February 2012

Smile Makeover! A Pain Free Smile Is Within Reach

Author: Dr. Jeffrey Bauer, DDS

A few years back, I had an attractive middle- aged woman in the office who had been a patient for a number of years. “Mrs. Jones” had an old crown on her front tooth that was considerably darker in shade than her other front teeth. As a whole, her teeth were all discolored by today’s standards, and many of them were out of alignment. When she first came to me as a patient, I politely mentioned that we could offer her a “smile makeover” if interested, but she quickly dismissed the idea. That day, however, when she was getting her teeth cleaned by the hygienist, she read a pamphlet on “prep-less veneers,” and we had a discussion about the procedure. She explained to me that the main hurdle for fixing her smile was related to the fear of having the dental drill “grinding on her front teeth.” The old crown had been on her tooth for over 15 years, and even though it didn’t match and she was embarrassed by it, she remembered the feeling of having her front tooth worked on many years ago and wasn’t going to have that done again, even if it meant many years of not smiling in family photos and sometimes covering her mouth when she laughed too much.

I have come to realize over the years that there are two big fears that keep patients out of the dental chair and prevent them from enhancing their smiles. The first, of course, is the fear of pain. This fear is often rooted in childhood memories of long ago or techniques that are not used in today’s dental offices that offer cutting edge dental procedures.

The other fear is the fear of costs associated with dental work. Patients often believe that procedures to enhance the quality of their smiles will make dental work unrealistic for them. Many times patients will hear stories from friends or family members of dental fees running in the tens of thousands of dollars and assume these costs are typical. Certainly, complex dental treatment can be uncomfortable and costly. Thus, the fears that patients have in these areas are sometimes valid. But often, simple, minimally invasive cosmetic procedures can be not only pain free, but very affordable for most patients.

New techniques in today’s world of dentistry have conquered many of the old fears associated with past dental treatment. The fear of long, painful appointments can be lessened by the advancement of minimal invasive dentistry. New stronger and thinner restorative materials can often be made at the dental laboratory without so much as touching a patient’s teeth with a dental drill. Whitening procedures can be done in the office in less than an hour’s time. New white filling materials combined with a dental laser to remove decay can even eliminate the need for the use of Novocain, and again, take away the fear of the drill. The advancement in orthodontic treatment in the area of Invisalign has taken away the need for embarrassing braces and brackets long associated with orthodontic procedures.

After a treatment planning session with Mrs. Jones, we came up with a plan for a cosmetic smile makeover that was not only affordable but also painless. After an hour whitening appointment to brighten her lower teeth, we removed her unsightly crown with a pneumatic crown remover. We then took an impression of her upper teeth with very little use of the dental drill and had the lab make her three “prep-less” veneers and one porcelain crown with very little use of the dental drill. Two weeks later, we bonded in her new dental work and completed her cosmetic “smile makeover.” The procedure took only two visits and less than two hours total to complete. The overall cost was much lower than she expected, and we offered her a payment plan given to her by a dental finance company. I continued to treat Mrs. Jones for the next few years until I sold my practice near Pittsburgh, Pa. and moved to Bluffton. Mrs. Jones has told me many times that she is very happy with her new smile and only regrets that she didn’t pursue treatment earlier. Give Bauer Dental Associates a call today if you’re interested in these exciting new dental techniques, and give yourself a “Smile Makeover!”

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