Every Dental Practice Requires Facial Esthetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry has become a focal point for most dental practices, and it is no longer limited to a few “cosmetic dentists” who sought to restrict their practices. Even if a dentist uses tooth-colored composite resins to restore teeth, esthetic principles must be followed to obtain the best clinical and facial results.
Unfortunately, we as dentists limit ourselves to the intra-oral realm of esthetics, when in fact, the lovely image you’re painting inside the mouth is just part of the tale.
We can all do a fantastic job of making people’s teeth look amazing and giving them a friendly and attractive smile. When it comes to cutting-edge procedures like teeth whitening and minimally invasive veneers, cosmetic dentistry has exploded in the last 30 years.
What about the peri-oral around the mouth now that the teeth are in good shape? If we focus on the teeth but forget the rest of the face, we’ve severely limited what we can do with esthetic dentistry.
When you think about it, the advances in esthetic dentistry have been nothing short of amazing. Composite resins are more esthetic and work better than ever before in terms of dental materials. Without a doubt, the ideal self-bonded, solid for all surfaces, no microleakage, bioactive restorative material can take us to the next stage, but we still have a long way to go.
Teeth whitening can now be completed in under an hour. At.3mm, minimally invasive veneers can’t get any thinner. CAD-CAM and other innovations will undoubtedly have an effect on all of these fields in the future by allowing for more efficient esthetic delivery systems. However, the end result will be the same: patients will continue to receive a beautiful smile, just as they do now.
What might be the next step in esthetic dentistry? You can’t make your teeth any straighter once they’re sober. You can’t make the teeth any whiter until they’re the whitest 010 color, as some patients request. The question is: where else can you go? How can we smash through the esthetic dentistry plateaus we’ve reached?
IMPROVING THE STATE OF ESTHETIC DENTISTRY
It’s past time to take what we’ve learned in cosmetic dentistry and apply it to the surrounding areas outside of the mouth, which will complete the overall esthetic dental image we’re constructing.
It’s past time for us to recognize that esthetic dentistry doesn’t start or end with the lips. Teeth must be able to blend into the face’s overall structure. This is particularly true in the areas immediately surrounding and encircling the mouth.
The majority of dental esthetics images I see are retracted intra-oral views of the final product. The margins are precise, the embrasure shape and emergence profile are correct, and all other agreed dental principles have been met in the withdrawn view.
That is the image that seems to please dentists the most, even though no one else in the world looks at it or thinks about it. We need to start with the view that matters most to the patient and the rest of the world, which is the full-face view of a completed case. It’s time to give a comprehensive case of esthetics that includes both hard and soft tissues, both inside and outside the mouth.