Is a Smile Makeover placing dental caps on my teeth, covering them with dental porcelain veneers or do you bond my teeth to fix my smile? The answer may include all of these methods.
A smile makeover includes up to several dental technologies from least invasive and least expensive to more expensive as required to accomplish a beautiful natural looking smile. Gone are stained, chipped, misaligned and missing teeth. People have a lot of misconceptions and I am often asked a variety of questions about smile makeovers.
A patient says, “I saw a friend who had their teeth capped and they looked awful, like they were all teeth, and it was dark near the gum line of the capped teeth.”
This is an example of why a qualified cosmetic dentist is essential to avoid this being said and felt about you.
Some years ago, an attractive young woman came for a consultation: She says, “What can you to improve the appearance of my smile.”
I examine her teeth, their color and contour, and their arrangement in the jaw as well as to the opposing teeth. I examine the relationship of the jaws to one another. I examine the jaws and teeth in relation to the lips and check for correct balance in all facial features.
Upon completion of my examination I say: “You know everything about your teeth looks very good. Is there a problem you have with your teeth or smile?”
The young woman responds: No, there really isn’t any problem. I just wanted to see if you thought anything could be better.”
There are misconceptions about what constitutes a smile makeover. One important ingredient, however, is that potential patient views something about their smile as not being right. They may not know why something appears incorrect, that’s the job of the trained cosmetic dentist, but this person does know what it is that they don’t like when they look in the mirror. Without this important perception by the patient, an analysis of the smile is of no value. That is not to mean that in the course of a routine examination the dentist does not point out cosmetic and functional aspects of the teeth, gums, and bite that are not within the norm especially those aspects which if uncorrected could lead to more serious future problems. Often a patient’s smile complaint can be corrected with minimal effort and expense. But, if the patient does not see these issues, especially cosmetic issues, as being a problem to them, there is minimal impetus for them to change things. Occasionally when the cosmetic or general dentist points out dental findings that deviate from the norm, a patient might say, “I always wondered why my teeth or mouth appeared that way.” In such occasions the dentist may have planted a seed for a change in the patient’s perception of their smile.
Now, for example, a patient asks the qualified cosmetic dentist, “I have never liked the color of my teeth” or maybe they might say pointing to selected tooth or teeth, “I never liked the size of these teeth, they look too small to me.”
On one hand the smile makeover could be as simple as whitening the teeth. That is to say that all other measurable aspects teeth, gums, and jaws appear normal in relation to one another and the rest of the face and whitening the teeth will satisfy the patient’s complaint. This is a minimal effort, low-cost, “smile makeover”.
On the other hand another patient could say, “I think my teeth are too dark, and I don’t like the way this tooth overlaps the adjacent tooth, and I don’t like how the teeth tilt to one side.” Satisfying this patient’s complaints potentially could involve any of a variety of dental services. A sampling of these services include composite bonding, porcelain veneer(s), full coverage crowns, orthodontic treatment, dental implants, sometimes even gum or jaw surgery or a possible combination of the above services. It is the job of the cosmetic dentist to analyze the problem(s) as the patient sees their problem.
At Smiles by Design, the answers to patients’ problems that are not straight forward ones come from examining clinical data gathered prior to presentation of the solution to the patient.
This data could include: Full mouth x-rays, Panoramic x-ray, computer tomography x-ray (Cat Scan), plaster moulds of the teeth possibly mounted on a jaw simulating device, wax-up of plaster moulds to show corrective measures, intra oral mock-up with bonding to gauze appearance change within the frame of the lips, series of photos taken of the face head and teeth, complete intra oral examination and history of all teeth present in the mouth including possible teeth impacted under the gums in the jaws.
Commonly, all the above procedures are not necessary to make a proper diagnosis presentation of corrective measures to a patient.
Prior to arriving at the solution or possibly optional solutions to the patient complaint(s), Dr. Brother makes a list of the problems in writing, prioritizing that which brought the patient to seek help. Many times the patient’s chief smile complaint cannot be properly corrected without doing more than one service. That is why Dr. Brother’s analyses of the above information, as well as weighing the patient’s personal desires are essential to providing the best possible treatment or possible alternative treatments.
Once a corrective plan is agreed upon by the patient and Dr. Brother, the anticipated time of treatment, the fees, as well as when and how the fees can be paid, can be discussed.
For more information please see:
Dr. David Brother, DMD, FAGD
Lexington Dentist, Smiles By Design
57 Bedford Street, Ste 110
Lexington, MA 02420