For some, the chance for a bright, shining new smile is a dream come true. Many patients save money for years or even take out loans so that they can afford the cosmetic dentistry help they need.
In the past, extensive dental work was a painful undertaking with a long recovery time. Cosmetic dentistry has now evolved to the point that a full smile makeover can be performed in only a few visits, with little downtime for recovery.
When it’s time for a total smile makeover, use our Top Five Tips to ensure that you get the long lasting results you desire:
1. Choose a Great Cosmetic Dentist
The right cosmetic dentist can make your smile makeover experience a great one. Ask friends and family who have had cosmetic work such as bridges, veneers, orfor referrals. Or, check your local Yellow Page listings to find qualified cosmetic dentists in your area. Your regular dentist may even recommend one for you.
Once you have located a few different cosmetic dentists, call to book an office visit. This is not a consultation and you should not expect to pay a fee. This initial visit allows you to determine if the office is one you can be comfortable having your work done in. The cosmetic dentist may be very busy, but their receptionist or dental assistant should be able to show you an exam room. Look for a clean, tidy work area, comfortable chairs, good lighting and equipment that is in good condition.
Ask them to show you the cosmetic dentist’s portfolio, or before and after pictures from other patients. Inquire about the level of experience the dentist has in different procedures, as well as the types of technology they use to perform their work.
2. Get Financing in Place
Once you have selected a cosmetic dentist you are confident in, book a consultation. The cosmetic dentist will have you fill out a questionnaire about your overall health and oral health history. Give as much relevant information as possible, including past surgeries, medications and dental procedures to ensure that they have all of the information they need to properly evaluate your needs.
The cosmetic dentist will examine your mouth and may take x-rays or other pictures to help them determine the extent of the damage. Ask questions about your treatment options including preparation, recovery time and what results you can expect. If you are unsure of any of the terms your dentist uses, ask them to further explain.
Once your cosmetic dentist has determined the type and amount of work you need done, ask for a written estimate. Perhaps you’ve been saving for this treatment for awhile, or you may have credit or a loan you can use to fund the makeover. Once you have a cost estimate in mind, you can make sure that you have the financing in place. Many cosmetic dentists offer payment plans, as they understand that not everyone can afford to pay for the treatment upfront. Discuss your financial situation with them to see what type of arrangement you can make.
With financing in place, you are ready to book your treatment appointments!
3. Design a Custom Cosmetic Dentistry Treatment Plan
Work closely with your cosmetic dentist to formulate a treatment plan that works for both of you. Some treatments, such as dental implants, require more than one visit. Others, like root canals, require a bit of recovery time. Make sure you set this time aside in your schedule to prepare, have the work done and recover.
If you are having several procedures done, discuss the schedule with your cosmetic dentist. They may choose to do several in one visit, or to leave recovery time between each step. If you are getting crowns or implants, make sure you will have a temporary piece to cover the damage from the preparation until the permanent solutions are ready.
4. Follow Your Cosmetic Dentist’s Instructions to the Letter
Listen to your cosmetic dentist! Follow their instructions for preparation exactly. After all, cosmetic dentistry is not cheap and you don’t want to sabotage your treatment. For example, most cosmetic dentists require that you stop smoking (or cut back dramatically) if you are having dental implants done. There is a good reason for this: the risk of the implant failing to join to the bone increases if you continue to smoke. When your dentist tells you not to chew hard foods with a temporary piece in, don’t do it. It’s simply not work the risk of ruining the work that has be done so far.
5. Treasure Your New Glamorous Smile!
After-care instructions are crucial. Your dentist will give you a detailed oral hygiene plan after the work is completed. Regular brushing, flossing and check-ups are still important, but you may need to avoid certain foods, stop smoking, use special mouth washes or take other measures to make sure your smile stays white, bright and glistening for years to come.
If you play sports, always wear a mouth guard to protect your investment. Avoid hard candies, which can cause chipping or cracking and lead to tooth decay. Food items such blueberries, coffee, tea and wine are major culprits in staining teeth, so avoid these whenever possible. If you can’t kick your coffee habit, use a straw.
Most cosmetic treatments, such asand bridges, have a “shelf life”. They will last longer with proper care, but they won’t last forever. Ask your cosmetic dentist when you should expect to have the treatment repeated, or any of your fixtures replaced. Inspect your teeth monthly for signs of wear, decay or damage. Report any troublesome signs or symptoms to your cosmetic dentist. If problems are caught early on, they may be easier to fix.