Digital smile design Technology + your teeth
When it comes to selecting the best smile for your face, one size doesn’t fit all. Thankfully, advancements in digital and cosmetic dentistry mean that today your dentist can create a truly customised smile to complement the uniqueness of your face. 1300smiles’ Dr Az takes us through the benefits of digital smile design.
What is digital smile design?
Digital dentistry is any dental technology, software or device that uses computer-based components to assist dental procedures. Digital smile design uses digital technology like 3D scanning and simulations to effectively design and communicate an outcome, and deliver that outcome to high accuracy. As a dentist, the greatest advantage digital dentistry has given us in cosmetic dentistry is the power of visual communication. I am able to show my patients what they will look like following treatment, before I even touch their teeth. This assists with education, and managing expectations.
“Digital dentistry is like ‘copy and paste dentistry’. The on-screen preview you see at the start of the process is highly accurate to the final result.”
Who needs a new smile design?
The initial consultation is when I talk to you, the patient, about your particular wants, needs and ideal smile. There are many reasons dentists design new smiles for patients. The concern could be cosmetic, or it might be overcrowding of teeth, excessive tooth wear, risk of fractures or malocclusion (misaligned teeth) which can cause jaw pain or jaw popping, or other issues. Digital 3D scanning allows me to get a highly accurate 3D image of the mouth, which I can compare to a scan from 12 months earlier, using a time-lapse feature to best understand existing and potential issues.
How does digital smile design work?
Using the 3D scan and your specific requests, I can design a smile based on your facial features, such as your lip dynamics, your facial flow, and function. Digital smile design allows greater patient feedback and autonomy. In majority of cases, an initial visual preview of the project can be offered, which may include whitening, veneers, implants and orthodontics. I can tweak the design at this point to meet your feedback, or, if you are happy with the preview and sign off on the smile design, we will then reverse engineer the project to formulate an accurate and guided plan to achieve the final result you desire.
Should veneers or crowns be needed to enhance your smile, a second opportunity for feedback will be given after preparation of the teeth. In this stage, adjustments to the aesthetics, comfort of the bite and an overall test-drive of your new smile will happen. Once happy, the final permanent restorations will be fabricated by copy-pasting the final test-drive.
How has digital dentistry changed cosmetic dentistry?
Traditionally, dentists would take physical moulds of your teeth, send the moulds to the lab where wax would be added to or carved from the mould, to design your new smile. The flaws in that system were of course, 1) It’s not facially driven, so while the smile may look perfect in isolation, once you are wearing it, it doesn’t suit your face. 2) If it does happen to suit your face, then to replicate the wax into ceramic veneers is quite difficult.
Digital dentistry is like ‘copy and paste dentistry’. The on-screen preview you see at the start of the process is highly accurate to the final result.
Benefits of digital smile design.
• Planning – Digital dentistry allows me to show you in a more educational way how we’re going to achieve your smile project. It also allows me to deliver guided dentistry. Where previously we would have had to, for example, straighten your teeth first, then review and look at whether we need to do veneers or crowns, now we can map out the complete project at the outset.
• Predictability – With detailed 3D imagery, we are able to plan better, and predict more accurate results. While in analogue dentistry, it was quite common to have your new smile look quite different to your wax mould mock-up, today digital smile design pre-views are highly accurate.
• Patient satisfaction – With a better planning process, complete customisation to suit your face, and greater precision in predicting outcomes, digital dentistry has allowed higher patient satisfaction.
Perfection in imperfection.
Many people go to their dentist asking for really white teeth, wanting the ‘Hollywood smile’. What works best though, for every face, is a natural beautiful smile. It’s part of our job to educate our patients about treatment options, possible outcomes and what a healthy, confident smile really looks like. Throughout the years, lab technicians have strived to replicate nature, to carve the best anatomy that we can. The truth is, nature is the best. With digital dentistry, we can draw from a library of scans of beautiful, natural looking teeth to model a best-fit smile for your face and mouth. When it comes to teeth, perfection is in the imperfections. You can’t beat nature.
The best asset you have is your smile, and the best smiles are healthy and confident. If you are considering a smile redesign, discuss with your dentist the options available.