Braces, whiteners and implants, sure, but why Botox and Restalyne in the dental office? "The first impression is with your smile," said Dr. Bobby Irani of Valencia Dental Arts. "What does your smile say about you?"

Dr. Irani uses both Botox and Restalyne in his practice. He sees patients' teeth as a picture and their lips as the frame. "Who knows better than a dentist as to what a smile should look like?" Irani asked. "Fuller lips enhance a smile."

Botox is also used on patients who grind teeth and suffer from TMD. "Botox relaxes those muscles and gets rid of headaches associated with TMD," Irani said.

Both procedures, Botox and Restalyne, can run from $350 to $450.

Still afraid of the dentist? There have been many advances in dentistry that will make these trips much easier. Ask your friends who they use or start calling around. The best thing anyone can do is visit the office and ask for a free consultation, said Dr. Mehran Ababassian.

"If SURGERY is not quite in the cards for you, there are many non-evasive, anti-aging ALTERNATIVES."
"Check out the office. Is it clean? Is the staff friendly? Are they willing to sit there with you and address all of your concerns?" Ababassian said. "If someone can do that, you will be able to make an informed decision. It's up to my office, my team, to impress the patient."

Dental work is very personal and Ababassian says the best dentist is one that is kind, compassionate and able to address each individual on their own level, whether a small child or an elderly patient. Better and longer-lasting local anesthetics and drugs will make a patient feel more comfortable during an entire procedure. "Any time a patient is completely relaxed, it's the most beneficial time for the doctor and the patient," Ababassian said.

Dr. Alex Denes of Smile Focus agrees that the patient's comfort should be paramount. "We understand some people tend to be anxious about dental treatment. By using our multimedia educational systems we eliminate the unexpected to reduce anxiety levels. We offer a variety of ways to relax, providing TV screens, relaxing music and internet access in our treatment rooms."

Once you've tackled your teeth, how about moving to other areas of the face? If surgery in not quite in the cards for you, there are many non-evasive, anti-aging products that can stimulate your skin and help get rid of fine lines.

A good facial is equivalent to a good cleaning, but how about taking a facial one step further? At Med Spa by Skin D in Valencia, you can get what is referred to as a "natural" face lift with a Cosmecanique "Facial Workout." This technique naturally and thoroughly stimulates the skin to lift and tone and can aid in the reduction of fine lines, puffiness and loose skin.

Some of the procedures at Med Spa by Skin D can be done on your lunch hour. Check out the IPL Treatment using Intense Pulsed Light treatments (approved by the FDA) to fix faces damaged by sun, age spots and broken capillaries.

Beyond Harmony Medspa's microdermabrasion is a "lunchtime" peel that exfoliates your skin, diminishes surface blemishes and corrects irregular pigmentation. This state-of-the-art skin rejuvenation procedure uses micro-crystal particles for deep physical exfoliation. Your skin is gently polished, removing dead skin cells, oils and build up.

If you're ready for some needle action, we've got the word... Botox is not poison!

Botox injections with fillers can get rid of deeper lines and wrinkles. "There are people who are in their 20s who are getting this done," said David Raskin. "Botox softens the smaller muscles that would form a wrinkle and it's an immediate result."

Anyone considering something a little stronger than facials should first take the time to get educated on the cosmetic procedures, said aesthetician Kepplinger. An expert will evaluate your condition and go over options.

A light chemical peel or microdermabrasion can cost upward to $100 a session. Correcting droopy eyelids will run up to $2,500.

"Cosmetic procedures don't have to be complicated," Kepplinger said. "It's really a preventative measure. You'd be surprised how many people are having these things done. You would never know if someone has had work done unless you've seen a bad one."

While there are those people who are genetically inclined to have great skin, others, Kepplinger said, are simply working on it. "You don't have to look done," she said.

When people talk about major improvements, they usually mean breast augmentation, liposuction or face lifts. Dr. Edward Pechter has been the face of plastic surgery in the Santa Clarita Valley for the past 25 years. Breast augmentation and breast lifts are still the number-one most requested procedure in his office, although tummy tucks come in a close second. "We have a lot of moms in the Santa Clarita Valley who would like to take care of [loose skin] after childbirth," Pechter said.

"The DEMAND FOR PLASTIC SURGERY has increased throughout the years as the baby boom generation ages and the procedures become more widely acceptable."
Dr. Pechter says he meets with all of his potential patients personally and gives out both the good and not-so-good information about the procedures they request. "Part of my evaluation is determining if [the patient] is physically able to handle surgery," he said.

While some people do have unrealistic expectations of what plastic surgery can do, the demand for plastic surgery has increased throughout the years as the baby boom generation ages and the procedures become more widely acceptable. Breast augmentation can cost approximately $5,000 with breast lifts running about the same price. Pechter said his patients are in safe hands and experience a huge increase in self-confidence.

"We don't do anything that's not safe," he said. "If you are considering getting cosmetic surgery, come in and talk."

Tired of shaving those legs? Maybe you've got a wayward hair here or there on your face. Well, it's time to throw away those old-fashion razors, tweezers and creams and go laser. At Beverly Hills Physicians in Valencia you can select from a number of treatments to safely remove hair on all types of skin (including tanned). The number of necessary treatments depends on hair color, skin type and the amount of hair to be removed, says Dr. Kevin Hayavi, medical director of Beverly Hills Physicians. Average cost to laser hair from both legs (including thighs), for example, will run about $200.

While were looking at the legs, how about taking a really good look at your feet? Seems there are a lot of us who have long second toes and believe it or not, there is a surgery that is often requested to shorten the toe, giving you a more even toe line. Beverly Hills Physicians can also clean up your calluses and help support the arches with an injection of collagen to give your feet, legs and back a nice pick me up.

Not only are we addicted to high heeled shoes, Southern California women love to have attractive feet in our sandal wearing months. This new, non-invasive procedure has been refined by Dr. Ali Sahrieh, chief of podiatric surgery at Beverly Hills Physicians, to give women options for consistent, pain-free and sleek feet. "Women already buy all sorts of silicone pads and cushions to put in the bottom of their shoes to give them relief. These things fail most of the time and are costly since they are made be disposed of and replaced. A benign procedure like collagen injections makes sense since we're giving the patient a relatively non-invasive, durable result," Dr. Sahrieh said.

Women can get small injections of DermaFillers in the office that are virtually painless to pad the ball of the foot. The procedure does not change the appearance of the foot but provides the patient with significant relief that can last up to a year.

In a safe, informed environment there is a new you right around the corner. Check out your options. Ask your friends. Maybe they have had a lift or tuck and you've been wondering. Many people will come right out and tell you.

And after all this information about knives and needles, it would be good for the soul to take a deep breath, contemplate what changes you might want to make and then sign up for a massage. Nothing like moving the skin and those blood cells around for a healthy, new you!

A little financial advice: When paying for these procedures, use your credit card. With all the points you can earn, that new you may be heading to Hawaii for the summer. Aloha!


For More Information

Click here to view our experts "before" and "after" photos

Drs. Alex and Claudia Denes and Dr. Nicolas Ravon of Smile Focus

Dr. Bobbi Irani of Valencia Dental Arts

Dr. Dell Goodrick of A Unique Dental Experience

Dr. Joel Miller of Miller Studio for Dental Artistry

Dr. Mehran A. Abbassian

Beyond Harmony Medspa

MedSpa Laser Skin Center

Dr. Bernard Raskin of Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Center

Dr. Edward A. Pechter

Dr. Kevin Hayavi and Dr. Ali Sadrieh of Beverly Hills Physicians
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