Is cosmetic dentistry the best way to go for me?
The cosmetic dentistry journey is one that begins and ends in the mirror. For most patients, the journey starts when they look at their reflection and feel unhappy or dissatisfied with the general appearance of their smile. That same journey often ends when their dentist hands the patient a mirror after treatment has completed and the patient finally sees the smile they’ve always wanted. Of course, this is an ideal and simplified snapshot of that journey. Along the way, a patient and his or her dentist may face challenges and unexpected setbacks. In order to help you have the most positive cosmetic dentistry experience possible, we suggest that the thoughtful patient should step back and objectively answer a few basic questions.
Question 1: Why Do I Want to Improve My Smile?
This question may prove one of the hardest to answer because the reasons why a person feels dissatisfied with their appearance are often deeply emotional. One patient may have endured years of teasing about her crooked teeth at the hands of her classmates. Another patient may want to recapture the bright smile of his youthful days. Some patients consider undergoing cosmetic dental procedures because they know that an attractive smile could give them the edge during a job interview or out on the social scene. While the specific situation will vary from patient to patient, Dr. Fondriest encourages you to seek out smile enhancement procedures so you can feel better about yourself. Being happy with yourself and pleased with the way you look in the mirror can give you a newfound self-confidence that will permeate every aspect of your life.
Question 2: How Long Have I Been Dissatisfied with My Smile?
Unfortunately, this question could be a little tricky. You certainly shouldn’t undergo a major cosmetic or restorative procedure tomorrow just because you read about it in a magazine today. On the other hand, there’s no rule stating you have to feel dissatisfied with your teeth for a certain period of time before it’s acceptable to seek out cosmetic dentistry. If you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks, then Dr. Fondriest suggests you take the following steps:
- Take some quality mirror time. Study your smile in the mirror and identify exactly what it is that you don’t like. Are your teeth yellowish or discolored? Do you have black triangles showing between your teeth? Do your teeth protrude, overlap, or look too small or too large? Do you have a gummy smile? Make a list of those features that jump out to you.
- Do your research. Get on your computer and perform some simple searches on those smile features you identified in step 1. Learn more about what cosmetic dental procedures are out there and find pictures of smiles that you think are particularly beautiful.
- Consult with multiple cosmetic specialists. A cosmetic consultation with a dentist who specializes in restorative and cosmetic dentistry is of vital importance. A dental professional can work with you to put your smile goals into words and develop a treatment plan designed specifically to meet your needs.
- How do I find the best cosmetic dentist? Your neighbors or your physician doesn’t know. Really the only way to discover the best is to ask the dentists in the area. They know who the better ones are. The specialists (especially the periodontists) see everybody’s work and have a very good idea of the best practitioners. Call a few perio offices and just ask. Good luck!
Question 3: Do I have Realistic Expectations?
Since we live in a media-saturated culture where we’re faced with a constant visual barrage of perfectly manicured (and often Photoshopped) celebrities, many of us develop unrealistic expectations of how we want to look. While that whiter-than-white smile might look great on your favorite country singer while she’s crooning on stage, it would probably look overdone and artificial in the context of school, work, or the gym. In a similar manner, says Dr. Fondriest, many people develop unrealistic expectations of what a given cosmetic dental procedure can do to improve their smile. Sure, porcelain veneers might have worked for the star of this summer’s action movie blockbuster but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be as effective for every patient. Keeping a realistic mindset and consulting with your dentist can help manage expectations and actually help improve your level of satisfaction with treatment.
Question 4: Can I Afford Cosmetic Dentistry?
While most dentists’ offices offer financing options – or work with third-party financing institutions – to help patients pay for complex procedures, you have to seriously consider your budget before signing up for cosmetic dentistry. Again, this is an area where having an honest and open conversation with your dentist can prove helpful. Very often, says Dr. Fondriest, a dentist can tailor a treatment plan to better suit a patient’s budgetary needs. The end result could take many forms. In some cases, your dentist may be able to offer treatment alternatives, such as composite bonding instead of porcelain veneers. In other cases, your dentist could develop a phased treatment plan in which each step of the plan is performed every few months so that you don’t have to cover the cost of the full treatment all at once. Again, having a realistic idea of what you can afford will result in a higher level of satisfaction with your new smile.
Schedule a Cosmetic Consultation with Your Kildeer, IL Dentist
To schedule a consultation and learn if cosmetic dentistry is right for you, contact us at (847) 234-0517. Dr. James Fondriest proudly offers general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services to patients from Lake Forest and the North Shore suburbs near Chicago, including Kildeer.