I need some advice. I am getting a smile makeover. I decided on dental bonding to save money. I am just having trouble deciding two things. One is the color and the other is the dentist. As for the color, I’ve downloaded a color chart and am trying to decide what is too white for a person of sixty years old. As to which dentist, I have narrowed it down to three in my area that have very high ratings on Yelp as the best cosmetic dentists. Is there a good way of choosing between them?
I am going to answer your questions, but first I want to discuss the choice between dental bonding and porcelain veneers. Dental bonding is best done on small amounts of tooth structure such as chipped or gapped teeth. One of the reasons for that is dental bonding has to be done freehand. That takes much more time. On small surfaces, that is no big deal. On large surfaces, such as you would need to do a smile makeover, it takes FOREVER. That means you won’t really be saving much money because it will take the dentist so much more time. To make matters worse, composite bonding does not last nearly as long as porcelain veneers. This means you’ll spend as much, if not more money, for an inferior result. My advice is to get the porcelain veneers for your smile makeover.
Now, onto your questions. I’m going to start with the second question first because it will actually solve the first question. YELP is a great service, but in the case of using it to find a cosmetic dentist, their algorithms don’t seem to fit. It appears they go just from the star ratings of patients, However, they do not distinguish as to what those ratings were for. I did a test for great cosmetic dentists in a city where I know some amazing cosmetic dentists. Of the top three results, only one of them actually did any cosmetic work. The others had stars for being friendly and having pain free needles. As you can see, this will not help you in finding that great cosmetic dentist.
Unfortunately, smile makeovers are not taught in dental school. This means dentists interested in doing cosmetic work need to invest in post-doctoral training. One thing to look for on their website either in the dentist’s bio or on their porcelain veneer’s page is to see what they’ve listed for their cosmetic training. Dental school alone is not enough.
However, two artists can go to the same art school and one will almost always have more talent than the other, either from natural talent or diligence in practice. The same is true of cosmetic dentists. It is always good to take the precaution of looking at their smile gallery. This should show before and after pictures of actual cases they have done. Make sure they are not just stock photos but the dentist’s own work. You should be blown away by the results. If you’re not, move onto another dentist.
As to your question about the color. You don’t have to know that when you go in. You just have to give the cosmetic dentist an idea of what you want and he will find the perfect color and shape to achieve those results. So, you can see how important that choice really is.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.