Do artificial teeth need to look artificial?

In our line of work, we often hear patients talk about how hard it was for them to decide on getting a procedure because of fear that their new teeth might look artificial. Sometimes ceramic crowns really do look like they are. The expertise of the dentist and technician, their constant education, and a keen eye for detail, as well as the materials being used, are crucial for getting the desired result and a happy patient.

I want nice, white, straight teeth
During the first examination, when asked what kind of teeth they would like, they very often say ‘a nice, white, straight set of teeth. However, not every face can fit the same straight, white teeth. It’s an art form in itself, getting the shape, size, shade, and transparency of the teeth just right, as well as their proportion to the gums, lips, and entire face. What makes the patients happy in the end is a smile that fits their personality.

Discussion and photography
The first step of any procedure is talking to the patient, during which we listen to exactly what they want us to achieve. After that, we take a few pictures intraorally and extraorally (portrait and profile), and we create an anatomical model to help us study your condition – why some teeth are excessively worn-out, if we have enough room to lengthen them or if too much gums are visible in the smile. These are all questions we need to find answers to before proceeding with the creation of your new smile.

Smile design
The next step in getting your perfect smile is a wax up or mock up, or how people like to call it these days, smile design.

Smile design entails individualized smile shaping on the patient’s jaw model (wax up). In other words, a dental technician uses wax in a laboratory to try and design teeth that would best suit you. These new teeth are then transferred into the patient’s mouth using state-of-the-art aesthetic materials (mock up). 

A mock up is a lifelike representation of the final result but doesn’t require any gluing or cementing. The patient has time to look at themselves in the mirror, after which we take their picture and, if necessary, a video. The mock up is then removed from the teeth. 

While designing a smile, the overall appearance of the patient’s face is taken into account, as well as any desires and suggestions. This way, we can predictably and safely create your ‘test’ smile, seeing as the patient can participate much more here than in the final phase. 

After designing your desired smile, we begin polishing, molding, and finally delivering your new personalized smile.

Is smile design necessary for everyone?
It isn’t if the changes to shape, size, or color are minor. However, we recommend the wax up and mock up procedures for significant changes due to better predictive results.

Is smile design expensive?
Wax up and mock up raise the price slightly compared to the final price of the entire procedure. If the final procedures are expensive, like ceramic crowns or veneers, it’s much better knowing which road to take instead of making corrections on ceramics, which is much more complicated.

I’m ashamed of my smile. Why is it necessary to take pictures before and during a major procedure?
Nothing gives us quite the amount of useful information as pictures. Pictures sometimes even give us a better range of information than simply looking at the patient. A dentist and technician communicate using photographs a multitude of times during the making of a prosthodontic creation. Lately, short films have been introduced in which the dentist talks to the patient in order to get a more realistic image of the muscles and the smile.

Why is there such a large price gap between different dental practices?
Seeing as it’s not the same which dentist you decide to put your trust into, it also makes a difference which dental technician creates your teeth. Dentists and technicians must constantly invest in their personal education and stay up-to-date with any new materials and equipment. Different dentists and technicians might use different materials, which also vary in price. What should matter most to the patient is that they get the best possible ratio of price versus quality. In other words, the prosthodontic implant should last as long as possible, and the patient must be satisfied with its appearance and function.

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