August 2017 – UK Edition Article By Dr Sam Jethwa, BDS (Lon) MFDS RCS (Edin) PgDip Clin Ed
“Thank you so much—I can now smile again.”
Hearing these words from a cosmetic dentistry patient fills my team with satisfaction and confidence; it makes us all smile, and it reminds us why we do what we do.
In some cases, the patient will have completed what we consider to be a simple treatment—perhaps some home whitening only, or teamed with some contouring and direct bonding; or it could be more complex orthodontic, restorative, or tooth replacement work, requiring a large investment of time for both the dentist and patient.
Whatever the treatment, the patients have felt the work has made a sufficient impact on their well-being that they are now no longer embarrassed to smile.
How can we aim to achieve this emotionally successful result with our patients?
Yes, we need to provide the highest-quality dentistry, utilising the wealth of technology and materials available to us to maximise the aesthetic results while minimising the biological cost.
Yes, we need to offer patients an unrivalled customer service experience. But most of all, we need to address their main concern.
Creating a beautiful smile is as emotional as it is technical, and, often, the pursuit of cosmetic dentistry is driven by how an existing smile is making someone feel.
The American Dental Association 2014 stated that a great smile was the only feature cited as “very important” by those surveyed on attractiveness.
A similar survey by Match.com of 5,481 unmarried individuals found that most singles judge their date on three factors: teeth, grammar, and confidence.
If we could listen to our patients in great detail, we could change how they feel about their smiles, and then we could deliver life-changing dentistry.
How can we treatment plan for aesthetic success?
The use of simple digital photos will aid this process. The basic principles of smile design can be explained to patients manually or using photo-editing software on either a screen or a printed image.
This dialogue with visual aids can help us identify exactly how we can help patients achieve their goals for their smiles.
I never start treatment planning until I have amassed all the key information, most importantly, what the patient wants! I begin with detailed discussions with my patients, identifying their main cosmetic concerns and educating them on the importance of a healthy foundation.
Sometimes further considerations are required, such as consulting with our Periodontist Endodontist colleagues.
Then, I’ll begin a detailed treatment plan, which I always discuss with the patient, highlighting exactly what result they’ll get with this.
Often I’ll hear, “I would like my smile to be whiter and more even.”
This can be a difficult concern to correct. Colour is often the least challenging aspect now, with predictable whitening options available to us, but in some cases, we will have achieved an overall result that to us is beautiful but to our patient is not quite right. This can be stressful and uncomfortable, and often leaves us feeling inadequate. Read The Full Article Here