Cosmetic dentistry has, over the last decade, become increasingly popular. We are asked almost daily by patients how they can whiten their teeth or improve the appearance of their smile. At times solutions can be as simple as bleaching and at other times it can include a more comprehensive approach.
Cosmetic dentistry demands that we begin with the end in mind. It demands the utmost attention to detail. It requires excellent communication between the dentist and the patient…and the dentist with the laboratory that completes the fabrication of the restorations. It also demands that the dentist LISTENS to what the patient desires.
Most aspects of dentistry involve a technical approach which the patient is not likely to be interested in. The patient is only concerned with their ability to chew, the amount of discomfort involved and if the procedure is in the front of the mouth, cosmetics quickly places itself on the top of the concern list.
When the concern is a cosmetic one, it is vital that the dentist take a step back and make sure that he/she is on the same page with the patient. Though the dentist may achieve all the dental goals for the case, if the patient isn’t happy, it is still a failure. Below is an example of case where the patient desired a cosmetic change to his upper teeth.
The patient is a 48 year old male with 4 treatment goals. 1. He doesn’t like the space between his front teeth 2. He would like no space between the crowns and his gum tissue (currently there are dark areas below the crowns on several of his back teeth) 3. He wanted the shape of his teeth to be natural and not too large 4. He would like his teeth white. Figure 1 and 2 contain his before photos.