How Can I Make Sure I Get the Results I Want from a Cosmetic Dental Procedure?

Doctor Answers 8

Achieving your dental goals with a cosmetic dentist

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Some people have it very clear in their mind what they want to achieve when they smile. As long as a person can articulate what they want, a skilled and experienced dentist can help determine if the goals are even possible. Quite often a trained cosmetic dentist can allow participation in the planning and implementation of a case.

In my office, the normal steps to a porcelain veneer smile case are as follows:
  1. Choosing from a catalog (or other means) a style of a smile desired and shade or color.
  2. Having a diagnostic wax-up (a wax "blueprint") made before starting, allowing you to see what shape is planned. Some limitations to the case can be revealed at this point.
  3. After the teeth have been shaped for veneers, the temporaries should look like the shape of the waxup (which is how they will look when complete). This will allow for a "trial smile" and if there are any desired changes they can be made at this time.
  4. Prior to being bonded in place, the veneers can be tried in and evaluated. If the shape and color are satisfactory, they can be permanently bonded in place.
Once bonded in place, there is no going back. If changes are desired after bonding, there likely would be a fee, even up to 100% of the original investment if the whole thing must be redone. Quite often the patient will be asked to sign off at each step, giving permission to continue.
If all these protocols are followed, you should be able to ensure your goals are met.

Good Cosmetic Dentistry = Good Communication between Dentist + Patient + Dental Ceramist

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After 29 years of performing cosmetic dentistry, I can sum up the most important factor in getting the results you want  in one word: COMMUNICATION. Cosmetic Dentistry is the one specialty area in dentistry that requires the dentist to listen to what the patient wants, as opposed to telling the patient what they need. Being able to communicate specific likes and dislikes helps the dentist to include this information in the design phase. The dentist should be able to communicate with you whether these expectations are realistic and what you can expect in a result. I prefer a diagnostic wax up and photographs to communicate this with the patient and also the dental ceramist who will manufacture the restorations prior to placement. The temporary phase of treatment is also an excellent time for everyone to "get on the same page" as modifications to the design can be made in the temporary restorations. In this way, communication is clear and the results from a procedure can be predictable.

Goals with cosmetic dentistry

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To get the results you want and be realistic about them you need to be open and honest. You need to go over all options with your cosmetic dentist as well as ask all querstions that you want. A good cosmetic dentist will leave an open line of communication for you so you feel at ease. Being comfortable is a very big step forward in the process. A skilled cosmetic dentist can give you waht you want within limits. Patients should also be allowed in on the treatment planning stages as well. This will include study models, mock wax ups of the final product as well as computer generated photos. This will give the patient as much information as possible going forward.



Marielaina Perrone, DDS
Henderson Dentist

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Getting what you want from Cosmetic Dentistry

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Great Cosmetic Dentistry requires a skilled dentist and a patient who can describe what they want the outcome to look like.  A comprehensive plan is required.  Sometimes, digital imaging and computer graphics can be used to show the patient what is possible in Cosmetic Dentistry.  Sometimes an impression of the teeth can be used to create a model of the teeth.  Tooth shape and position can be altered using wax on the tooth model.  Occasionally, I will apply tooth colored wax or place a tooth colored restorative material on the teeth without bonding adhesives to allow a patient to see a mock up of what can be done.  In many cases the patient can go back to work or home, get feedback from co-workers or family and return for modification.  Once a design is approved, the final restoration using orthodontics, tooth colored composite bonding or porcelain veneers/crowns can be done. Design, material and lab selection are paramount.

Marc Zive, DMD
Springfield Dentist

How can I make Sure I get the Results I want from Cosmetic Dentistry?

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You can be confident that you will get the cosmetic dentistry results you are hoping for by making sure you are having clear communication with your cosmetic dentist. You can have digital photos taken of your smile. Then we often will use computer smile imaging so you can see what your new smile would look like on you. This process uses a digital photo of your smile. One one side you will see your current smile, and right next to it you will see what your new smile can look like-it's really powerful!

From there a wax design is made. If you have a number of questions, you may visit with the ceramist (the gentleman who actually makes your veneers or cosmetic dental crowns). After that a mock-up or trial smile can be made from plastic so that you can actually start to see a real change on your own teeth. Another advantage of this is that it is temporary and reversible, so you can get your questions answered BEFORE you start.

One other great tip is to bring someone who's opinion you value, and has a good eye. You want to bring someone who will tell you straight out if the new smile is going to look good on you. This person also needs to have an eye for detail, as great cosmetic dentistry is all about the level of attention to the small things.

Look at the "blue print"

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Whenever we do a cosmetic case, we always have our lab do a "wax up".  This is a dental term for a blue print of how the teeth will be when finished.  It is a three dimensional model of how the teeth will look made up of white wax on the stone model of your teeth.  This will give you a real good idea of the outcome.

Invisalign in combination with cosmetic dentistry

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Many times a cosmetic dentist is faced with teeth to restore but the teeth are not in good positions so a final result will not be great.  Enter Invisalign (or braces).  Invisalign can then move teeth into positions where the teeth can successfully be cosmetically restored .  It is very important that the dentist doing the Invisalign treatment be in close communication with the dentist doing the cosmetic dentistry work.  That way there are no surprises in the end and a truly beautiful result can be achieved.

People need to more comfortable (especially men) in...

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People need to more comfortable (especially men) in letting their cosmetic dentist know what it is about their smile that they would like to change. I can’t help anyone improve their smile if they don’t tell me what they don’t like.

I’m there to help my patients, but they need to ask for help. You see, I can improve something in almost anyone’s smile. I’m trained to know what perfect esthetic looks like. But I’m not going to walk into a room and tell someone everything I see about their smile that I don’t like. What’s important is knowing what they don’t like…then I can present solutions. To get the results you want, communicate with your dentist.

Gary M. Radz, DDS
Denver Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.