Digital Smile Design: Taking your Smile to the Next Level

I’m excited to share about a new technology in our office that’s helping create more beautiful, natural-looking smiles – Digital Smile Design (DSD), developed by world-renowned dentist Dr. Christian Coachman. If you’re looking to improve your smile, this technology is second-to-none in terms of smile design, and we are one of the first cosmetic dental offices in Tampa Bay to use it.

Before I tell you what’s so great about this new system, it’s important to understand how these treatments are normally done.

The traditional “analog” process

Typically, smile improvement procedures such as veneers and crowns are done using impressions and wax models of the patient’s mouth. The cosmetic dentist takes impressions, as well as a few photos, and discusses with the patient what changes they are looking to make.

The dentist then writes a script and sends it to the lab, where technicians create a diagnostic wax-up to show the patient what his or her smile could look like. Once this model is approved by the dentist and patient, the dentist creates a set of temporaries to place on the patient’s teeth. The dentist can make on-the-spot changes and tweak the smile as needed, until both the dentist and patient are pleased with the look.

Then, the dentist will take another impression of the mouth – this time with the temporaries in place – and send that to the lab as a template for the porcelain restorations. The final restorations are placed and the patient is on his way.

This is the way that crowns, veneers and other smile enhancement procedures have been done for years. Unfortunately, this process leaves room for inaccuracies. Models are not always precise, and some things are lost in translation between the model, the dentist and the lab.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 11.01.21 AMA better way: Digital Smile Design

With the Digital Smile Design app, impressions and molds are no longer needed. The system creates a 3D image of the smile using a 3D x-ray, intraoral scan and five key photos. This information is uploaded to the app, where the patient and dentist can tweak the smile in real-time. Changes are shown on the screen, and the patient and dentist can work together to design a smile that fits the patient.

From there, a 3D model is printed and used to create the temporary restorations. While this is similar to the analog process, the digital design process allows the dentist to create much more accurate temporary restorations. Because the system allows you to see what the changes will look like in the mouth – taking into consideration the patients’ face, lip position and bite – fewer revisions are needed at this point.

Once the temporaries are approved, a new scan is taken of the mouth. The digital file is sent to the lab, where technicians can overlay it with the patient’s original digital scan and create porcelain restorations that fit perfectly in the mouth.

The Digital Smile Design technology allows dentists to create much more precise restorations that are more authentic to the patient’s personality. For the cosmetic dentist, the design process is much more hands-on and allows for a new level of artistry that’s difficult to achieve with wax molds.

Interested in seeing what your smile could be? Contact our office at (813) 689-4226 to schedule your smile design consultation.

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