One of the most rewarding areas of my practice is improving my patient’s smiles and seeing their improved self esteem. For some patients it is simply closing some spaces between their teeth that has bothered them all of their lives. For others, it may be whitening their teeth and a complete smile makeover involving multiple treatment options.
This is why it is very important to fully understand the patient’s goals and desires in the planning stages of their treatment. We use multiple photos, models and actually have our lab create a diagnostic wax up to see exactly what we can realistically achieve for our patients.
Cosmetic dentistry does change the way people form a first impression of you.
What is a Smile Makeover?
The types of treatment involved in improving a smile start with healthy teeth and gums. Healthy looking pink gums are a must to create symmetry and an outline for your smile. Some patients only require a routine dental cleaning yet others may need recontouring of the actual gum tissue. For this, we use our state of the art NdYAg laser. This laser allows us to be very specific in our contouring with little or no discomfort. It’s like using a paint brush. Once the tissues are healthy and in harmony, we can begin using various available treatment options.
Most cases start with whitening of the natural teeth. We use both take home tray whitening with professional strength gels or ZOOM in-office whitening. Both options are extremely effective. We can discuss which is best to meet your needs. The next step is to assess what is actually out of harmony in your smile. It can be the teeth, gums, lips or even your jaw alignment. All areas can be improved but most patients want to focus on the teeth and gums. We can manipulate the size, color, shape, and position of the teeth. We have already mentioned that in most cases we can also manipulate the gums to achieve better symmetry.
Options for altering the teeth are boned tooth colored filling materials, porcelain veneers, all porcelain crowns and special Captek crowns that contain a thin coping of gold that the porcelain is fused to. The advantage of porcelain veneers is that they are color stable and allow us to change the shape and size of teeth with very little removal of healthy tooth structure. We resort to crowns when there has already been significant damage to the tooth structure. The crowns can give the same cosmetic result and strengthen the weakened tooth.
For many cases, we use a combination of crowns and veneers depending on the individual tooth. When teeth are missing we can replace the missing teeth with implants of fixed porcelain bridges that are cemented to the adjacent teeth. These replacements can be done with a smile makeover and will blend in naturally with your new smile.
Everyone likes to be attractive, both for themselves and for the people around them. Some, however, may resist cosmetic dentistry for fear of seeming vain. It’s the old “being accepted for who you are” concern.
Cosmetic dentistry does change the way people form a first impression of you. When you look healthy (and a lot of our sense of beauty is hardwired health related stuff), you attract people’s interest and attention. You don’t have to be a movie star or a politician to see the advantages.
Anyone who wants people to pay attention to what they think and what they have to say benefits from this. Halitosis is another example of this – when people are avoiding your breath, they are avoiding your words.