Like it or not, your smile is often one of the first things people notice about you. However, having picture-perfect teeth is not something we are all born with. But now, thanks to technological advancements, there are a variety of options available to have a full smile makeover in 24 hours. We talked with Ohio cosmetic dentist Neal Patel, DDS about creating your perfect smile.
NewBeauty: What sets your practice apart from others?
Dr. Patel: We focus on using digital technologies to conduct and orchestrate dentistry from start to finish. With traditional dentistry, a patient may have to go, for example, to an orthodontist to have the teeth moved into the correct position, then to go to another doctor, such as a periodontist, to correct the gums, and then finally finish with a restorative dentist who would then fix the teeth. Although a true and tested process that has worked historically for the past 50 years or so, that process just doesn’t accommodate the lifestyles and the time that patients have available to do comprehensive dentistry today.
Our practice and philosophy are always about making sure that we provide the latest technology that’s still researched and proven. Technology is one important component of conducting this kind of digital dentistry in the fewest number of visits. Also, having the appropriate training is just as important. My training has been in implant prosthetics, implant surgery, cosmetic dentistry, facial rejuvenation and complex restorative dentistry. By degree, I’m also a certified dental technician, which allows us to avoid relying on a third-party lab to make the porcelain veneers because I can make the veneers on the spot. My clients can fly in and fly out and get all of their dentistry done in a matter of 1 to 2 days.
NB: What are the new technologies you use?
Dr. Patel: We use technologies that allow us to digitize the process. Sophisticated instruments like 3D-imaging, lasers, milling machines and other technologies enable us to provide precise treatment, providing the treatment in as few visits as possible. Over time, we’ve perfected the techniques and have thousands of different cases under our belt that we’re able to do today is quite mind-boggling.
NB: Why aren’t patients aware of these advances and innovations in dentistry?
Dr. Patel: I think many patients are unsure and unaware of what’s available out there. Many doctors are very hesitant to invest in technology. Most dentists don’t change the way they do their dentistry from what they were taught in school. Dentistry is a difficult art form. If you throw in too many variables or changes, it can dramatically impact the longevity and the quality of the work that the patients are expecting to get.
NB: What is the process during a visit for a smile makeover?
Dr. Patel: We have technologies through computer simulation, planning software and digital smile design. We can input digital pictures into the planning software and project a virtual representation of their new smile. This allows us to make tweaks and adjustments virtually before we actually start the dentistry, and it gives patients a preview of what their smile could potentially look like. Once we’ve virtually perfected the smile, we prepare the teeth and fabricate porcelain restorations on the spot to replicate our virtual design and then chemically fuse those porcelain restorations onto the teeth.
We have cases with patients who dislike their four front teeth because they are crooked, short, or look chipped and worn down. We always consider those requests but what my team and I are trained to do is look at the entire face. We look at every detail: the shape of the face, the skin tone, the color of the whites of their eyes, the nose position, the facial midline position and their lip posture at rest versus their lip posture when they’re smiling. We pay attention to the facial harmony of what we’re trying to accommodate. You can give somebody the best-looking teeth, but when you put them in their mouth and then take a look at the big picture, it might not look right for them because the veneers weren’t created to suit the personality of the patient. For example, you can’t put square teeth on a patient who has a round face. For someone who has a round face, you have to have rounded textures and rounded proportions because that’s what suits their biology and their blueprint that nature provided them.
NB: What are the most common smile makeover treatments?
Dr. Patel: We have patients who need something as simple as doing a smile makeover where they want to resurface their teeth and improve their smile. We can digitally diagnose, plan everything, and show them their smile and commence with treatment in that same visit. By the end of the day, they could permanently leave with porcelain veneers on their teeth and not have to deal with temporaries and additional appointments.
We also have the same type of treatment available for patients who cannot save their teeth. If a patient, either due to medication, poor health or neglect has teeth that are not savable, instead of removing teeth and doing dentures, we can remove all of the teeth in one visit. Treatment may include a bone grafting surgery, placement of the implants and making the teeth all in one visit. When the patient wakes up, they’ve got a permanent set of stronger teeth than natural teeth.
NB: What advice do you have for patients that are concerned about costs and pricing?
Dr. Patel: Dentistry is expensive but delaying dentistry and/or waiting until it’s too late becomes even more expensive. The reality is, with no treatment or no decision making, it can come as a detriment to the quality of your life. I think it’s important to make sure that you’re always given options and are educated on those options before you proceed with treatment, and that’s what we pride ourselves on.