Steps of Smile Design
Patient involvement is paramount in the decision-making process within our dental practice. Given the myriad of potential treatment approaches that exist in dentistry, it is incumbent upon us, as dental professionals, to offer a comprehensive preview of potential aesthetic outcomes prior to commencing treatment.
Consider the process of purchasing a car. Would you commit to the purchase without experiencing a test drive? Of course not. It's the tangible experience that informs the decision to buy or not. This sentiment holds true in dentistry as well. Patients deserve the opportunity to visualize the outcome of their treatment prior to initiating the treatment process.
During the initial stage of our Smile Design process, we gather critical documentation from the patient, including photographs, videos, and dental impressions. This information is then carefully analyzed, providing the foundation for the design of a unique, facially-driven smile on a digital platform such as an iPad or a computer.
Once the new smile design is complete, we consult with our multidisciplinary team to refine the treatment plan and fabricate a patient-specific prototype. Only when the prototype aligns with a robust treatment plan and meets the patient's expectations, do we present the proposed outcome to our patient.
In the subsequent appointment, we grant patients a "test-drive experience". Using provisional materials, we apply the prototype to the patient's mouth. This crucial step allows patients to visualize the transformation before embarking on the treatment journey. They can see their new smiles via a series of photographs and appreciate the potential changes on their faces with a before-and-after comparison.
As a prospective patient eager for a healthy, confident smile, wouldn't you appreciate the opportunity to experience the proposed outcome before making a final decision? At our dental practice, we ensure you get that chance.
our patients must be involved in decision-making process
The preliminary examination represents a critical phase in the Smile Design process. During this session, our primary focus lies in comprehending the individual needs and aspirations of our patients concerning their smiles. Establishing a seamless understanding between patients and our orofacial experts is imperative for attaining our ultimate objective: the creation of radiant, healthy smiles.
Engaging in diagnostic dialogues and attentively listening to our patients allows us to circumvent any potential misalignment in treatment perspectives. This approach helps us better grasp the patient's unique dental concerns and aspirations, thus eliminating the possibility of pursuing an unsuitable treatment pathway. By the conclusion of the initial consultation, our objective is to ensure that we share a common vision with our patients, aligning our expertise with their expectations.
Digital Smile Design Photo-Video Protocol
During the documentation phase, our aim is to capture all pertinent information about a patient's occlusion and their unique smile characteristics. Given that a smile is an inherently dynamic expression, relying solely on a static image can often lead to an incomplete portrayal. Hence, to accurately depict the smile, we employ dynamic documentation methods such as video recordings.
In addition, we take dental impressions of our patients to accurately record jaw relationships. This helps us avoid any potential functional conflicts and lays the groundwork for the construction of a patient-specific Smile Design prototype. This meticulous documentation process is instrumental in accurately transferring our design into the patient's mouth, ensuring a seamless transition from digital design to physical reality.
Digital Smile Design Process
In the Digital Smile Design (DSD) process, we leverage specialized protocols on digital platforms, such as computers to architect the future smiles of our patients. This process utilizes the photos and videos acquired in prior sessions. We dedicate quality time to focus exclusively on the unique smile of each patient, as opposed to attempting to manage an entire treatment plan within the constraints of a conventional dental office visit. This dedicated focus minimizes potential diagnostic errors, ensuring we maintain absolute precision, free from the disruptions that might occur in a standard dental office setting.
Utilizing the traditional buccal wax-up technique provides us with the unique opportunity to transpose our aesthetic dentistry designs directly onto our patients' faces. This allows us to preview the potential outcome of our proposed treatment plan even before commencing treatment. Thus, our initial design serves as a guiding beacon throughout the treatment process, much like a lighthouse navigating a ship through the sea. Equipped with this design, we are able to adhere to the initial plan, irrespective of the duration of certain treatments.
However, it's important to acknowledge a potential limitation associated with a conventional wax-up. Its success hinges on the expertise of a skilled dental technician to execute flawlessly. Acquiring this level of "mastery" generally necessitates approximately ten years of dedicated practice. It's also worth noting that experienced dental ceramists often prioritize their time towards more advanced tasks, making them less inclined to devote their valuable time to wax-ups.
Digital 3D Wax-Up - 3D Printing
Leveraging the rapid strides in technology, the process of creating a Smile Design Prototype (or a digital wax-up) has become significantly streamlined and convenient. This can now be achieved by designing it digitally and bringing it to tangible reality using 3D printing technology.
This innovative approach has democratized success in every case, making it no longer solely reliant on a dental technician's skill level. By integrating advanced technology into our practice, we can consistently achieve exceptional outcomes in dental aesthetics, regardless of individual technical abilities.
The "Mock-Up" stage empowers us to transpose our prototype smile directly onto the patient's face using provisional materials, providing a near-realistic depiction of the anticipated outcome.
This gives patients the unique privilege to not only visualize but also critically assess and "test-drive" their potential new smile even before the actual treatment commences, offering an invaluable opportunity to make informed decisions.
This is a no-obligation proposition – pure exploration without commitment. Consider it the dental equivalent of a test drive. It's a chance to preview the transformation, no strings attached.