I have what I consider an awful smile and am searching for a way to enhance it. But I’m worried it’s not going to turn out very good. I have a friend who got porcelain veneers and she is telling me she’s sorry she ever did it – she actually liked her smile better before anything was done.
-Sondra from Indiana
Get a Qualified Cosmetic Dentist
The most important thing to do when you want a smile makeover is to get a qualified cosmetic dentist.
While cosmetic dentistry is a highly specialized field, for political reasons it isn’t recognized as a specialty by the American Dental Association. And during dental school, dentists are taught a lot about science, but really nothing about the art that is so important in creating a beautiful smile makeover. This is why the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry began its accreditation program. It’s a course of study followed by a series of examinations that, if followed, will certify that a dentist has the required expertise in cosmetic dentistry. There is a written examination to make sure the applicant has a grasp of the specialized knowledge of cosmetic dentistry, and then a clinical examination consisting of five procedures, followed by an oral examination. The testing is rigorous enough that the patient can be assured that any accredited cosmetic dentist will do beautiful, functionally correct cosmetic dentistry.
The Digital Smile Makeover
Beyond that, we can tell you how we make sure, in our office, that patients love the smile that Dr. Brooksher creates for them. One important step we undertake is the digital smile makeover. After discussing with the patient what changes they want to their smile, Dr. Brooksher will create the smile design they want, digitally, on a photograph of their face. They can see what it will look like before he starts any work.
The Beautiful Smile Guarantee
Another way we reassure our patients is with our beautiful smile guarantee. This is a mindset that pretty much all really great cosmetic dentists have. This principle highlights a big difference between general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. General dentistry is about fixing things that are broken, and dentists are taught in school to have an authoritative approach because this is reassuring to the patient. The dentist knows best how to solve the problem. Is a cavity too big for a filling to work? Your dentist is trained to know. But in cosmetic dentistry we’re treating the self-image of the patient. Are you embarrassed to smile? You are the best judge of that. It’s a reversal of the mindset we’re taught in school. But for Dr. Brooksher, a smile makeover isn’t successful unless the patient loves it. So before permanently attaching it to a patient’s teeth, he will try it on and make sure the patient loves it. If the patient doesn’t, any needed changes, including possibly going back to the ceramist to be re-made, are made before it is affixed to the teeth.
Here’s a sample of a smile makeover created by Dr. Brooksher. This photograph illustrates the importance of personalizing each smile makeover. Many patients want a bright, dazzling, sparkling smile. This patient, however, wanted a more subdued, even smile. You can see by the expression on his face that he is very comfortable with it.
These are some guidelines. I hope they are helpful in finding a dentist who will create a beautiful smile for you and making you comfortable with your choice.
This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge cosmetic dentist Dr. Steven Brooksher.