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Cosmetic Dentistry Questions?

Q: I don’t like my teeth or my smile – what can I do?

A: A wide variety of options are available to improve how your teeth work and the way your smile looks.

Q : How much does it cost to get a great smile?

A : Like most services, cost will vary based on the time required and the difficulty of the procedures.  Generally, improving a smile will require a combination of treatment options such as bleaching, reshaping gums and using bonded materials (resin or porcelain) to improve the appearance of teeth.  A great way to start is having a consultation to determine the ways that you can reach your goals.  Improving your smile is an investment in you.

Q: What are some of the benefits of cosmetic dentistry?

A : A great smile should improve your self-confidence, which can have a positive impact on the social and professional aspects of your life.  Cosmetic dentistry is not just about pretty smiles though.  New techniques and materials are available for back teeth as well as the ones you see when you smile.  Now your mouth can look great, get healthy and function better at the same time.

Q: Why should I go to an AACD dentist?

A: Our member dentists have shown a special interest in new technologies and procedures, specifically to help them achieve better results for you.  The AACD provides a wide variety of educational and interactive opportunities that assist member dentists in attaining the best possible clinical skills.  That helps promote excellent to care for their patients.

Q : Will a dentist I select be able to provide all of the treatment I need?

A : Some dentists choose to provide a variety of procedures, while others focus on specific areas of treatment.  Many times, cosmetic and restorative dentistry requires a team approach to achieve the best results.  A consultation is a way to determine your needs, and plan with your dentist how to achieve your goals. Subsequently the dentist will work to give you the smile you want and deserve.

Q: How many office visits will it take to fix my teeth and improve my smile?

A: That will vary for each person, depending on his or her needs.  Sometimes, you can dramatically improve your oral health and appearance in just a couple of visits.  It makes sense to make your treatment as convenient as possible, perhaps choosing slightly longer visits instead of more trips to the office.  Talk to your dentist about your goals and concerns so the best plan can be developed for your individual situation.  If you start today, a new smile can be yours sooner than you think.

Q: What will my new smile look like?

A : Your dentist with work with you to choose the look that’s right for you.  A smile enhancement can be made to look dramatic and natural at the same time.  Your dentist can use photographs and models to show you what to expect.  Sometimes, trial materials can be placed directly on your teeth to help visualize the change.  Ask your dentist what can be done to give you the smile you desire.

Q : If my teeth are reshaped for veneers or crowns, what will they look like?  Will they be sensitive?

A: Generally, cemented restorations like crowns or veneers (see our procedure section) will require two visits – one to shape the teeth, and one to cement the restorations to the teeth.  In between, your dentist can place attractive temporary restorations to help prevent sensitivity, allow function and provide a nice smile.  These temporaries are designed to be in your mouth for a limited time, but should be comfortable and natural looking until you can get your new smile completed.

Q: Is my new smile permanent?

A : With good home care and regular visits to your dentist, modern materials can last for many years and possibly decades.  Like most things, excellent maintenance will extend the life of your dental restorations.

Q : I have dental insurance.  Will it pay for my new smile?

A : Most dental insurances have very low total benefits per year, which may offset the cost of regular hygiene visits, and may not pay toward purely cosmetic services.  Insurance is a business, and as such, your carrier will often contract to pay for the least expensive “payout” option instead of the best solution for your particular needs or desires.  A caring dental office will work to maximize your benefits, and may have suggestions for alternative methods of financing so you can obtain the treatment of your choice.

Q : How do I choose the right dentist for me?

A : The AACD is a great place to start, having members all across the US and in countries around the world.  Continuing education is important, which is why the AACD offers courses in techniques and materials at our annual meeting, and has relationships with over 60 Universities and teaching institutions.   Ask your dentist about experience and expertise.  Exceptional cosmetic dentistry is not an accident.  Talk to your dentist, develop a plan and work together toward your goal.

Q : Is teeth whitening bad for patient’s enamel?

A : There is no permanent damage caused to the enamel or any other tooth structures by tooth whitening.

Q : Does teeth whitening cause permanent teeth sensitivity?

A : Sensitivity from teeth whitening is always transient.  That means if there is any sensitivity caused by the whitening, it goes away within one to two days after the cessation of bleaching, and the patient returns to the state of sensitivity that they had before they started the whitening process.

Most information from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry March 2010

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