Are you looking to transform your smile? Whether you’ve been living with crooked, chipped, or missing teeth, there is a plethora of cosmetic dental treatments that can make your smile goals your reality.
In this article, we provide a step-by-step process you can utilise to ensure your cosmetic dental treatment of choice is a success.
Types of cosmetic dental treatments
Cosmetic dentistry is in greater abundance than ever before with many dental practices now offering cosmetic dental treatments to their patients in some way or another.
Cosmetic dentistry may be ubiquitous, however, perfect outcomes are not, therefore it is important to do your due diligence before embarking on a quest for your perfect smile.
With so many cosmetic dentists and treatment options to choose from, it can be overwhelming for patients to get started with their research.
I will share with you some recommendations to help ensure your cosmetic dental treatment is a success.
I will use the example of Porcelain Veneers for this article however the same principles can be applied to most cosmetic dental treatments such as Invisalign, Composite Bonding and All on 4 procedures that focus on teeth aesthetics.
There are key areas that I feel will determine the successful outcome of your cosmetic dental treatment.
Step 1 of your cosmetic dental treatment: define your goals and teeth aesthetic.
The first step in your cosmetic dental treatment is to define what a successful outcome would look like for you.
Knowing your goals will make it easier for your dentist to help you achieve them. Therefore you will need to define your goals for your smile.
Take a selfie of your smile and write down a list of main concerns that you would like to improve along with how you would ideally want your new smile to look afterwards.
Take this wish list to your consultation and pre-prepare some questions in advance to get the most out of your consult.
Do you want a minimal enhancement with Invisalign and some Tooth Whitening or a more significant change with Porcelain Veneers? What’s your preference: Hollywood or Natural style? Not sure? Don’t stress!
It can be difficult to put into words what you want your new smile to look like so I recommend to screenshot photos of smiles you have seen online that you like. Bringing photos to your consultation can help you visually communicate what teeth aesthetics you would like to achieve.
Take this time to also consider if there is a particular timeframe for which you need the treatment completed or if you have a particular budget in mind as this will help make your decision easier whenever deciding on treatment options.
Reduce stress for yourself and your dentist by planning your smile makeover well in advance. Nobody wants the stress of fitting a set of Porcelain Veneers on the morning of your big wedding.
Giving your dentist sufficient time to carry out the cosmetic dental treatment correctly will no doubt give you the best chance for a successful result and positive experience.
Step 2 of your cosmetic dental treatment: find a dentist – look beyond ‘dentist near me’.
Finding a dentist is a bit like the dating scene. There are plenty of dentists to choose from, but it’s about finding the right one for you.
If you don’t want to take the gamble of typing in ‘cosmetic dental treatment near me’, then here is my recommendation.
Look for a dentist with suitable experience and good communication skills as these key attributes should ensure your dentist can navigate the treatment correctly and set your expectations appropriately in advance.
Many cosmetic dentists will have examples of their before and after photos on social media pages such as Instagram, Facebook or on their website to give you an idea of the treatments they provide, the results they can achieve and their teeth aesthetic.
Google reviews can also be helpful as a barometer to independently verify their previous patient’s experiences.
Once you’ve found a dentist, your next step is to book a consultation.
Step 3 of your cosmetic dental treatment: consultation.
Booking a consultation will give you a better feel for your compatibility with the dentist as ultimately you want someone whom you trust and feel comfortable with. It also gives you the chance to see the practice and meet the team.
Everyone’s smile is unique, therefore the consultation is a great chance to ask specific questions relating to your individual circumstances and alleviate your concerns.
Your dentist will help you discover what options are available, discuss the pros and cons of each option and the costs involved too.
After your consultation, your dentist should have advised you on the next steps towards achieving your dream smile. Usually, this will involve some sort of pre-planning with X-rays or scans.
X-rays and scans are crucial for dentists to fully assess below the gums and the foundations of your teeth to ensure they are healthy enough to perform the dental work.
Good cosmetic dentists will usually communicate their ideas for your new smile on a model of your teeth first. This allows you to visualise the changes being made in advance of starting the treatment.
For example, with Porcelain Veneers, we take a scan of your teeth, design a new smile with a digital planning software and 3D print this for presentation to the patient at the following appointment.
Pre-planning a smile makeover with patients is paramount as it ensures that everyone is on the same page with the proposed changes before treatment commences. It is essentially the roadmap for the journey ahead.
Step 4 of your cosmetic dental treatment: start your treatment.
Most patients are nervous in the lead-up to the day of starting treatment due to fear of the unknown – it’s completely normal.
Firstly, anticipate that you will be nervous on the day and prepare yourself by actively reducing unnecessary stress during your cosmetic dental treatment.
Pick a day that you have nothing else planned is a great idea. Give yourself plenty of time for the drive in and ensure you have had something to eat before the appointment.
Don’t have anything planned immediately after the appointment that you need to rush to get to, as appointments can sometimes run longer than estimated.
Your dentist will usually recap the proposed changes and outline the plan for the day giving you the opportunity to highlight any further questions or concerns you might have before starting.
Taking the example of Porcelain Veneers, we can sometimes do a ‘mock up’ to give you a guide of how the changes would look on you before carrying out any tooth preparation. This will give you a rough guide of how your temporaries will look/feel.
Step 5 of your cosmetic dental treatment: the treatment process.
Be prepared that your temporary veneers will not be perfect on the preparation visit. They will usually feel long, bulky and super white on the first day, don’t panic, as it will take you some time for you to get used to the changes.
At Dental Boutique, we arrange a review visit for your temporaries to allow us to refine your temporary veneers to a more suitable size and shape and ensure everything is comfortable.
The review appointment in my opinion is the most important visit as it allows our patients to modify their new smile until they are happy.
The temporary veneers are made from plastic so it is highly modifiable. We can add length or shorten teeth and change the individual shapes of the teeth if necessary. Express any concerns or major changes as early as possible as it’s much easier to modify the temporaries compared to the final Porcelain Veneers.
My advice to my patients is to show their temporary veneers to as many people as possible to generate enough feedback to gauge any potential changes they would like to make to the temporary veneers before proceeding to make the Porcelain Veneers.
After the review, your temporary veneers will feel more comfortable and should be looking around 70% towards the final result.
Temporary veneers are designed to be temporary, therefore be mindful that they need some extra TLC.
There are a few things you should avoid:
- Avoid hard or heavily staining foods
- If you’re a nighttime grinder, get a sports guard for nighttime to protect your teeth in the interim.
- Refrain from string flossing, as temporary veneers are connected together for strength (however, water flossing is fine).
The next stage is the Try In of the final Porcelain Veneers. At this visit, the temporaries are removed, and Porcelain Veneers are tried on with a gel to allow you and your dentist to visualise how they look.
A decision is made on whether to bond them in permanently on the same day or to make further refinements.
Your dentist will be the best person to guide you with this decision, as once Porcelain Veneers are glued in position, only minor adjustments can be made.
If in doubt, it’s better to take photos, put the temporaries back on and take more time if needed before making the final decision.
If you need to make refinements to the final veneers, don’t worry as this is normal. Think of it like tailoring a suit or a wedding dress, it may need a few visits to tweak things to get it perfect.
Once the Porcelain Veneers have been glued in, there will be a healing period for a few weeks afterwards.
Your gums may still be slightly inflamed and have small gaps between the veneers and your teeth which can be sensitive to hot and cold foods. These side effects are short-term and will settle in their own time.
My recommendation is salt water mouth rinses a few times a day after eating – this tends to ease any residual gum inflammation quickly.
Step 6 of your cosmetic dental treatment: aftercare.
After a smile makeover or any cosmetic dental treatment, it is essential you attend the aftercare appointment.
This appointment is where your dentist will carry out final checks on the bite and gums, along with giving you the relevant aftercare for maintaining your Porcelain Veneers.
If this appointment is missed, it could lead to unnecessary complications in the future. Give your Porcelain Veneers the best possible chance by following aftercare advice, such as wearing night guards and retainers and having them checked and cleaned twice a year. Think of it like servicing your car!