December 11, 2017

Smile Design

When it comes to creating an absolutely beautiful smile for the patient, whether it be with porcelain veneers or all-porcelain crowns,  your cosmetic dentist takes many things into consideration in designing a new smile.  But job number one is that he/she listen to the patient, understanding general and specific goals that the patient wants to achieve.

perfect smile design for Jill Frick

This smile design was done for Jill Frick, who won the Mrs. U.S.-Globe beauty pageant. Note how the edges of Jill's porcelain veneers follow the curve of her lower lip, which is referred to as "following the smile line".

General concerns that the patient may have might include looking younger, more professional, more attractive, etc.  Specific concerns might be that the patient thinks the teeth are too dark, worn, not straight, spaced, have unsightly fillings or old crowns, gums are uneven, teeth are missing, etc.

After determining “his mission”, the cosmetic dentist’s next job is to evaluate the patient’s teeth, smile, gums, face, jaw size, lips, etc. and to point out to the patient other issues that the patient may not have realized that might effect the type of treatment or the results achievable.  It’s extremely important that the patient be made aware of all the issues before making decisions as to the final treatment.

Thus, the cosmetic dentist’s next responsibility is to diagnose the cosmetic and dental problems and then offer the patients pertinent solutions and alternatives aimed again at achieving the patient’s cosmetic goals.  It’s also incumbent upon the cosmetic dentist to go over any possible risks or complications that may be encountered in the course of treatment or possibly after treatment.  This allows the patient to make intelligent and fully informed decisions regarding his/her cosmetic dental treatment.

Once the patient has chosen the treatment, the dentist utilizes his experience, training and artistic ability to design the new smile.  Cosmetic dentists realize “it’s not just about teeth!”  It’s really about the smile that results, and many cosmetic dentists liken the smile to a stage, where the teeth are the actors, the gums are the scenery and the lips are the curtains.  And it’s how the cosmetic dentist incorporates all of those aspects into the smile design that demonstrates his artistic ability.

Regarding the teeth, the cosmetic dentist has much to determine.  The tooth shade or color, tooth shape, translucency, surface texture, tooth length, type of porcelain or plastic bonding material, design of the tooth preparation that would be necessary based on achieving the patient’s stated goals, etc.

The gums are another issue, one very commonly missed by dentists without a strong background in cosmetic dentistry.  Usually over the years some gums will recede and the amount of teeth showing might vary from tooth to tooth.  Thus for optimum esthetics the cosmetic dentist will often treat the gums to make them even.  Usually it’s relatively simple procedure utilizing a dental gum laser to even the gums out.  On some occasions the patient may see a periodontist (gum specialist) to add more gums over a tooth with marked recession.

The end result that many cosmetic dentists and patients may choose is one that has lighter, brighter teeth, well proportioned and of optimum length, with the edges of the upper front teeth following the contour of the lower lip when smiling (called “following the smile line“), even gums and a well balanced and comfortable bite.

Dr. Norman Huefner, Orange County Cosmetic Dentistry and Porcelain Veneers. Serving the surrounding cities of Laguna Niguel, Irvine, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita
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