What is a cosmetic dentist? Of the many questions I am asked on a daily basis, this is one that does not often cross my path. Yet, I believe it is an important question to answer for those people looking to improve their smiles.
In a few words, cosmetic dentists are dental professionals who address the appearance of the smile and overall systematic problems with the smile design. Where general dentists address problems such as pain and tooth decay, cosmetic dentists are trained to enhance the aesthetics of the smile through the use of dental veneers and other cosmetic procedures.
For many people, the overall goal of cosmetic dentistry is to walk away with straight, white teeth. They may look in the mirror and see two or three things that they do not like about their smile—excessive tooth wearing, gaps between teeth, even crooked or uneven teeth—and it is the goal of the cosmetic dentist to address these insecurities and compose a smile that looks natural and harmonious with the individual’s overall appearance.
This is where cosmetic dentists thrive. While the typical patient may see two or three problem areas with their smile, a well-trained cosmetic dentist may see six or seven issues that can be addressed to achieve a natural looking smile. Pinpointing these problem areas and composing a smile that allows patients to smile with confidence is what cosmetic dentists have been trained to do.
One way that we ensure the patient ultimately smiles with confidence is to prepare a trial smile. While trial smiles, or mock up smiles, were once prepared via digital imaging, cosmetic dentists can now use composite material or dental acrylic to prepare the smile in the patient’s mouth. This allows both the dentist and the patient to see if their desired plan of action is harmonious with the individual’s bite and overall appearance. The trial smile can be worn for up to one week, during which time I ask patients to get a feel for the new smile and see how those around them react to it.
It should be noted that trial smiles are only prepared for those cases that address complex systematic issues. For simple problems, such as addressing one or two teeth, we do not build a trial smile. However, the case is still verbalized and desired outcomes discussed.
Below are photos of a trial smile prepared for a man whose 4 incisors were too short and incisal edges made his smile appear crooked. A trial smile was prepared for this patient, and after a week of wear, he and I decided that our treatment plan was the best option for his smile.
Ultimately, the goal of the trial smile is to gain confidence in the procedure that will ultimately be performed. If after a week the patient decides that this is not the best look or feel for them, the cosmetic dentist can tweak the design to compose a smile that is more harmonious with the patient’s expectations.
From there, a template for the veneers can be made and the smile made permanent.
Your Cosmetic Dentistry Needs
As an experienced cosmetic dentist, it is my hope that each case results in a smile that ultimately enhances the patient’s confidence. Understanding cosmetic dentistry and how it can improve your smile is the first step to achieving this outcome. For more information on how you can improve your smile through cosmetic dentistry, call us at 813-689-4226 to schedule a consultation today.