Many patients want cosmetic dentistry, but there are many barriers to making it happen. Here are just a few.
- Skill of the Doctor –Is this doctor good enough to trust with how I look? This is a completely fair question. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty in the field of dentistry. There’s really no great way to find out if a dentist is prepared enough and skilled enough to handle a cosmetic case to a patient’s particular satisfaction. If a dentist puts “cosmetic dentistry” on their sign or website, it doesn’t tell you much. Trust and not knowing what your dentist is capable of are major barriers to a patient seeking cosmetic treatment.
- Cost –From a money perspective and a time perspective, cosmetic dentistry is often quite a commitment, especially when it is done well. Especially when a patient’s cosmetic concerns are complex, the journey is often longer than most patients anticipate. Oftentimes, a “quick fix” with many compromises doesn’t satisfy the patient or the doctor.
- Fear –Certainly there are patients that are afraid of anesthesia or even just sitting in the dental chair, but fear of the unknown is a big barrier in cosmetic dentistry. What will this look like in the end? Will it be worth it?
Historically in dentistry, dentists like myself that have proposed cosmetic dental treatment plans to patients have relied on a few techniques.
- Showing Photos –When I’m discussing cosmetic dental options with patients, I often show patients photos of a case that I have done that is similar to what they are looking for. I’ve accumulated a large photo collection of cosmetic cases that I have done myself, and I feel like it builds trust and confidence when I show patients my work that is something similar to what they are looking for. Let’s face it, though: that’s ok, but it certainly isn’t great.
- Wax Up – Making models of a patient’s teeth and then adding wax to the models is called a “wax up”. This is one of the first things dentists learn how to do, so naturally dentists find it to be a great go to method to show patients what their teeth will look like if they pursue cosmetic dentistry. Dentists love it! Patients might like it, but still, it’s just ok. There’s a huge disconnect with these techniques. Dentists can envision the final result, because we live in this world, but patients can’t. A wax up might look good sitting on the counter top, but what will those pretty teeth look like in my face?!
Digital Smile Design is the technology that can break down all of these barriers. One of the many benefits of this technology is that it allows patients to see what cosmetic dentistry will look like in their mouth and with their face before they commit to anything. There’s no imagination necessary, the final result can be simulated before anything is started!
Here’s how it works. Models and photos are taken of a patient that is interested in cosmetic dentistry. These records are sent to a special laboratory that creates your new smile in a computer program. From that computer design, a computer mills an “overlay”, which is basically a prototype of how your smile could look. This overlay is tried in and photos are taken. The patient can view these photos and from there decide if they are ready to commit to cosmetic dentistry.
With the end result in mind, patients feel more confident in their decision and doctors have the perfect road map. The patient, the lab technician, the dentist, and any dental specialists involved in the case can all speak the same language and refer to the final result during the entire course of treatment.
There are so many benefits to incorporating Digital Smile Design into the cosmetic dentistry planning, it truly breaks down so many barriers. When the patient and doctor agree on the plan and how to get there, time and money can be saved. The financial commitment for large cosmetic cases can still be high, but patients feel better about making an investment in their dental health and appearance when they truly know what they are getting. Knowing what the end result will look like sure alleviates a lot of fear, too!
If you’re in San Antonio and have more questions about Digital Smile Design, stop by and we can chat more about it!
Dental implants can make a huge difference for some dental patients with complex needs have tried everything, and nothing seems to work. No matter what they do and no matter how hard they try to maintain their dental treatment, all of it seems to fail. For patients who suffer from severe tooth decay, severe bruxism, chronically abscessed teeth, several missing teeth, etc. the options can often be expensive and time consuming. Some patients have what I call “dental burnout”. They’ve already spent so much time and money on their teeth they don’t know what to do any more. They quit coming to the dentist regularly because it always seems to be bad news.
Conventional removable dentures are sometimes a quick fix for these patients, but constant adjustment and maintenance is often necessary. Most current denture patients will tell you that you just can’t function with the same confidence you once had when your teeth are removable. You can’t eat the foods you once enjoyed. Even if you can eat something, it doesn’t taste the same! You can’t sing or speak with the confidence you once had. It’s just simply not a great solution.
There is a solution for patients with extensive dental needs, and it’s called All on Four Dental Implants.
All On Four – Dental Implants
The revolutionary All on Four treatment concept is a new, exciting alternative for patients considering dentures or who have extensive dental problems that would require years to fix. The All on Four treatment approach uses four dental implant anchors in the jaw to support a fixed, non-removable prosthesis. Only your dentist can take it out, which is fantastic! All of the diseased teeth in your mouth can be replaced with a beautiful prosthetic set, and the implants not only lock it in, they help to keep the bone in your jaw intact.
Once the final prosthesis is attached, you become a regular dental patient. Stop by to be examined once or twice a year to make sure everything is looking great. Throw away your denture adhesives and cup you put your dentures in on the nightstand or bathroom sink. Smile and eat with confidence that nothing is going to fall out.
One of the best things about the All on Four treatment is how fast everything can be done. Tradition treatment plans involving dental implants can take up to eighteen months to complete. After a few consultations and record taking appointments, an All on Four treatment can be scheduled and delivered in just a matter of weeks. You may have seen some advertisement or heard the phrase “teeth in a day”. This is a popular term that is sometimes being used to describe this procedure. While this terminology does oversimplify things just a little bit, a patient can literally be transformed on the day of delivery.
For those familiar with All on Four/”Teeth in Day”, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. One misconception regarding the All on Four with dental implants treatment is that it can only be performed by the big corporate chains that advertise this treatment option exclusively. This is not true. Your general dentist works with a surgeon and a dental lab that are able to perform this great service for you at the same cost as the big chains. The benefit to having the procedure done with your dentist is you will continue to receive the care, attention to detail, service, and follow up that you’re used to. The chains in San Antonio that offer this service don’t offer hygiene services and oral cancer screenings that are still imperative to your dental health. Your general dentist offers these services.
If you think you’re a candidate for the procedure, or you just want to learn more about it to help someone you know, contact your general dentist to see if it is something they offer. It is truly a life changing treatment option. If you are in San Antonio, our dentists would be happy to help you!
If you’ve never been to Monarch Trophy Studio in San Antonio before, you’re missing out. They have an incredible selection of trophies and plaques. I was in there several months ago getting a trophy engraved for my Fantasy Football league, and they had a Fiesta medal display. Living here since 2010, I’ve become familiar with all of the Fiesta traditions, and I decided it was time for our dental office to have a medal. I wanted to do something creative and I wanted to show our support for a community tradition.
I provided the good people at Monarch Trophy Studio with a rough sketch of what I wanted, and when they sent me the proof I was blown away. It came out awesome! This was back in January 2014, and I had to keep it a secret for months. I’m terrible at keeping secrets, so it was really hard for me to not want to show the design to everyone. When the medal order finally came in, I raced over to Monarch to pick them up and immediately posted a picture of it online.
The pictures I posted went viral. People started liking them and sharing them on social media immediately, and before long the word was out.
I’m glad I bought a lot of them, because they have become quite popular. People are coming from all over town to buy one from us, sometimes people buy seven or eight! We have patients and non-patients coming every day and everyone loves them. Our whole team has gotten really excited about it, too. We’re used to only dental patients walking in the door, so we definitely get a kick out of people coming in here to purchase something like we’re a gift shop!
One of the most exciting things was when our medal was featured on WOA News 4 San Antonio with Albert Flores. Check out the video here:
To everyone that has purchased a medal from us, we’re glad you like it. Thank you for supporting our effort to be a part of this community tradition. It really makes us feel like we belong here and we are a part of what is going on in San Antonio. We’re excited to be a part of the renaissance that is going on here that at the same time embraces the traditions that make our city unique and great.
We are asking for a $5 donation for each pin. 100% of the proceeds from the sales will go to the San Antonio Humane Society, an organization we are proud to support.
Spread the word, we still have them as of this posting!