Tag: cosmetic dentistry

How to select a Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic Dentistry is not a specialty. Every dentist advertises that they are a cosmetic dentist, so how do you pick a dentist to give you a beautiful, lasting smile?

After all, your smile is essentially one of your most important features! You spend a lot of time researching shoes, clothing, purses, cars, you name it. All these “things” come and go, but a smile is forever. Why would you not do your due diligence when it comes to something so important?

After practicing dentistry for over 15 years here is my opinion:

1. Experience does matter. Find a dentist that has proven he/she has a passion for cosmetic dentistry.

2. Walk the talk. The old saying: “Watch one, do one, teach one” really does apply. You cannot be a cosmetic dentist if you have not watched and learned how to do it, then practiced how to do it, and finally at the pinnacle of knowledge taught how to do it. If your dentist is teaching other dentists how to do it, then they probably know how to do it pretty well themselves. There are only a few dentists in the nation that are speakers on cosmetic dentistry. These dentists would be my first choice as a patient.

3. Passion Passion Passion. So, we all know that if you love what you do you do a better job. Does your dentist love what he/she does? Are they passionate? Are they excited to show you all the before and after photos of their work? Do they write blogs about what they do? Do they have a smile on their own faces? Do not, under any circumstance, ever, pick a dentist that does not like what they do.

4. Team. A dental office that provides quality cosmetic dentistry requires a top of the line team. I could not do what I do without my team, they are the best. Everybody from the front office to the assistant need to love what they do. If the team is not top notch, how can the dentistry be top notch?

5. Laboratory. Top notch cosmetic dentistry is not made in China, but that does not stop many dentists from sending their dentistry to China to be made. If you want a beautiful smile you need a top notch dental laboratory technician. There are several great lab technicians in the USA that can give you the smile of your dreams, but I guarantee you that any dentist that subscribes to in-network insurance here in Kentucky will never use them for one simple reason, and that is cost. You get what you pay for in dentistry. Like it or not, quality dentistry costs more money. Quality dental technicians are expensive. Quality materials cost more. Quality training for the dentist to become a top notch cosmetic dentistry takes time and money, quality team players cost money, and so forth. There is no way around this, you truly get what you pay for in dentistry.

6. Do it right the first time. Too often I see patients that come to me for a second opinion AFTER they had poor dentistry done. This only results in more discomfort, cost and time issues…Pick the best dentist you can afford now. Find someone that teaches you how to FIX your mouth, not just patch what is causing it to break down. There are ways today to prevent the need for dentistry for a long time!!!

So, when you are looking for a dentist, especially a cosmetic dentist, consider the facts above. Pick wisely…Dentistry is not a commodity, it is an art.  Do it right the first time and save not only on time and money, but frustration and discomfort as well.

Keep Smiling.

Componeers – Beautiful Direct Composite Veneers At Half The Cost Of Porcelain!

A beautiful smile should not be a luxury – everyone deserves to love their smile!

Until recently, a smile makeover always consisted of porcelain veneers or crowns that are not always in the budget for most people. Plus, these porcelain restorations, while beautiful, are very hard to repair.  If the porcelain veneers are not in the budget, the only other option then was a hand sculpted composite resin veneer. These literally require the dentist to be an artist, are very time-consuming and frequently do not look as good as the patient would like.

Now there is a “medium” option- Componeers. These composite resin veneers are strong, beautiful and much more cost effective than porcelain veneers. Componeers have the beauty of porcelain, the longevity of pressed composite, and most importantly, are adjustable, repairable and customizable!

So, if you want to “style your smile” but don’t want to break the bank, ask us about the new Componeers system.

You can learn more about the system here: COMPONEERS

Keep smiling.

Misleading Advertisement Epidemic – Everybody Is The Leading Dentist In Louisville

How is a patient today supposed to find a good dentist in Louisville? Everybody is a cosmetic dentist. Everybody is excellent. Everybody is cutting edge, UNTIL something goes wrong.

I am constantly amazed at how dentists try to undercut each other – “Come see us, we will do it for less!”, yet at the same time advertise that they are “the leading practice…”, “The Best Dentist…”, “Quality comes first…”. You have to be kidding me.

Dentistry is not like a used car lot. You cannot sell the same car for more or less –  Dentistry is an art, a craft, a service, a medical profession! Every procedure is entirely unique. Every veneer, crown, filling, is one of a kind. One size does not fit all.

Quality dentistry requires not only a good dentist but a good technician. Good technicians are expensive. We are talking about body parts here, custom made. You are not buying a new shirt, shoes or other accessory, you are literally fixing or buying new body parts.

So what is the point of this post you ask? Well, there are dentists out there that spend a lot of time and money getting the education needed to deliver premium are. There are dentists out there that work with top lab technicians and oversee every single case. There are dentists out there that really work hard to deliver top quality dentistry and stand behind it 100%. These are not the dentists I am talking about. This post is simply a reminder to patients to do their research.

Pick the best dentist you can find. Do not go by “The Top Dentists in the USA” plaque, it is something ALL dentists can buy. Do not go by the “on of The Best Dentists…” publication or plaque, it also is simply something dentists can buy.

Here are some of the local advertisements I picked up through goggle today:

Family Dental —————–  is the leading dental practice in the Louisville metro area

Dr. ——– is listed in a Guide to Americas Top Dentists

Dr. —— selected as on of The Best Dentists in America

Let’s be real and focus on delivering the best dental care we possibly can.

Smile, It’s Natural,

Cosmetic Dentistry 101 – Get What YOU Want!

Super White Teeth – some love it, some hate it. It is a personal preference. What it really comes down to is what type of teeth do YOU like?

A smile is very personal – actually, I think a smile is just about as personal as you can get. It needs to reflect who you are and what you are trying to say about yourself. If you never said a word but smiled really big people would know more about you than you may imagine.

The white smile above is easily identified.  It is Simon Cowell from American Idol. It says something about Simon. He specifically chose to get porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns that are as white as it gets. It is bold, powerful and in your face. Does that reflect who Simon is? I think it does.

Does Simon’s smile look “natural”? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think he told his dentist that he wanted a natural smile.

When you are considering a smile makeover you need to be honest with yourself. What type of smile do you want? White? Natural? Powerful? Sexy? There are so many different types of teeth shapes and colors. One size does not fit all!

Cosmetic Dentists that have a lot of experience in smile makeovers know that first and foremost we need to determine what type of smile you want, and since you are not a dentist you won’t be able to tell us what type of line angles you prefer. So, I ask my patients to cut out at least 3 smiles they love and 3 smiles they don’t from magazines. Then at our consultation we discuss the smiles and this is how I find out what you like. Now I can create a wax model of your smile prior to ever touching your teeth! You will be able to see what our goal is and then watch the transformation take place. There is no guesswork.

A cosmetic dentist has the training and experience to deliver the smile you want. When it comes to something as personal as your smile, make sure you get what you want!

Cosmetic Dentistry 101 – Laboratory Technician

Cosmetic dentistry often requires a dental technician to fabricate the indirect restorations such as porcelain veneers, crowns, onlays and inlays. The dentist prepares the tooth and takes a mold which is then sent to the dental lab. From this point on it is up to the skill of the dental technician. They need to create a restoration that fits perfectly, is made out of the finest materials, and matches the existing teeth in the mouth – not a small task.

Above is just one of the articles that my dental technician wrote for a respected dental journal called QDT (Quintessence of Dental Technology) about cosmetic dentistry. Together I have written several articles for this invitation only journal with my technician.

Below is a list of essential elements to look for when considering cosmetic dentistry, as they relate to the dental laboratory:

  1. Who is the dental technician that will fabricate the restorations? (Veneers, crowns, etc.) Specifically, what qualifications does this individual have? Ask for pictures of work completed by this technician. Many dental offices do not have a relation with the technician and send their indirect restorations (crowns, veneers, etc.) to a “lab” that has many technicians. You never know who will make your tooth. Can we say “assembly line”? The only reason for doing this is cost – there are absolutely no other benefits to a dental practice other than it being cheap. Cheap and top quality do not go together. You need to know who will make the dentistry that is going into your mouth, and you need to know that they are extremely good at what they do. Find the website for your laboratory and see for yourself what they advertise.
  2. What materials are going to be used in your restoration? Gold – what type? Porcelain – what type? Yes, it makes a big difference. Nearly pure gold is still the longest lasting restoration we can place as dentists. Yes, it is not cosmetic, but it lasts and still has its uses. That being said, there are different levels of gold quality that dentists can select: High Noble, Noble, and Base Metal. The only metal I feel that should be used in the mouth is High Noble gold alloy. Everything else is a compromise (it has trace elements that you do not want in your mouth)- it is cheaper for the dentist. With regards to porcelain, there are too many different types to mention. Your technician needs to be familiar with each of them and be able to use the best material for your unique situation. Some porcelains are stronger than others, some are brighter, some fit better, etc.  If this restoration is going to last a very long time than it is important to use the best materials.
  3. Excellent technicians cost more.You are not only paying for the materials used to make your tooth, but for the skill of the operator. Just like the skill of the dentist, experience matters. A plastic surgeon places better sutures than a general doctor. A highly trained cosmetic dentist is better at cosmetic dentistry than a general dentist, and a highly trained dental technician is obviously better than a regular “fresh” dental technician. Often I have patients come to me for second opinions while in treatment. If they want the other dentist to complete the work I supply them with the information about which technician to have the dentist send the tooth to for fabrication. To date none have actually sent work to these technicians because the fee is too high. As we all know, you get what you pay for. So, the other dentist has the tooth made at his/her regular laboratory and guess what – the patient has sensitivity, the bite is wrong, the tooth looks horrible, and we have to redo the whole thing in my office. This happens almost weekly. The moral of the story: Get it done right the first time!

NOT so “Cosmetic” Dentistry

What is the difference between a Cosmetic Dentist and an Accredited Cosmetic Dentist?  Well, the difference is in the details.

Understanding facial aesthetics, not just teeth, is critical. The goal with every cosmetic smile makeover is to improve the whole smile, the whole face, the whole person, not just the teeth.

Here are a few cases I found online that are touted as “Smile Makeovers“. You be the judge. Are these smiles complete? What is missing? More after the pictures.

Please remember, these cases are NOT MY DENTISTRY!

Do these cases sound like “Smile Makeovers?”

  1. A smile goes from one corner of the mouth to the other.  Teeth are framed by the lips and need to follow the lip line.  A “black corridor” will result if one side of the smile, or frequently both sides, are neglected.  This dreaded black corridor makes the person look like they have no teeth on that side when they smile, especially in photos!  Who wants that?  How is that “cosmetic/aesthetic?” All these patients above spent a lot of money on their smiles, significantly more than their insurances would ever cover.  Why would you not finish the case and get rid of that black corridor?  Until that is done right, it is not a “smile makeover”, but simply a few veneers on some teeth.
  2. Bulky.  Teeth are not bulky, why are so many veneers bulky?  They shouldn’t be.  It does not look real, and it is not good for the teeth.
  3. Shine through.  Meaning, you can see the prepared tooth shine through the porcelain.  Look at the last before and after.  Can you see the darkness in the middle of the two front teeth? That is of course ignoring the blackness of the back lower teeth and the black corridor on the top side.

Long story short, everyone is a cosmetic dentist, but if you are going to invest in your smile, why not see someone who has the experience to give you a result that really can be called a Smile Makeover?

Most of our Smile Makeovers are Smile Redoes.  Who wants to go through this whole process twice, not to mention pay twice?

That is what being an Accredited Cosmetic Dentist is all about.  Having the experience to do it right the first time!

Is This Acceptable To You?

Yesterday I saw a new patient that had seen his old dentist regularly for years.

At his last visit his old dentist placed a small “filling”. Everything else apparently was fine!

So, to make a long and unfortunately too common story short, this patient has extensive decay and very poor dentistry. His oral hygiene is very good and with a little Ideal Dentistry this patient will have a great smile.  Thank goodness his true dental problems were discovered before it was too late!  It is very regretful that his old dentist practiced supervised neglect

What do YOU expect from your dentist?  Do you want the truth?  OR, do you want a false sense of security that everything is ok?  I firmly believe that it is YOUR decision what to do about “your” dental problems.  Once I have informed you of everything that is going on, YOU can make the decision that is best for you.  I will never be afraid to tell you the “truth” and give you a way to get back to good dental health.

Why chose a Cosmetic Dentist with experience?

This patient came to see me after spending a fortune at another office.  He was not happy with the final result.

Disclaimer: This is NOT my dentistry

The sad part is that yes, the aesthetics are not good, but there are many more problems than just the aesthetics…Now I need to meet with the patient and try to explain all the underlying issues that may not have been discussed before.  Not my favorite type of discussion.

  • The back teeth show severe wear and cannot support the bite as it functions right now
  • The front teeth, supported by implants, are possibly failing due to the distribution of load on them
  • The final aesthetics did not meet the patients expectations
  • The soft tissue/gums were not managed ideally which will/has resulted in poor aesthetics

This case is very complex, no matter how much experience you have.  The expectations of the patient need to be realistic as well.  In my opinion we need to focus on the reason behind the wear of the teeth so that we can make this patients dentistry last!  It makes no sense to only focus on the front teeth when the back teeth won’t work correctly!

If you have a complex case or very high expectations, make sure you see a dentist that has the experience and background to tackle the case!

Single Tooth Makeover

What a difference a small white filling can make.

The old filling, an amalgam filling (50% Mercury, 50% silver), was leaking and had recurrent decay under it.

The “white filling” is placed after gently removing the old filling and any associated decay.  Then a complex bonding procedure is followed closely, ensuring a perfect bond and beautiful aesthetics.

All too often old silver mercury fillings like this result in fractured teeth which then require extensive rebuilding, root canal therapy, or even removal of the tooth.  Prevention and early intervention are the only two ways to significantly reduce the risk of this happening.

Cosmetic Dentistry: CASE STUDY – Wearing Out Your Teeth

Last week a new patient came to my office seeking a second opinion on 4 front veneers that were done. Her concern was that they did not match (too white/opaque) and did not look real.   Well, she was right, the veneers did not look real, and they were cemented with opaque white cement, blocking out all light and creating a white-out like tooth.  The sad thing was, these 4 front teeth were the least of her problems…

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT my dentistry!

After doing a complete exam, radiography’s, digital photos and a tooth by tooth analysis it became apparent that she has almost completely worn out her teeth.  Bone loss was present on all teeth, pointing towards an advanced stage of gum disease.  Soon she could loose all her teeth, and the aesthetics of her 4 front teeth would not matter…very sad.

Normal tooth wear usually results in us wearing out our teeth in our early to mid 50’s.  The enamel, the strong outside layer of our teeth, will be worn through and the soft dentin, the underlying layer, wear out 7 times as fast.  This results in quick loss of tooth structure and event loss of function and esthetics.  Who wants to go through that?  You won’t be able to chew very well, and your smile will be anything but good looking.

Living a long and healthy life is everyone’s goal.  Once we retire we want to do all the things we could not do before.  That will not be the time to spend a lot of time and money on your teeth.  At that point you want to live your life to its fullest!

So, here at Ideal Dentistry I rebuild smiles and mouths every single day.  I do not put blinders on and focus on only your 4 front teeth.  I am a mouth “doctor”, not a tooth mechanic.  This means it is my duty to help you live a long and healthy life, focusing on how your teeth relate to that.  Being able to chew and smile is something we take for granted until it goes away.

Rebuilding a smile is difficult and requires experience.  Smile “rejuvenation” is something I enjoy and have been doing for many years.  I combine aesthetics and function with every case, making sure you do not run into the same trouble that this patient did.  You can have a beautiful lasting smile, it is completely up to you.

If you are wearing out your teeth and would like a consultation on how to keep your teeth for the rest of your life, call Ideal Dentistry today and schedule a Quick Look Consultation to get an idea of where you stand.