There is some reason you clicked on this page. You might be wondering how we can improve the appearance of one front tooth, revamp several front teeth with porcelain or bonded veneers, or completely reconstruct a dozen or more teeth with crowns or an all-on-four implant-supported prosthesis. Or perhaps you are missing some teeth, and looking for replacement options like bridges or implants. Or, maybe you love your teeth, but you didn't wear your retainer after you had braces as a teenager (don't worry, we understand... we've been there too!) and you want to have them straightened again.
With today's materials and techniques, finished dentistry should look like real teeth, not fake-looking dental materials attached to teeth! Our goal is always to mimic nature with a realistic-looking outcome. It becomes a challenge to do this in a cost-effective, minimally invasive way. Challenge accepted!
If you aren't sure what you want or need, no problem. Almost always, we can provide multiple options to patients depending upon budget, preferred timeframe to completion, and extent of desired treatment.
Most likely, you will have in mind many "unknowns" before your first cosmetic consultation here. That's okay. We expect you to arrive with more questions than answers. We will have many questions for you, too. Our cosmetic and reconstructive treatment planning process is designed to be very open-ended, because we can't proceed until we know exactly where we are headed.
So, step one in our process is a simple conversation. We might talk for a while before Dr. Andy or Dr. Natalie looks in your mouth or orders any x-rays. If we are considering tooth movement like Invisalign, we will do a 3D iTero scan of your teeth and gums (which uses visible light, not radiation) to study tooth position, shape, and size. Your own thoughts and feelings about your teeth are the ultimate guide, so we will inquire and listen as we look at your scan and photos, and begin to develop a list of options with you.
Once we feel we understand your individual situation and goals, we look closely at your teeth and get photographs, supplemental x-rays, and 3D models. Some offices charge a separate fee (on top of the normal routine exam/xrays fees) for a cosmetic/reconstructive workup. We do not, unless lab procedures are needed to establish an acceptable plan.
After the examination, when we understand your individual dental situation, we begin to inform you about what is possible. Almost always, there are different options which vary in terms of extensiveness and cost. Outside of clinic hours, we spend a lot of time staying current on the latest materials and procedures so we can share this knowledge with you. We may suggest involving a specialist or two (perhaps an orthodontist, a periodontist, or an oral surgeon); if this is the case, we have great relationships with highly respected and experienced clinicians in these fields. We may also have questions for our lab technicians about what is possible. We expect to have some "homework" for ourselves during this stage of the process. If your situation is complex, we will request more time to formulate a thorough workup rather than attempting to "figure everything out" on the spot.
As the process continues, we expect that you will want to know as much as possible about the appearance, fit, and feel of any proposed final result. This is very important to us, too! The last thing we want to do is start making changes without a clear understanding of where things are headed.
Luckily, we have developed great techniques to simulate finished results before any treatment takes place. Oftentimes, we can directly create a temporary mock-up in your own mouth so you can preview a finished treatment in your own mouth in the privacy of our office, and actually see for yourself what we are proposing. This is the point where most patients finally start to get truly excited about beginning cosmetic or reconstructive treatment. If necessary, we can make changes very easily at this stage. Oftentimes, people take their own "selfies" with the mockup in place, and we always take our own reference photos too.
Once we have a desired outcome in mind, and a sense of how to obtain it, it's time to decide how best to sequence treatment. Your priority may be efficiency (ie, getting this done as soon as possible), or it may be important to you to phase things so we don't have to do everything at once. Either way, we work with you to establish a plan that fits into YOUR life. There will always be multiple options. This is a time for discussion as we help you decide how you want to proceed.
And finally, after a plan is established, we work as efficiently as possible through the actual treatment. This is when all the planning really pays off, as it's much easier to proceed when we are all quite clear about the specifics of what we are doing. During treatment, the patient almost always gets a "test drive" with a provisional/temporary version of the final product. This "test drive" may last several weeks if there are any details needing to be worked out with respect to appearance, feel, or function.
The "finish" appointment is an exciting time. Now you finally reach the desired outcome you have been seeking. Our office staff will probably all try to sneak into the room to see how things turned out. If we have done our job well, you will be smiling nonstop when you leave our office from that appointment.
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